Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Sunday, December 14, 2014

This too Shall Pass

Cold and getting colder.
Now comes the time of year when I have to accept that parking, wandering city streets and country roads, admiring and photographing historic and beautiful properties, just has to stop.

Whenever I think about a photo tour, I remember the January Hastings County road trip two years ago when some of these photos were taken. Bright and beautiful. Still, photogenic and minus 25 degrees.

(This is the rare and beautiful 1853-6 Wesleyan Methodist cobblestone church north of Belleville; I wrote about it, its history and its charming and creative owners Denis and Brigitte in the winter 2011/12 issue of Country Roads magazine.)

So, back to winter house spotting. My Denis waiting in the warm car, parked as safely as possible on the snow-covered road, because inching closer to the snowbanks for safety could mean dropping into a deceptively smoothed-over ditch. Fingers turning to insensate lumps - just trying to hold the camera, much less composing and clicking, becomes out of the question. And the equipment itself - can it really be good for a camera to move back and forth between freezing roadside and warm welcoming vehicle?

Until that sport becomes once again inviting and safe, here are some winter/summer photos of beauty spots in Hastings County. Reassurance that one day, this too shall pass.

This farmhouse north of Belleville was started in 1807. It's the Hartman-McComb house. Hard to say when it's prettier, winter or summer.

The Old Hastings Mercantile and Gallery  is beautiful in all seasons, its shelves filled with unique nostalgic gifts and must-haves for me. The building itself is filled with history, and most importantly with the warmth and generosity of the folk whose store it now is, Lillian Oakley and Gary Pattison. I was fortunate to meet Lillian several years ago, to find out their story, again for Country Roads magazine's Spring 2012 issue.

Just down a few steps from the Mercantile is another most wonderful treat - S.S.# 3 Limerick, better known as The Old Schoolhouse Tearoom. This forest destination is another nostalgic and inviting spot, filled as it is with school-house memorabilia, china cups.teapots and tiered cake plates. 

Ernie Pattison is chief cook and bottle washer of this absolutely delightful and tasty cafe. Anyone who has been a teacher - or a student - will enjoy browsing old schoolbooks and maps, sitting in old flip seat school desks by the parlour stove. Here's the website so you can check hours and make your plans to drive north to Ormsby, just south of Bancroft, in beautiful Hastings County. 
Here is a September photo with Elmer the Safety elephant guiding us safely across the road, mind spinning with all the delights just enjoyed at the Mercantile.                                                         
As a volunteer at Glanmore National Historic Site, I get to see this grand house in all its for your enjoyment are the ice storm of January 2014 and Porchfest weekend in September. 

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