Category Archives: Community

Rock Dunder

This weekend, we went on a drive along Hwy 15 to a little place just north of Seeley’s Bay called Rock Dunder. We’ve been going on short drives every weekend lately, and with the beautiful weather we had, it was necessary that we spend some time outside. Part of the Rideau Waterway Land Trust, Rock Dunder is a wonderful place for a hike.

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We’d already gotten a few pointers from those who had gone before us (i.e. the turn off is really easy to miss, so if you pass the Morton sign, you’ve gone too far), so we were pumped and ready to go. Upon first arriving at the site, it was pretty unassuming. We parked in the tiny lot (which was at full capacity with about 10 cars), made sure we had our sunscreen, and headed off.

We walked along the Cabin trail (green on the map) – a really easy stroll through some wood, towards the water. Arriving at Cabin 1, we encountered two nice ladies who doused themselves in Off! Unfortunately, we were not as prepared. More on that later.

This is where we begin the Summit Loop (orange on the map). Between Cabin 1 and Cabin 2, the terrain gets a little more hilly, but there are a number of lookouts where you can take a rest. This also comes with a number of beautiful views of the bay and the lucky individuals who happen to have cottages on the surrounding land.

The last leg up to the lookout was fairly strenuous, with lots of climbing and some pretty steep sections. We attempted to run up some of these parts, only to leave ourselves quite winded. As we got closer, the land levelled out, and when we happened upon the large sheets of rock, we knew we had made it.

The view was incredible, and we certainly didn’t mind sharing it with the dozen or so people that were also at the lookout.

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There were people having picnics, others doing wall climbs, and still others just taking pictures or resting. It felt like we were on top of the world.

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Though we had been instructed (prior to the day) to return the way we came, we decided to venture out and finish the rest of the loop. This is where things went south.

This stretch of the loop back to the parking lot was longer…and muddier…and full of mosquitoes. It alternated between wooded areas and open rock faces, and there were definitely many sections that we ran through to avoid the bites of some blood-sucking companions.

So, an hour and 5.2 km later, we were back where we started. Granted, we were definitely more tired, and our shoes looked much worse, but it was a good time. We even left them a donation.

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So, that’s that for Rock Dunder. We rewarded ourselves with some ice cream, and resolved to come back again (with Off!).

 

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Summer weather and a patio

Whenever possible, we like to eat local. Especially in the west end, we stay away from chain restaurants. Today, however, we made the decision to break from that guideline.

It is hot today. Like high teens hot. A perfect day for patio dining. There aren’t many options in the west end for post church lunch options, and we flirted with the idea of eating at Windmills, but in the end we decided on Jack Astor’s. We have resisted eating there since it opened, because of the effect chains have on local eateries, but no one can argue it has the best patio in the city. Situated adjacent to Market Square, it afforded us a beautiful view of City Hall and the Sunday antiques market.

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We had fairly low hopes for the food, but my Smoky Jack’s burger was actually quite good. Better than Kelvin’s deluxe bacon cheeseburger. And the cranberry fizz lemonade I had (the actual name on the menu escapes me) was not bad either, though a bit too sour.

All in all, it was a good time with a spectacular view. I can’t say we will be here often but we will probably make the trek down (or up) again before the end of the summer.

Chez Piggy

As much as it is nice to eat in for brunch like we shared about a little while ago, Kingston is a city that has no shortage of delicious places to eat out. Though we are trying to find more spots on the west end of town to dine at, there are tried and true establishments that remain in the downtown core.

This past Sunday, we went with our friends Gary and Joyce (their suggestion!) to Chez Piggy. Tucked away in a courtyard off Princess Street, this two-storey restaurant is absolutely quaint. We were seated upstairs in the loft, and throughout the meal, I dreamed about what it would be like to have a home that had as much character as this place. Kelvin and I had been to Chez Piggy together once for their Table d’hôte, and I had been once for a work lunch, but never had we been for brunch.

And let me tell you – Chez Piggy did not disappoint.

Gary and Kelvin both ordered the eggs benedict (sorry we didn’t take any pictures, and I couldn’t find the right ones online). I normally don’t like eggs benedict, but I would’ve eaten all of this. The eggs were just firm enough, and the sour dough didn’t get soggy at all.

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Joyce and I both got the undone omelette (I got this photo off the internet…I forgot to take one). Because we are both not a fan of runny egg yolk, we asked for them to harden up the sunny side eggs, which they did a wonderful job of. The manchego was the perfect cheese for this, the arugula was a nice touch.

The icing on the cake? The homefries. I kid you not, those homefries were delicious. With crispy onions scattered amongst them, this was the perfect complement to our eggs.

We finished our meal fully satisfied, evidenced by our clear plates and beaming faces. The portions were just right, and reflective of the price. This is a definitely a place I feel confident recommending.

Listening to the Radio

Tonight, I gave Kelvin a hand with his prep for work. We sat together on the study floor, surrounded by folders and workbooks. While we did this, we listened to the radio. They were just talk shows – the first a rant by Gail Vaz-Oxlade (of Til Debt Do Us Part) and the second a discussion about libraries vs. Starbucks on CBC Radio One. There was something very soothing about listening to the radio, with its mildly static voices and the palpable on-air quality. It made me want to curl up in a chair and dim the lights.

Some might say that the radio is a dying form of media, that soon people will cease to listen to it, but I beg to differ. I listen to the radio constantly in the car, often via the Internet when I’m working, and every so often broadcast in my home through my iPod dock. Maybe I should look into a local radio station and learn more about what community radio is all about? Perhaps I can score a slot to talk about my next community initiative?

Anyways, what about you? Do you listen to the radio?

Weekend Activities in Kingston

This weekend is ramping up to be one of the busiest weekends of the year. Our city is playing host to a multitude of events, so we shall see how many we can make it out to!

Kingston WritersFest September 26-30

This festival has grown and grown over the last few years. Michael Ondaatje and Teju Cole are in town for the kickoff event tonight. In honour of the event, I think I will return to a book I picked up a while ago by local authors Wayne Grady and Merilyn Simonds (I started it, but stopped because I was reading too many things at once). Be prepared for a weekend of literary excitement!

Art After Dark September 27, 7-10 PM

Kingston has an abundance of artisans and artists, and this evening open gallery event is possible only because of their contributions. Tomorrow night, 12 different gallery/boutique spaces will be open late for the public’s enjoyment.

Kingston Culture Days September 28-30

Culture Days is something very dear to my heart, as this is my second year participating in it. Culture Days is a national movement of free, participatory arts and culture activities, and Kingston has officially recognized it since last year. Shameless plug, this year I am organizing an activity in the west end called Happy Posting in Kingston, a growing art installation centralized on the question “What Makes You Happy?”  that passersby will be adding to as they come. For more info, check out the activity description!

Chilifest September 29, 12-3 PM

I am saddened that I will miss this event due to being at my Culture Days activity. However, if you can make it, do not miss out! This is essentially three hours of eating chili and deciding who makes it best.

Of course, Market Square will also be bustling with activity all weekend, with the weekly farmers’ market on Saturday and the antique market on Sunday, so if you want a break from organized activity and just want to browse, pay a visit to the market.

So pretty much, something that we love about Kingston is how there is always something going on. At the same time, it is a city where you also feel  perfectly content just kicking your feet up and relaxing. It shall be a busy weekend, but it will be great. What are you planning on doing this weekend?

Fare on the Square

Today was Kingston’s annual Fare on the Square which was a celebration of local food and farmers. A bunch of restaurants had sample tastings for $2. Apparently, according to the City of Kingston, our farmer’s market is the oldest-continuous running market in North America. Who knew.

Cat and I have been meaning to go this event for the past two years but have never made it out for reasons that I now forget. It was raining and crummy today, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind. And I finally got a chance to test the panorama feature out on iOS6! That poor kid on the left hand side of the shot got chopped off!

Hidden Gems

One of the really neat things we love about living in Kingston are all hidden gems like the little restaurants and bakeries that have informally cemented themselves as practically institutions in the city. Fardella’s Classic bakery is one of those places. I remember going there when I was younger and getting cheesecakes and quiches for special occasions. They’ve recently relaunched themselves as a internet cafe/breakfast/lunch place to go along with their bakery and so Catherine and I decided to give it a try. It’s a really cute and intimate spot with vintage decor all over the place. The sandwiches were really delicious but the highlight were definitely the baked goods, which I clearly forgot to take a picture of!