Sunday, May 20, 2012

Victoria Day and the Brooke Valley Spring Tour

This is our spring long weekend in Canada, Monday being the official Victoria Day holiday, celebrated in honour of the former monarch who was born on May 24 1819. Because her majesty was born on that day, we generally refer to it as the May 24th long weekend even though the actual holiday seldom occurs on that day but on the last Monday before May 25th. Kids like to refer to it as May two-four in honour of the cases of beverages that they consume when they go camping and party.

This weekend marks the beginning of summer in the minds of most Canadians. Cottages and pools are opened, and gardens are tended to. The parking lots of every garden centre from Wal-Mart to the upscale and expensive ones are full as giddy Canadians embrace the warmth, and it has been unseasonably warm this weekend with temperatures reaching 30°C/86°F and beyond. In Canadian terms, that's pretty hot, especially in May.

For us, since we don't have a cottage (the one that we have access to is infested with black flies at this time of year) and are too decrepit to camp, we do gardening and, yesterday, we also visited the Brooke Valley Spring Tour. Brooke Valley is way out in the country, but a few years ago, we saw their spring tour advertised, so we drove out to have a look around. There are a few studios on the tour, but the highlights are the lunch and chamber music sessions. We were so intrigued that we decided to go back this year. Read on.

Every year this family turns their home into a restaurant for the three day weekend. I have no idea how they manage this fantastic feat. Last time we sat inside, but we were given an outdoor table in the shade this year. Cuppa is sitting at our table in the middle of the picture.

They donate whatever money is raised to charity. This year the local charity was the Dignity House Hospice and the international one was the Stephen Lewis Foundation. We even had an orchid on our table.

There were six entrees to choose from and many desserts and drinks. The prices were reasonable ...

... and the food was quite delicious.

After lunch we wandered over to this house ...

... where we were treated to a free, forty-minute chamber music recital. In addition to the bassoonist (it was his house) and cellist, there was also a flutist (not shown). All were remarkable, extremely high-calibre musicians.

After the concert, I couldn't resist photographing this shed on the property.

There were also arts and crafts on display. September displayed her encaustic art in a little cabin.

This lady, whose name I didn't get, had much wicker furniture for sale along with this rather remarkable outhouse.

I had been able to snap this photo of her previously as I peered through the shed window while she sat reading.

Before we left, a group pulled into the tour in this vintage automobile. They were dressed in vintage clothes and looked smashing, or the cats pyjamas in keeping with the times. Although we weren't dressed appropriately, Cuppa and I couldn't resist borrowing the car for a joyride. Well ... we couldn't resist thinking about it.

I hope you enjoyed us enjoying the Brooke Valley Spring Tour on our Victoria Day long weekend.


Diana said...

What an awesome day A.C. That menu looked very interesting, a nice variety of foods.
I wouldn't mind having a cute shed like that. Although it wouldn't fit in my tiny yard!
But that out house would, now that I would find a place for.
I look forward to the day when Jake and I can just wonder to places like that together. You two are fortunate!
Love Di ♥

Dimple said...

Looks like a fun day! That shed would be irresistible for any photographer, I think, and I really like your capture. Too bad you couldn't take a real joy ride!

Lorna said...

As always your photos and commentary are amazingly rich for the armchair (kitchen stool) traveller.

JunieRose2005 said...

I enjoyed the outing very much! :)
Thanks for sharing!

RVVagabond said...

What a treat to go along with you. I absolutely love the photograph of the artist in her house reading--it looks like a painting hanging on the wall. One of your best, I think.

And growing up with a father who collected and restored classic cars the last one made me smile.

Donna said...

Coffee? 2bucks with FREE Refills??? I am SO There!!!Hahaaaa...and what a Different name...September...I like it!
Glad you two enjoyed it Ac!!

Mary said...

I enjoyed you enjoying the Brooke Valley Spring Tour. It looks like a very nice place. Thanks for bringing me along.

Love to you and Cuppa.

Ruth said...

Great tour, one I would like to do in person.

Regenia said...

That would be a tour we would enjoy. How interesting it would be to know how the homeowners not only coordinate the entire 3 days, but also how they provide a menu with those kind of offerings. Is there a local newspaper that does a human interest feature on them and their efforts?
I very much like all the pictures, but the one looked through the window to see the woman reading was extra special!