This past weekend, J. and I embarked on a bit of a staycation.
We still drove three hours to get there, but by creeping along in our fuel-efficient car, we only used about a half tank of gas (the starter went and J. had to replace it in our B&B’s driveway and then the emergency brake kinda caught fire as we were picking Ollie up at the kennel, but, hey, you can’t have everything!)
I’m still working on pitches and stories from the excursion, so can’t say much lest I give my ideas away, but suffice it to say we were in the St. Jacobs area. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the market (sources tell me that the 130-year-old Kitchener Farmers’ Market is even better, with more reliably local food and less crap), but Saturday afternoon found us in the village, a first time for both of us.
We wandered around a pottery shop in a renovated silo, sat quietly in a replicated meeting house in a museum dedicated to Mennonite culture and explored a hundred year old broom-making shop and antique store (where I coveted an ornate Victorian twine dispenser made of iron – must be all the Jane Austen I’m reading lately).
St. Jacobs reminded us a bit of Elora, that other once-sleepy Ontario village that came to fame and is now lined with expensive boutiques and crowds of bussed-in tourists eager for the authentic.
Both towns seem a bit like how I would imagine the Southwestern Ontario pavilion at Epcot Centre and over rhubarb-strawberry squares at the bakery, we wondered what the Mennonites think. In the museum, we learned that they were first nick-named “the quiet in the land” when they arrived in the late 1700s. It must be strange for such private people to have to run their errands in a town crowded with people wishing for a glimpse of their black wagons rolling down the road.
We didn’t see many horse-drawn wagons. Mostly we saw buses lined up in the wide parking lot a block from main street and lots of cars, one from Florida. But on the way home we stopped at the Kissing Bridge, the province’s last remaining covered bridge, and as I was snapping photos, one came by. I surreptitiously took a picture – not the greatest one, but you get the idea – before we continued on our way, driving down back country roads with dust around their edges, to wander our way home.