John and Lily’s Cherry Valley

This visit has been a long time coming. Our friends John and Lily gave up city life nine years ago to transform what was once a rural Ontario abattoir into a modernist country home. They have painstakingly renovated a building that most of us would not have even contemplated. We intended to stay a night or two and stayed four nights. They were consummate hosts even organizing a get-together with other old Toronto artist friends, Brian and Evelyn. Brian and Evelyn also gave up city life to make a home and raise their daughter in Belleville.

John acted as tour guide one day showing us some of his favourite haunts in Prince Edward County. We enjoyed lunch at the County Cider Company overlooking the vineyards and lake. We visited his old workplace, Fifth Town Cheese, saw some of his restoration work at the Regent Theatre in Picton and met the lovely Kate and Jenny at Zest Kitchen Store also in Picton.

On Friday while John met up with some of his neighbours for a ‘chicken chat’ we visited a flea market in Bloomfield, Norman Hardie Winery and Rosehall Run Winery, had lunch at Tall Poppies in Wellington and then stopped in on our friends Sarah and David at Noble Farm. On the road leading to their farm we encountered a road block that included girls in bikinis. Christian insisted we stop! Turned out there was a very large snapping turtle in the middle of the road and the teens were afraid it would get hit by a car so first Christian to the rescue and then an older fella with a long carpenter’s level ultimately pushed it to safety. Boy was it angry! That evening we were invited to Games Night at the Athol Community Centre where we met John and Lily’s friends and community.

Van Morrison and Gibb was in esteemed company as John and Lily have a Raycraft 1950s era trailer complete with full size kitchen and a working porcelain toilet. Our home on wheels felt a little wanting after seeing this gem of tourist travel.

We are grateful to John and Lily for inviting us to enjoy their home and amazing property. The great food, wonderful company, late nights and fresh air made this #folkstop really memorable. But one of the most endearing aspects of this stay was getting to spend time with John and Lily’s chickens – Eenie, Meenie and Miney. More on them in the next post!

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