Several years back, I was writing my post On-the-trail-of-loyalists. It was late fall, the trees had shed their leaves. I was parked beside the graveyard of an historic church. I remember the wind had a cool bite to it, and I had to take a hard hold onto the truck door so it didn’t sail open in a gust. I did a quick walk about the yard, snapped a few photos of the United Empire Loyalist headstones and left. Little did I know this was New Brunswick’s third historic district, the others being the downtown section of Fredericton-New-Brunswick and the town of Marysville, on The-Miramichi-river-route.
Pulling up to the stop sign, my eyes were once again drawn to the Trinity Anglican church and its steeple. This poignant and substantial landmark dominates its surroundings and is the reason I missed the other inconspicuous sites on my first trip here.
I did a u-turn and pulled up to the shoulder of the road and parked beside The Cartier House Tea Room.
Upon opening the door of this historic building, I find myself in a tiny foyer, a narrow staircase leads to an upper level, and the kitchen is directly in-front of me. I can see customers seated at tables in two seperate parlors- one to the left and one off to the right. I take another step in and the screen door slams behind me, causing several people to turn their heads and look my way.
A lady in the kitchen hears my entrance and comes out to greet me. “Hi,” she says with a smile, wiping her hands in the folds of her apron. “Hello” I reply, is there any room for one person?” I held up my finger indicating just myself.
“Sure. out on the back porch.”
I move hesitantly forward, not sure If I should enter the kitchen. With a sweep of her hand, she ushers me through the door out into the back yard. She remains inside, leaving me to my own devices. I pull a chair off the pile and place it beside the modern glass-topped patio table, then sit and wait. A few sprinkles of rain start landing on my arms and face. Looking upward, the clouds have darkened and the sprinkles thickened into droplets. Shielding my camera from the wet, I get up and go inside, hovering uncomfortably in kitchen not sure where to go.
“Is everything OK?” the lady asks, busying herself with placing saucers on the counter. “Oh yes, just… it is raining and I don’t want to get my camera wet.” I reply.
She steps around a coworker and reaches for a napkin, “We don’t have any table open right now.” Thinking quick she says, “There is a museum upstairs if you want to see it?” “Sure.” I hold out my card.” I am travel writer. Do you have any information about the house?” “Yes, I will get it.” She goes into the adjoining room and comes back with a laminated paper and hands it to me.
The kitchen staff continue to slip by each other in the small space, one lady puts china cups filled with tomato soup onto each saucer, another grips a handful of utensils and pushes out into the parlor. I am suddenly hungry and I ask, “Can I take a picture? it looks so delicious.”
“In the kitchen?” one lady scoffs and gives me a look with her eyebrow arched. I snap a quick photo and, recognizing they are too busy to deal with my wants, I retreat back outside.
The young lady brings me an umbrella and opens it over the table to keep the mist off me. “Thank you. Before I put you through any more trouble, do you take debit?” “No, sorry, we only take cash.” “Is there a cash machine anywhere?” “Yes, just next door at the market.” “I will be right back,” and I rise to go to the store.
The Kingston General Merchant building is the former Union house and is the third historic property I am here to see. It was built in 1788 and my friend Steve and Larry of the website Mynewbrunswick.ca/kingston-peninsula, have written a great post with details of the historic buildings of the town.
I returned to the Cartier Tea-House and it seemed to be busier than before. After a few minutes of waiting, I realized I should have made a reservation. Disappointed I leave.
The increased summer tourist traffic swells the town and I have to run across the road, narrowly dodging oncoming vehicles to reach the front yard of the MacDonald Consolidated school. A Provincial plaque marks the historic school building.
Just to the right is a sign pointing to the John Fisher Memorial Museum. It is located in the basement of the school and as I open the door a bell rings, notifying a young man that someone has entered. He takes a step from behind the brick archway to meet me. He says his name is Conner, and “Would you like a tour of the museum?” “Is there a fee?” I ask. “It is by donation,” he says.
“All the artifacts have been donated by local families.” He stops me beside the second display case. It has an anvil, a crude looking harrow to till the soil, a plow, something that looks like a huge wind bag. I point to the large item. He says, “A bellows.” Recalling the name I reply, “Oh yes – it blows air, keeps the fire going. A blacksmith’s forge needs to be kept hot.” He nods in agreement.
We walk through the various displays from butter churning tubs to a very old piano. Textiles and pottery. “Can I pick up that shoe?” I point and look back at Connor for permission. “OK, but be careful,” he says hesitantly. I pick it up and turn it over. A female’s black leather heeled boot, looks like it is right off the foot of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
We flow into the next room. It is a gallery of paintings from local artist Judith Baxter, she captures sunshine glinting off water and rocks of the Long Reach, as this area is called. Each piece catalogued with a number.
I walk to the log book at the entrance way and pick up the pen to sign my name. “This was a good use of my time. I very much enjoyed it. Thank you Connor”
“If you have any other questions?” he replies. “Actually, yes, I am looking for one more historic property. He recites them off, “the Union house, The Carter house, the MacDonald school, The Trinity Anglican church, and the Rectory.” Recognizing the last one as the missing piece to my historic district puzzle, I say, “It is the rectory I am missing.” He points to the house across the road. I am impressed with his mature demeanor and knowledge, a bright lad.
With the rectory photo in my possession. I remember there is a winery in the area. I head back down the stairs of the museum. Connor once again emerges from the back. “Connor, I was wondering if you know where Durham Run winery is? I seem to recall it is nearby.”
“We have a pamphlet of the New Brunswick wineries right here.” He plucks one from a stack and hands it to me. Once again I wish him well and head off in search of another adventure.
Please join me again for my next post. Durham Run winery.
Happy Travels from Maritimemac.
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