We're on the road early because we want to be at Don's Fish & Chips in Brockville, Ontario, in time for lunch. We discovered this place a while ago and planned the entire trip around this return visit. We've taken Route 40 along the north bank of the St. Lawrence River around Montreal, usually less of a traffic problem than Route 20, the southern route.
The owner's son remembers us from last time - not everyone eats in the car out front and then rushes in for another order - but we warn him in advance we'll be having just one order this time.
Last time cod was the only fish available, but now Don's is offering halibut, which of course we have to try. Again, a thick, fresh fillet comes coated with a luscious batter fried crispy-dry and wrapped in newspaper. Like the fish, the world-class home-cut fries are handled with care and always fried to order - no matter how long the line.
Once again we sit in the car outside, happy to be alive on this sunny day enjoying this once-a-year treat. We keep our word and do not succumb to a reorder. Guilt is setting in from a couple of weeks of reckless abandon.
On the way out of Brockville, we spot a striking mural - a sign of things to come - on the side of a large building, depicting the law offices of Stewart Corbett. Linda's out of the car in a flash, snapping away.
Our final night away from home is spent at the Denaut Mansion Country Inn in Delta, Ontario, northwest of Brockville. Route 29 north from Don's to Route 42 west takes us right to the village of Delta. On the way, we pass through Athens, where we return that evening to the local pizza emporium. It turns out that Athens is rightly famous for the impressive murals painted on many of the town's buildings. I follow Linda around as she captures several of them on film.
Delta, originally Stevenstown, was first settled in 1796 by pioneers who came from Vermont with Elder Abel Stevens following the American Revolutionary War. After several name changes, the community became Delta since it was located on a rich and fertile delta beside Lower Beverly Lake.
Delta's reason for being was the dam built on a local creek to power its mill, which led to the creation of an artificial lake called Upper Beverly. By the early 1800s, it was a flourishing farming and industrial village.
Over the decades Delta became a site for pioneer trades and crafts and interesting structures to house them. Many have been lost, but enough remains to get a feel of what once was. The Beverly Lake Township Park has excellent camping facilities, picnicking, swimming and walking trails.
The Walter Denaut House was built in 1849. Old Walt owned the mill and was the postmaster, a general merchant and a politician. Befitting his wealth and status, he built this impressive two-storey mansion of stone with a wing of brick for the servants' quarters, which now house a self-catering two-bedroom apartment and the living quarters of the present owners. Rumour persists that the ghost of Mr. Denaut returns to haunt the halls, but you can't prove it by us.
The inn sits on 11 lovely acres. A path through the woods leads to a dock on the lake where two canoes are available without charge for guests to use. The two floors of the main house have high ceilings and windows that keep the space bright and cheerful. The large fireplace in the living room makes us wish we were here in winter. Breakfast is fresh, natural and organic, featuring cereals, breads and fresh fruits. A healthy start to the day and we're on our way.
Back to Toronto, our circle is complete.
Reprinted courtesy of www.thetravelzine.com