After my brief stay in Peterborough over the July long weekend I decided to head back there to explore this travel region in greater detail. I have always liked the Kawartha Region, with its beautiful lakes and rolling hills, and equally importantly, I always appreciate its easy reachability and proximity to Toronto. It takes just about an hour and half to leave the Big Smoke behind and reach the serene countryside and jewel-blue lakes of the Kawartha Region.
So on August 4, 2010 I set off on a 3-day adventure to explore more of this popular vacation region. I arrived mid-morning at my home for the next two days: the Golden Pathways Bed and Breakfast where dynamic owner Cora Whittington welcomed me like an old friend. We had already met earlier in July of this year when I had spent two nights at her relaxing country retreat.
Cora Whittington, my gracious hostess at the Golden Pathways B&B
The Golden Pathways B&B has three guest bedrooms, all located on the lower level of the house with two bathrooms, a large living room and kitchen area that is available for guests to use. Outside is a beautiful porch that overlooks the Whittington family farm and a barbecue is available for the guests as well. At only 15 minutes from Peterborough, this bed and breakfast is embedded in the quiet countryside, yet has quick access to a major city with all its restaurants and other entertainment options. It’s a great place to get away from it all and relax. Or you can get active and go hiking or bicycling or enjoy watersports in the nearby Squirrel Creek Conservation Area and on the Otonabee River.
My luxurious bedroom at the Golden Pathways B&B
But there was no time to linger: I wanted to head out to the Peterborough Farmers Market which is held every Wednesday and Saturday morning. Since 1825 this farmer’s market has been providing fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy products, honey, maple syrup and a variety of preserves to local residents. I admired freshly cut flowers from local farms and various handicrafts while the locals were chatting with the merchants. Two gentlemen from the D’Silva family told me about the East Indian preserves and finger foods that they produce at their family business called “Sybil’s” in the west end of Peterborough. A wide range of curry pastes are very popular with the local shoppers, particularly the “kick-ass curry paste” whose recipe is a family secret. I even got a tiny spoonful of butter chicken, one of my favourite chicken dishes.
The D’Silva family sells East Indian preserves at the Peterborough Farmer’s Market
This little sample really made my stomach growl now, so the food stands started to catch my attention. Local merchant Inna Trotchine from A Taste of Russia reeled me in with her delicious looking goodies. The potato-mushroom strudel, the cheese-filled platchintas, the feta cheese and spinach triangles and the apple dumplings were definitely enticing me, but I had planned to visit a local restaurant for lunch so I had to reign in my appetite. But Inna clearly recognized my cravings and gave me a free taste of some of her delicious pierogies, which hit the spot perfectly to quench the worst of my hunger.
Inna and some of her delicacies at “A Taste of Russia”
Fortunately I had managed to save enough room for lunch, so I headed up to Hunter Street which offers an array of eclectic restaurants and street cafes. I settled in at Karma’s Café whose chic décor actually was created as part of the television show “Restaurant Makeover”. I even had a chance to peek into the kitchen and watch chef Vladimir at work who has been with Karma’s for the past six years. He was working on preparing some of the Tibetan, Malaysian and Southeast Asian dishes that are served here. Always on the lookout for tasty vegetarian dishes, I thoroughly enjoyed my Nasi-Hapjes rice patties.
My Asian-inspired lunch at Karma’s Café
After this flavoursome Asian-inspired lunch, I made my way to the Peterborough Marina where I boarded the Liftlock Cruise sightseeing boat. For the next two hours I hung out with Captain Graham Kent, who entertains the crowd with his informative and humorous commentary. He explained that when he started this business, he hired local university students to do historical research about Peterborough which produced hundreds of pages of interesting information about this city. In the end he distilled the information down to 32 pages of the most interesting tidbits about Peterborough and the Trent-Severn Waterway.
Captain Graham Kent is a treasure trove of information
As we started our cruise I had a chance to interview Graham about the history of his company which he bought in 1994 from a former business partner. Since then Liftlock Cruises has truly evolved into a veritable family enterprise with his wife, his son and daughter-in-law and his daughter and son-in-law being involved. They operate two vessels: the Island Princess, a double-deck replica side wheeler, and the Skylark VIII, a single-deck tour boat that is often used for corporate cruises. The season lasts from late May to mid-October and coincides with the opening periods of the Trent-Severn Waterway.
The “Island Princess”
As we cruised on Little Lake we passed by the marina and Del Crary Park, Peterborough’s popular outdoor gathering spot and home to many free concerts throughout the summer. Grant pointed out the Little Lake Cemetery which has been in use since 1850. We also saw two sandy beaches at Rogers Cove Park and Beavermead Park. Then it was on to Lock No. 20 on the Trent-Severn Waterway.
Captain Graham Kent expertly steers the boat towards the lock