Tim and Jennie came to us from Vancouver and Mission British Columbia. Tim is originally from Newcastle England but has Whole heartedly adopted Canada and Jennie is a local gal from London Ontario.
Twenty five music lover friends came out to see them perform a variety of folk songs from England, Scotland and Ireland, as well as Tim's own songs.
Tim delighted us with great stories and a great sense of humour, aas he set up the song he was about to perform.
One guest summed up Jennie on her way out, "She just lights up the front of the room with her smile." Her accompaniment adds a richness to Tim's music and vocals.
A couple of Jennie's friends came in from Windsor to see the performance and added some fun harmony at the after party. Jennie is an avid card player and we all had a rousing, boisterous game of Wizard into the wee hours of the morning. It was great fun.
If you have not been to a House Concert you need to come out.
What a great Family Day weekend! Helped out at the church breakfast, practiced with Keltic Knights in preparation for the St. Patrick's Day Family Ceilidh at the KofC Hall on March 17th. You are all invited to come and hear us play. Then I met up with the rest of the family at Angela & Bill's and enjoyed board games and a great meal. We got to hang out with Marc, Nicole and Dino for the evening and most of Monday with more cards. A relaxing family time.
We spent a very enjoyable afternoon, last week, discovering a few things about our property. Over the last 176 years we think this property has been owned by 5 families. There are some things to be sorted out.
I mentioned in another post that the land in this area was doled out in lots. If you were fortunate you could get a 200 acre of great farm land. In 1836 a fellow by the name of Samuel Smith received Lot 40 in Southwold. The Talbot Road cut through the lot. Samuel began to divide the lot into smaller portions. One 50 acre piece, called Part of Lot 40 south of the North Branch of the Talbot Road (SNBTR) was sold to William Drake the Elder in 1836. This piece was at the very south end of the lot. We believe this is our Part of Lot 40 SNBTR.
The Drake family was the first to clear the land and begin farming. William the Elder sold or gave it to his sons William and Thomas in 1842. The land records sometimes tell the money that changed hands but those bits of information were not included for these two transactions.
In 1846 The Drakes sell the land to Richard Nicolls. We found Richard and his family in the Canada West's 1851 Census. Richard and his wife Lucy, who came from Ireland were in their early 30s. They had seven children ranging in age from 1 to 16 years old. All the children were born in Canada.
In August of 1868, one year after Confederation, the land registry shows the 50 acres being sold or given, to Anne Drake by Isaac Graham. This stymies us some what because who is Issac Graham? How did he get the land from Nicolls? We can't find his name on the Land Registry as buying the land. We need to find out more and get it sorted out. It is a great puzzle to occupy us on cold winter nights. More to come.
I had the good fortune of meeting Stephen Francom, Manager/ Archivist at the Elgin County Archives. We have been interested in getting to know more about the history of our property. This entire area is part of Col. Thomas Talbot's land grant, and we would like to go back as far as that to see who owned the land etc. Stephen has given us some advisce and we are going to go to the Archives well prepared to start our search. It shouls be fun.
Talbotville's first settlers arrived in 1817, however it wasn't called Talbotville but Five Stakes. Col. Thomas Talbot, with the help of Sir John Graves Simcoe, secured a land grant of up to 5,000 acres. He pitched the government by saying he would bring settlers in from Europe and the United States and for every 50 acres settled upon he, Talbot, would get 150 acres. He also promised to grow and export quantities of hemp for the ropes of the Royal Navy.
When you are born to privelledge you get these good deals. He was born in Malahide Castle in the County of Dublin in 1771 to wealthy connected parents. He was in the army ar 11 years old and eventually ended up in Upper Canada as the confidential secretary to Simcoe. Simcoe being the governor of the time recommended Talbot get the grant.
Talbot arrived back in Upper Canada in 1803. He quickly ignored a great many points that were required of him. Talbot ended up with close to 65,000 acres of land.
More to come.
Elgin County's 120 miles of Lake Erie Shoreline boasts four Ports, many beaches and marinas Port Bruce, Port Burwell, Port Glasgow and Port Stanley offer easy access to fishing, sailing and all types of water sports.
Port Stanley is the largest of the ports. It has one of the finest stretches of beach along the north shore of Lake Erie, winning awards for it cleanliness. Kettle Creek offers safe shelter for leisure boats that moor at the marinas. It is great fun to sit and eat an icecream ad watch the sailboats move in and out of the marina. Great deal of the fun is in watching the King George Lift Bridge, the oldest lift bridge in Ontario, lift the bridge so the large masts can pass.
The Port, as the locals refer to it, is home to the terminal railway which offers rides along the old London and Port Stanley rail line.
Buy fish right from the fishing boats, wander through the boutiques and art stores, enjoy the restaurants and outdoor patios , and go to the theatre. Port Stanley is a great place to spend some time.
Port Bruce is a former fishing village with a waterfron Provincial Park. The peir at Port Bruce is a vaourite place for fishermen looking for Lake Erie Yellow Perch.
Port Burwell, known as the Jewel of Lake Erie's north shore, also has a Provincial Park. You can enjoy another great beach, go fishing or visit the excellent Maritime Museum located across from the lighthouse.
Port Glasgow is a fisherman delight. Well known for its' great pickerel fishing. Port Burwell host a yearly Kids Fishing Derby, as well. A great beach and a beautiful undeveloped lake shore make Port Glasgow another gem.
Come and visit us at Arbour for a couple days and we will send you on several different Elgin tours. Elgin has so much to offer Art, Theatre, Railroad History, Sparta shops and farms, Ports, beaches, water sports, fishing, and so much more.
One Elgin County spot we always send folks to visit is Sparta. Sparta is just south of St. Thomas and was settled by the Quakers after the War of 1812. It became a thriving village. Several interesting enterprises have lovingly occupied the historic buildings and made Sparta a great place to spend an afternoon.
Sparta Candles occupies the old General Store that was built in 1838. They produce their own unique candles that they only sell in Sparta and online. As well, they have many home decor items of interest.
Sparta House Tea Room is another quaint historical building built in 1836. It was the original hotel. It was purchased by an English couple who have braved the ghosts to create a charming tea room and restaurant that serves great English style lunches (Ploughman's Lunch, Cornish Pastie, Bangers and Mash etc.) Yes, there have been ghost sightings. Sparta House was featured on a tv program that explored their spectral guests.
Steed Lavender Farm is just on the outskirts of Sparta, a 45 acre farm with horses and beautiful lavendar gardens. It is well worth a visit to see the beautifully gaardens and smell the lavender.
Winter Wheat is another interesting experience in the Sparta area. Their gardens, full of interesting garden sculptures, along with the store are not to be missed.
Come and visit us at Arbour for a couple days and we will send you on several different Elgin tours. Elgin has so much to offer Art, Theatre, Railroad History, Sparta shops and farms, and so much more.
If you will just glance to your right, you will see the latest addition to Arbour B&B website. Yes, you can now book directly online without having to call or email. If you still wish to email or call please do so, we love to hear from you.:)
The one draw back is that the system can't handle booking the Guest House, so you will still need to call or email about Guest House Bookings.
Each year, Shelley McVittie from Cobblestone Gallery, produces a great map of Elgin County called Back Road Elgin. (See tiny version in picture beside) Shelley is the first one to point our it is not to scale but regardless of scale it is an invaluable. Because Arbour is on the map we have maps to give our guests and they love them.
The map lists many fine businesses throughout the county and show you where they are located. Today I and just going to mention the Art Galleries, six in all. Five of the galleries are found on Back Roading Elgin the with is loccated in St. Thomas.
If you love trains, climbing on them, riding them and learning about their history, then you have to come and visit St. Thomas the Railway Capital of Canada. Many railways, London and Port Stanley, Michigan Central, Wabash, Grand Trunk, Pere Marquette, and Canadian Pacific came through St. Thomas. In 1906 they report some46 trains daily.
Year round you can visit the Canadian Southern Railway Station built in 1871 and lovingly being renovated back to its former glory. The Railway Museum is close by in the former Michigan Central Railway Repair Shops, built in 1913. The museum has locomotives, cabooses, passenger and luggage cars that you can see up close.
Come and visit us and take in Railway Nostalgia Days in June 23 and 24, 2012. Thomas the train arrives in July when the Museum sponsors Day Out with Thomas July 13-15. July 20-22.
You can get a ride on the Port Stanley Terminal Railway. It runs on a portion of the tracks of the former London and Port Stanley Railway.
St. Thomas and Elgin County are a must for all railroad enthusiast, young or old.
Within 20 minutes of our door you can get to 5 theatres that offer fantastic entertainment. Three of those theatres are right in Elgin County. I am not even counting the number of places that you can go to on a regular bases and see fine singer/songwriters from around the world. In February we are going to see Bedside Manner in Aylmer. It is a great theatre, very intimate.
The Princess Ave Playhouse has Steele Magnolias and Keys for Two coming up. Princess Ave is another beautiful little theatre that has just had some improvements to the building and the sound system. It is a great place to see a live concert. The Board at Princess Ave Playhouse announced that the WIngfield plays, all of them, will be performed there over the next year. Watching Rod Beattie in action at that theatre will be incredible.
The Port Stanley Festival Theatre is offering "Back in '59", "Dating by the Book". Sexy Laundry, Having Hope at Home, and Storm Warning. A great place to spend a summer evening after a great meal in one of the Ports many restaurants. I'm partial to icecream after the play.
Arbour B&B gives a 20% discount to anyone with tickes to a performance at Princess Ave Playhouse, Port Stanley Festival Theatre or the Aylmer Community Theatre,