Keep it simple!

As narrow and repetitive as one’s focus might have dwindled during this frightful pandemic – which for me means an agenda confined to eating, grocery and pharmacy shopping, cycling, photography, writing, driving my car and sleeping – there remains within this limited parameter the occasion for unanticipated exhilaration. Today for example I ventured northward to Neat Café in Burnstown, County of Renfrew where I chanced to meet and chat with the affable proprietors, Mark Enright and Bill Virgin.

They shared with me that effective last November they enlarged their business real estate holdings to include an adjoining stand-alone residential structure now rented for overnight use by visitors to the Café during a performance or otherwise. Interestingly the house – which contains four bedrooms (each with a double bed) and two bathrooms (one of which is en suite for the main ground-floor unit) – is only rented to one party (including its members) at a time.  Thus if two people (venturing together) decided to take the ground floor master bedroom, they would be the only ones in the entire building during the rental (about $195 per night including $50 charge for cleaning).

I remarked to the owners that in view of the latest restrictions upon both national and international travel, the nearby possibility for an indulgent few days of fine food, good booze, entertainment and a rustic countryside make the outing eminently appealing. I can also speak with some authority regarding the entire acceptability of Chef Dawn’s creations which are nonpareil.

Neat Café
1715 Calabogie Road
Burnstown Ontario, K0J 1G0

Neat Café, Burnstown, County of Renfrew

The development of the business put me in mind of the Ivy Lea Club along the St. Lawrence River where there are cottages for rent by the season.  I can certainly imagine that the Burnstown experience might readily include boating and other riparian diversions, not to mention hiking and sunbathing. I particularly like that the outing is so accessible.  So often people equate travel with remote destinations when in fact there are hugely favourable circumstances at hand.

As if to echo this observation, while I waited for the preparation of my espresso coffee I gabbed with a young chap from Renfrew who awaited his food preparation. He had been riding his motorcycle about the Ottawa Valley since 4:30 am this morning. For a reason I shamefully cannot now recall, he uttered prophetically, “Keep it simple!”  It is naturally an admonishment which arises regularly but for me it nicely summed up the prospect of a unique holiday adventure at Neat Café in nearby Burnstown!