Though it would border on misrepresentation to deny we’re easily unbalanced, we two old fogeys nonetheless subscribe to the mitigating theory that all’s well that ends well. Today’s venture was a case in point.
Every second Thursday our cleaning lady attends to refresh our small apartment. We make a point of excluding ourselves and usually profit by the occasion to go somewhere for a late lunch or an early dinner. Sometimes we stay relatively close to home, say Cedar Cove Resort on White Lake in nearby Lanark Highlands. Lately however we’ve sadly discovered that the change of Chef has not been a welcome transformation and as a result our inclinations have modified accordingly. In any event more often than not we go further abroad, either to Kingston, Gananoque or – what is clearly our preference – the Ivy Lea Club on the Parkway adjacent the St. Lawrence River. The trouble however is that between 2:30 – 5:00 p.m. the patio overlooking the marina serves only “small plates” which, while delicious, do not constitute a full meal and are more suitable as hors d’oeuvres with a drink. The main dining room doesn’t open until 5:00 p.m. As a result we’re normally not in the neighbourhood at the right time for a full course meal.
Knowing that, we began our outing today by heading to the Socialist Pig in Gananoque. After having succeeded to find a perfectly suitable parking space across the street from the restaurant we had the misfortune to learn that the restaurant was closing at 3:00 p.m. precisely as we arrived. The hostess congenially redirected us to another café nearer the water. We decided to walk to the café because we felt we knew where it was and we welcomed the opportunity to exercise. Besides I am an inveterate window shopper. As it turned out, we were not ten feet on our way when I came upon a new art gallery and implored my hesitant companion to humour me with a divergence. The pieces in the window decidedly caught my attention for their texture and complication. The owner of the gallery – a young, attractive woman – was effervescent and explained the remarkable stories behind her combination photographic/acrylic “paintings” based upon her experiences in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. I can tell you that to my mind anyone as delicate as she was the last person I would have imagined to be in either of those countries, a speculation she punctuated when informing me that only this week her sources there reported that 50 people had been mysteriously murdered and that the atrocity was never reported in the media.
Upon disgorging ourselves from the gallery we made our way along the main drag and turned south towards the St. Lawrence River. Though we clearly had lost sight of the precise location of our café destination, we soon recovered and headed back northwards from the water along another of Gananoque’s charming historic streets. Once again we landed upon the place to find that it had closed at 3:30 p.m. Unabashed we trudged northwards (which in any event was in the direction of our car) thinking we’d try the Riva Restaurant which is the newest of the lot but larger than the other places and no doubt would satisfy our needs at this juncture in our failed attempts. When we reached Riva it too was closed, something about summer hours.
By this time it was approaching 4:00 o’clock and the idea of the Ivy Lea Club resurfaced. The trouble is that in the past we have been turned away if we hadn’t a reservation. Luckily for us, our apprehensive telephone call to the Ivy proved fruitful and we set off with renewed conviction. We arrived at the marina about 4:30 p.m. and stopped at the small ice cream kiosk to order a couple of espresso coffees which we idly drank while sitting outside the main hall overlooking the water, watching the young and smartly-dressed staff arriving for the evening shift.
At five o’clock promptly we were ushered to our seats on the sheltered deck of the dining room, perched above the yachts in the marina. For quite some time we were alone on the deck but within the hour families and couples began to arrive and the place quickly filled to capacity.
Once again the Ivy rose to the occasion and we enjoyed a fine meal. The warm butterscotch dessert completed the day for me. Our drive home along the back roads through Smiths Falls and Carleton Place was pleasant as always, unreservedly bucolic.