Peterborough
The Kawartha Lakes region has always been one of my favourite getaway destinations from Toronto – not only does it feature gorgeous waterways and rolling hills, it is also extremely close to the city. We embarked on our weekend getaway on July 2, 2010 shortly before 5 pm and arrived at our destination, the Golden Pathways Bed and Breakfast, only 75 minutes later. Owner Cora Whittington welcomed us and showed us to our spacious room which had a walkout to a nice patio that overlooked the rolling meadows of the Whittington’s cattle farm.

Cora Whittington herself is a very interesting bed and breakfast host: not only does she run a B&B, but she also works as a leadership trainer and life coach. Her entire basement is set up as a spacious seminar facility and I could definitely see how this serene country environment would inspire people to learn. With Cora’s engaging personality we were talking in no time.

I took a walk around the property and enjoyed watching the herd of cows that were congregating in the shade on the western edge of the farm. I also enjoyed taking pictures of the beautiful flower beds that were surrounding the property. Magnum, the lively beagle, accompanied me and despite his 7 years of age he was as energetic and friendly as a young puppy. Needless to say Magnum is a big hit with Cora’s B&B guests.

After settling in we got ready to explore Peterborough, a city of about 75,000 residents just east of Toronto. We approached the town from the east and ended up on the eastern shores of Little Lake, the town’s large body of water that is highlighted by the Centennial Fountain. Fishermen had set up shop on the shore and kayakers were enjoying the waters, right in the middle of the city.

We took a stroll down the main street, called George Street North, which features a variety of retail outlets and restaurants. Further south is Del Crary Park, a popular outdoor venue for the Peterborough Summer Festival of Lights which hosts free concerts every Wednesday and Saturday. The Peterbrough Marina also features a restaurant with a nice upper-level patio that offers a great view of downtown Peterborough and Little Lake.

After a quiet dinner we headed back to the farm to rest up for another day of discoveries. On July 3 we were greeted with brilliant sunshine again and made our way to the terrace upstairs where we were looking forward to a filling breakfast. Cora was hard at work in the kitchen, preparing an egg strata while I admired the colourful fruit salad that she had set up for us. Two other couples joined us on the sunny terrace and soon enough a nice conversation developed among everybody.

The older couple told us about a great theatre performance at the 4th Line Theatre that stages Canadian productions in a barnyard environment. They had had a great time the night before at a performance of “Eldorado Town – The Port Hope Play”. Our delicious egg dish followed and our filling breakfast would carry us for most of the day.

That was great, because we were heading off on our bicycles to explore Peterborough. This town is a great cycling destination, with trails surrounding all of Little Lake and even crossing it on an old railway bridge. We started at the south end of Little Lake, cycled past the Art Gallery of Peterborough and Del Crary Park Lake to Millenium Park, a beautiful new park with interesting sculptures on the west side of the Lake.

Crossing back over east on Hunter Street we cycled down the east side of Little Lake and enjoyed the scenic vistas and quiet pathways. Next to Rogers Cove we admired the manually operated lock number 20 of the Trent-Severn Waterway. We had a chance to watch a boat from the Liftlock and the River Boat Cruises company get lifted up to continue on to the Peterborough Lift Lock, the highest hydraulic boat lift in the world.

From here we cycled south to Beavermead Park which features a gorgeous sandy beach and a campground with many waterfront campsites. Further south is Ecology Park, a great place for learning about the natural world with various displays, a garden market and a plant nursery.

We came around Little Lake again and just north of Del Crary Park we headed east across the old railway bridge and up to James Stevenson Park where we watched a local baseball game. Just north of the Power Plant we headed west again to relax in a beautiful park by the water.

Having freshened up after a long day of bicycle riding we headed out for dinner and took a stroll downtown before settling in at Gerti’s restaurant on Hunter Street. We enjoyed a tasty reasonably priced dinner and after leaving, our waitress ran after us since my husband had forgotten his glasses. A little touch of personal service goes a long way and our waitress certainly went the extra mile to help us out.

After another comfortable night at the Golden Pathways B&B we enjoyed one more scrumptious breakfast featuring savoury omelettes on the sunny terrace before we slowly made our way back to Toronto. Peterborough is always one of our preferred getaway destinations.
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