Waking Up in Wakefield

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It was all very mysterious, getting to Wakefield.

The plan was to visit my sister, who lives in Gatineau, and on the map it looks like you could walk to Wakefield from her house in ten minutes.

Must buy a new map!

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We left Friday evening of a long weekend. 401 jammed; we got there via shadowy old highways and then via the spaghetti of freeways that connects Ottawa to Quebec. We crept into a dark B&B called La Grange (The Barn) at 1:30 a.m., and found ourselves in a small, pristine and adorable room, devoid of the usual flowery flourishes that can make B&B stays so terribly kitschy.

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As it turned out, Wakefield and my sister’s pad in Gatineau aren’t really that close. The Girlfriend had to drive twenty-five minutes each way, which she did with sweet resolve. I. Like. Your. Sister. she said. I. Don’t. Mind. Staying in Ottawa would have made more sense. But then we might not have discovered this sweet funky little town, with some damn good eatin’ to boot.

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Pipolinka, the town’s organic bakery, was one of our first stops before going hiking at Lac Meech. Great bread and baguette but also mushroom pate to die for, fab tabouleh made with quinoa, and something I’d never seen, a vegetarian tourtiere, (a traditional Quebecois savoury pie usually made with pork).

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Oddly, you couldn’t find cheese in Wakefield, but you could get yourself a delicious meal at Chez Eric, made from local (or at least regional) ingredients like my Lake Erie bass atop sauteed mushrooms, rapini and chanterelle mushrooms. My sister and The Girlfriend both had lamb burgers and they hearted them. My only complaint was the lack of side dishes: my brothy, mushroomy fish dish would have been perfection with a side of mashed potatoes to soak up the jus – and who serves $15 burgers without a few sweet potato fries?

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Ah, but it was all so summery. Even the rain, streaming outside our B&B window, making everything a green blur.

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There were blueberries from a roadside stand, a covered bridge, my sister taking pictures of absolutely everything, a river, a hike up the side of a mountain with waterfalls where trails once existed, a swim in a dark blue lake, and a picnic of bakery finds.

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