Sunday, 21 April 2013

April showers bring birthdays, concerts and wineries

April has been a busy month this far. We had two birthdays' ; a big milestone for Remy, as she celebrated her first birthday and I continue to celebrate my twenty-eighth birthday, again and likely again next year too. My mom headed off to Italy for a week in support of her new wine importing business (Amano Inc.) and our calendar continued to be full of diverse community events.

If you are a fan of maple syrup (and who isn't?), pancake breakfasts and family activities, you have likely heard of Gibbon's Family Farm, just north of Brockville. We ventured out one Saturday morning for their family day and took in music, pony rides and a petting zoo. There were many local families in attendance and no shortage of happy children. Our girls spotted the petting zoo, and headed over to see the baby lamb, goat and of course,  to hold the bunnies. We then ventured into the barn to listen to some folk music and hear some stories. After that quick break, it was back to the animals for a pony ride. Both girls enjoyed the ride - so much so, that I believe they are in cohoots to try and get daddy to buy them a horse!

That same Saturday evening was the annual North Augusta Volunteer Firefighters Pancake Dinner. If you are familiar with my blog, you know this is something we also supported last year and will hopefully continue to do so in years to come. It was nice to see the familiar faces of long-time friends who now volunteer and bring their own families to the dinner. The proceeds raised from this event go to assist in supporting our volunteer firefighters with their ongoing training, equipment and education to the general public. I can't think of a better way to show respect and support to the men and women who courageously give their time and lives to helping others. Thank you!

Last, but certainly not least, Nick, the girls and I spent last weekend away in Kingston. I had bought Nick concert tickets to see Great Big Sea for his birthday awhile back and we had been anticipating this concert for nearly 4 months! With Mother Nature throwing one last hooray of an ice storm, I was worried we wouldn't make it. Thankfully the weather let up and it was safe to travel. Although Kingston is a stone's throw away, it isn't a place we would have gone to if the ice had stayed. We checked into our hotel after dinner, my long-time friend and her hubby came to stay with the girls so we could head out to the concert. I like Great Big Sea, but could have taken or left them before this concert. I have to tell you - after seeing them perform live, that this is an amazing band who has gained a new fan. Their cadence was incredible and the range was like nothing I had ever heard. It was a great date night and a fun memory Nick and I will have for years to come.

As always- this area never disappoints. En route back from our Kingston adventure, the kids fell asleep in the car. Nick and I both enjoy country drives and so we went where the roads took us. We discovered Eagle Point Winery, just north of Rockport and I fell in love. As I don't often drink, I couldn't tell you the first thing about wine (shhh...don't tell my mom- she is a sommelier) but I will tell you that this winery is breathtaking. When I ventured in, looking lost I am sure, the associate could not have been kinder and more welcoming. She answered my questions and showed a genuine excitement that I was visiting for the first time. I sampled their 2007 Merlot and was blown away. I was also excited when I was introduced to Debra Marshall, the Operations Manager for the winery. Debra was very warm and welcoming too. She didn't seem to mind my lack of knowledge and was more then happy to take my card and entertain the idea of a return visit and tour. I brought home a bottle of that Merlot and can't wait to return soon.

I would love to know what everyone does with their weekends in the area? Does your family have a favourite local hang-out or activity? If you have experiences to share or ideas of places to visit - please email me at

Get out and enjoy local!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Mmmm...."The Mow"

My not-so-secret love for Brockville and our local businesses is on full display in this post. I enjoy writing about my family's experiences when we are out and about and the local talent that blows us away. No- I don't get paid by those businesses to promote them, I just really believe that when we have a great time in our own backyard, it's worth noting and promoting that local talent. Here is a recent experience we've had and I really think you should check it out!

The Barley Mow

Little City Charm was recently nominated for a CanWeblog Award, which seemed like a great reason to celebrate. There are many tasty places to eat in Brockville, but we wanted to try the new and highly talked about Barley Mow, a family-friendly pub . Nick and I had been there previously for a quick breakfast before but it is the delicious traditional food and excellent service - during the dinner hour - that set this restaurant apart.

We sauntered in at dinner, with two of our children in tow. In some cases, I am pretty sure I have seen servers "rock, paper and scissors" to see who gets the luxury of waiting on our family of toddlers. This time- we were greeted with a genuine smile and excitement to see our family. We were seated and almost every server came to coo over our children and take our drink order right away. We were given menus and what seemed like the perfect amount of time to decide on our dinner. I ordered the bacon wrapped meatloaf, Nick had the prime rib sandwich and my oldest had the mac and cheese with a side of fresh veggies. Our baby, is well, just that- so no steak for her just yet!

It didn't take long for our meal to arrive. It was fresh, hot and plated to perfection. I will admit that my father-in-law still makes the best meatloaf (c'mon, it's stuffed with ham and Swiss cheese!) but this one was a very close second. Nick raved about his sandwich and my daughter ate her entire meal. She is four, that NEVER happens.

I also have to mention the very best part of our experience was our server, Jenny. She was pleasant, fun with the kids and never missed a beat with our orders. We had a great conversation with Jenny and learned she wants to someday work with children. As a mom and daycare owner, this was great to hear as she really seemed to have a way with people.

Great atmosphere, food, prices and service -  The Barley Mow knocked it out of the park! We will be back soon. Maybe with my in-laws to have the meatloaf!