Dani’s excellent birthday adventure in Wakefield

by DaniGirl on August 2, 2012 · 5 comments

in Away we go, It IS all about me, Ottawa Family Fun, Ottawa's hidden treasures

Yesterday was my (gasp!) 43rd birthday. I was going to write a post about wondering about how I got to be so old, but I don’t really feel that way. The number still freaks me out a bit — it’s a really far stretch from my 30s, where I seem to live in my heart — but I had a really terrific day with my menfolk and so I thought I’d ramble on a bit about that instead.

We had no real plan for the day except to do something when Beloved mentioned a road trip to Wakefield Quebec, somewhere we’ve idly chatted about going several times. There’s a bakery there that had been recommended to him (it’s one of Beloved’s ongoing laments that there’s no decent bakery in Manotick) and I’d wanted to visit the covered bridge for ages. Less than 20 minutes later, we were in the car.

Wakefield, if you don’t know it, is a tiny little community about 20 minutes north of Ottawa on the Quebec side of the Ottawa river. In fact, I called our day trip the three rivers tour, because we followed the Rideau north, crossed the Ottawa, and ended up on the shores of the Gatineau. If you’ve heard of Wakefield, it’s probably either for the Black Sheep Inn, a great spot for live music, or because of this gorgeous covered bridge.




The original bridge burned down in 1984, and the community came together to rebuild it. It was re-opened in 1997. There’s a set of steps down to the river from one side that leads to a set of flat (and as Lucas wetly discovered, very slippery) rocks where you can wade to cut the heat of a muggy summer day.


I’m taking an on-location portrait lighting workshop right now, and I had a homework assignment to complete. (On my birthday! Shameful!) One of my goals in taking this workshop was to master this type of shot, where you use your flash in a fairly bright daylight situation. I had a few very patient models, especially when they were able to take turns being my “voice activated lighting stands.”



This may be my favourite shot of a very photogenic day:


The covered bridge isn’t quite within comfortable walking distance of the heart of the village, especially when you’re wrangling a hungry herd and the skies are growing more threatening by the minute, so we hopped in the car and looped back into town for lunch. Maybe it was because I was hungry myself, but everything looked delicious and on a summer Wednesday at lunch time, we had our choice of places to eat. We settled on Kaffe 1870 because they seemed reasonably kid-friendly, and had a delicious and inexpensive lunch. The light in the front room was also delicious:


And then we just wandered for a bit, in and out of some interesting shops including the bakery and a candy store and the eclectic fun of Jamboree. It’s an incredibly picturesque little village.




The one thing I didn’t get a picture of (hard to do it while you’re driving through looping mountain roads at 90 km/h) is the fact that the trees are already starting to change colour in many places. Can you believe that? It must be the drought this year. I’ve been surprised to see shoots of red in the forest on Labour Day weekend, but I can’t think of a year when I’ve seen fall colour creeping in as early as my birthday. What a crazy year.

I can’t think of a better way to spend my birthday than exploring a beautiful new place with my favourite people, and I can’t believe we’ve never gotten around to visiting Wakefield before. It certainly won’t be long before we go back.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Batman August 2, 2012 at 9:04 am

Happy belated BD!!!

2 Carly August 2, 2012 at 11:00 am

Glad it was such a great day! I love Wakefield . . . two summers ago we went by steam train and had a lovely afternoon wandering around the village and surrounding areas before heading back on the train again. Bliss!

3 jennyandtim August 3, 2012 at 7:49 am

Glad you had a good birthday.

4 Karen August 23, 2012 at 7:08 am

I adore your pictures, Dani. I look hoping that I can absorb some talent so that when I finally have time to pick up my camera again, there will be better pictures coming out of it. šŸ˜‰

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