Saturday, June 21, 2014

COBOURG AND PORT HOPE, ONTARIO

We spent our last two days in the small lakeshore towns of Cobourg and Port Hope before heading to our uncle's in Toronto.

We could not find a place to stay the two nights in either place d/t graduations and weddings bringing in many guests from out-of-town. So we had to stay one night in each. Both Cobourg and Port Hope were settled by United Empire Loyalists and are delightful, present-day communities. They have some lovely old homes behind their main streets and large mature trees enhance the ambience.

Cobourg has a huge marina and a fair-sized beach. The marina is overlooked by modern condos with spectacular views, and the Coastguard has a search and rescue facility on the outer edge of the marina closer to the lake.

Victoria Hall (Wikipedia)
Victoria Hall is a vast building in the centre of Cobourg that now houses the town hall, art gallery, and a concert hall. It is grandiose for such a small town, but much touted. It was opened in 1860 by the future Edward VII. At the beginning of the 20th century, wealthy Americans built equally grandiose homes here, one of which resembles the White House and can be seen on the main road into town.

It's worth walking the downtown streets that are full of interesting small shops. The George Inn and the boardwalk to the west of the marina are also worth spending some time.

Photo: www.openbookontario.com

Port Hope, 
seven kilometres west of Cobourg, is a smaller town and most attractive. Originally a First Nations settlement, the loyalists arrived in the late 1700s. Wikipedia states, "... downtown is celebrated now as the best-preserved 19th century streetscape in Ontario," and so it is. Charming, well-kept, and filled with small stores and friendly caf├ęs, etc. It's lovely.

There are also some good restos here but, as we'd eaten a very late and superb lunch at Marka's in Cobourg, we didn't try one. Instead we had a snack in our room at a B&B that was also a British Tea Shoppe. Summerhill B&B was a most hospitable place to stay, albeit crammed with Victoriana and over-the-top decor, especially in the tea room. However, breakfast was the best the British proprietor could possibly provide. Bangers, eggs and bacon, baked beans, toast, and grilled tomatoes.

After consuming this and before we drove to Toronto, we nipped down to the waterfront. Running down the river in Port Hope is a lovely park and town hall. The little harbour was lined with early fisherman with their rods and small boats. We turned left at the river mouth and found a small beach. The lake was calm and I could see the small light at the end of the mole.

Highway 401 was 12 lanes into Toronto, which was mildly terrifying. Mrs. GPS got me through without a hitch and we were welcomed by Uncle Andy with an exquisite four course lunch. 

We are going to the National Ballet tomorrow - Romeo and Juliet. Culture at last!!   Bliss!


IMAGES: © Photos by Pharos 2014, except where noted. All rights reserved

Also my thanks to Tourism Ontario and Ontario Waterway Cruises for making my adventures possible. Much appreciated....