If you counted my family on your fingers we would be small in number, but if you pressed your ear to the door, you would never know it. Whether this is due to the sheer volume we achieve during scrabble matches and golf cart chases, or just a side-effect from sharing a two bedroom farmhouse on summer weekends, I’m not sure. What I am sure of, is that I love it.
This North Bay farmhouse that we all flock to each holiday weekend has been in the family since the 1920s (and the orchard land it sits on for years before that). As a kid it was my getaway – a place for daydreaming, climbing trees, and creating adventure out of nothing. Now it is a place to stop time – right in the midst of the busyness of summer – and just be with family.
One of the best traditions is our Fourth of July hayride. My grandpa hitches a bright red trailer to the back of the tractor, we fill it with straw bales and blankets, and everyone climbs aboard (drinks and dogs in hand). We take the tractor down past the little old cottages on North Bay Road, down to Cana Island, or around to Mud Lake. Grandpa waves at the locals he knows and the confused tourists who pass us by. Grandma tells us stories of who lived where when she was growing up, stories of what it all used to look like, stories of picking cherries and finding a dollar on the road that made her feel rich for weeks. Â Sometimes we listen to music and sometimes we sing, and always we are snapping pictures trying to find a way to hold on to the feeling of being together on a summer afternoon in the place we love best: Up North.