Monday, 20 January 2014

Cobourg in January

Christmas was great, and we love our kids, but sometimes its nice for parents to just escape and go hide. Which is what SWMBO and I did this past weekend. For our escape we drove about an hour to Cobourg (you may remember Cobourg from this post). Cobourg is great because while its close, it is also a lot more relaxed than the city.

We booked into The Inn by the Mill a B&B run by Toni and Shelly, which offers a fantastic suite. The suite includes a living room with a stone fireplace, private deck, big screen TV, microwave, and bar fridge. The bedroom had a nice canopy bed (sans canopy) a pullout couch, cedar lined ensuite bath, and windows on 3 walls. Beautiful bright and sunny! Attached to the suite was a private indoor pool, heated nicely for a January swim.

Sitting Room

Private Pool!
The wonderful thing about Cobourg is that there is always something going on there. This weekend there was a women's hockey tournament, which apparently had every hotel and restaurant hopping!

For dinner we went to Marca's Restaurant which was divine! (Thanks to our B&B hosts for a great recommendation!) Hand made crab cakes, veal stuffed with rosemary and pine nuts, and hand made lasagna were devoured. We returned to our B&B with bloated bellies and feeling divine. Fine dining sans kids is a treat in itself! After a quick swim, we stumbled back upstairs, and to bed for the night.

Cobourg was one of the jewels Canada came out of the War of 1812 with. Of course it was ours before the war with the States, but when the United Empire Loyalist were forced out of the land of the free after the American Revolution, they formed the town and it prospered as an early port in Upper Canada. In the 1850's the British influence continued to be felt in its Victorian architecture and a flourish of building in the city centre resulted in beautiful homes and commercial buildings, most of which have been restored or maintained well.

Shop windows

The Firehall Theatre

Main Street
Sadly, the boom of the 1850's lead to a bust in the 1860's and the excesses of the previous decade lead the town to bankruptcy. The railroad and port would lift the town again in the early 1900's and today it is on the brink of prosperity with exquisite restorations and crumbling old homes.

Today, Cobourg is attempting to maintain its architectural jewels while hosting a variety of festivals and events to attract visitors interested in its artists and nearby wineries. For folks like us, interested in getting away from mainstream, and enjoying handmade and local stuff, it is a great fit.

We wandered along the main street enjoying coffee shops and relishing the question "what are you looking for" with the best answer of all - "Nothing in particular." We had a great day. SWMBO found British sweets in two shops, and weighed one against the other before making the excruciating decision to get chocolate. I found a used tool store and picked up supplies for our summer roofing project.

Bar on the left, fine furniture on the right

View down the main drag

The crown jewel in Cobourg's architectural collection is the city hall. It took four years to build, and is a display of the prosperity of the time:

Victoria hall - Commemorative plaque

The hall features intricate stone carvings, a clock tower and weather vane with a lookout, and an imposing terrace. You can see it from blocks away, and as you get close, the details are as fantastic as the outline you first spotted. Today it is being closed in by condominiums, but i wonder how that tower would have looked to mariners approaching from Lake Ontario years ago.

Victoria Hall
Stone carvings and copper downspouts

An imposing facade from street level

A balcony fit for Royal Decrees

Victoria Hall window detail

After we exhausted ourselves with such decisions as whether to walk on the sunny or shady side of the street, we returned to the B&B to find the room all made up and the pool waiting for us. We lounged, watched TV, and snacked on chipnuts we had picked up at the Picards outlet in town. Picards is like kryptonite. You will eat the entire bag.

Picards - your samples are such sweet evil!
Once our peanuts were gone, we headed to our traditional Cobourg dinner at the old jail. I have a Swiss Cheese & mushroom burger and SWMBO had wings. For dessert she had a choco-tini and I had beer. We watched the first period of the Habs-Leafs game, then headed back to the B&B to settle in for the night.

On Sunday we slept until 10:00 (Decadence!) and then woke up to breakfast waiting for us. we packed our things, bid farewell to our hosts, and headed back home. Chuck and the boys were waiting for us when we got there just after lunch. Everything at home was fine, even tidied up a bunch. A great escape weekend for sure!


  1. Ah, a weekend with no kids--lovely! We had just managed to have one of those a couple of years ago when I had to have another baby and reset the clock. Alas. Anyway, looks like a great trip!

    1. It was really nice! Made possible by a free babysitting gift from our oldest. Really a refreshing weekend!


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