Thursday, 21 August 2014

Long Reach: My 10 Favourite Things

Long Reach:  My Ancestral Home

Ancestors 1920
      Long Reach is where I come from; this is where I grew up.  The roots of both my parents are deeply embedded in the soil of this community.  I spend a significant part of each year in my camp in Long Reach on the banks of the St. John River.  So I challenged myself to identify My 10 Favourite Things about Long Reach.  Here goes....

1.  The River
     The river is the undisputable focal point in Long Reach.  You can't ignore it and you can't deny its beauty and majesty.  A dictionary definition of the word reach is "the stretch of water visible between bends in a river or a channel".  Obviously this is where Long Reach got its name.  Our camp overlooks the widest part of the St. John River, which is said to be a mile and a quarter in width.  The river offers outstanding vistas and endless recreational possibilities, such as ....


2.  The Wharf
     Historically, the wharves on the river were stopping points for steamships that serviced the river communities providing transportation for people and for goods.  Farmers received supplies and shipped their agricultural products via the riverboats.  Incidentally, the 100th anniversary of the Steamship will be celebrated in 2015 in New Brunswick.  Currently, the wharves are used recreationally by boaters and swimmers.  The St. John River Society owns and maintains 17 wharves on the St. John River system.  In my youth, White's Bluff Wharf, the longest wharf on the river, was a most desirable destination for swimming after hot days in the hayfield.  There may have been the occasional party there after dark....
White's Bluff Wharf
(Photo: Jim Gorham)
3. The Churches
     Although I do not consider myself particularly religious, the churches in Long Reach are important to me as part of the landscape, the history and the sense of community.  Long Reach United Church is the church where I was baptized, married and will be buried.  My parents and scores of ancestors are laid to rest in this peaceful graveyard with its beautiful view of the mighty St. John River.   
Long Reach United Church
     One of my student summer jobs involved painting the floor and refinishing pews in this church.  I'm sure this hands-on activity strengthened my connection to the church.
Interior of Long Reach United Church
      My mother was a strong Anglican and I attended church with her on occasion.  Her home church was St. James which sits proudly on a grassy knoll surrounded by yet another serene graveyard. 
St. James Anglican Church
     A unique feature of this church, built in 1845, is the 3-tiered Queen Anne pulpit believed to be one of only two in North America.
Interior of St. James Anglican Church
     The oldest Anglican church in New Brunswick, built in 1789, is located in Kingston, just beyond Long Reach.   The organ in this church, built in England in 1785,  is the oldest working pipe organ in Canada.  This summer I attended a choral performance at Trinity church.  One choir member read his music from an Ipad while being accompanied by the oldest pipe organ in Canada.  Technology across the ages....
 Trinity Church, Kingston

 4.  The Store
     There has always been a store in Long Reach in my memory.  It has changed location once and owners a few times.  It has always been a gathering spot for members of the community, a hub of news and activity, so vital in a rural setting.  Currently the store is operated seasonally (May to November) and provides Wifi, the basics in groceries, and an impressive array of local foods and products. 
 Fullertons' Corner Market
5.  The Kingston Markets
     I am cheating a bit to include the markets as they are not technically in Long Reach, but close enough!  Kingston has two vibrant farmers' markets open on Saturday mornings from May to December.  You can get a bacon and eggs breakfast at both markets which are only about a half mile apart in distance.  Local vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, honey, baked goods, jams, flowers, clothing, crafts, art, food vendors, etc, etc are available at both locations.  A friendly and welcoming atmosphere awaits you as you make a trip to Kingston to spend your hard-earned dollar on local products!!

Kingston Farmers' Market
6.  The Carter House
     And while you are in Kingston, if you have not eaten too much at the markets, drop in to the Carter House for a refreshing cup of tea and a warm biscuit with jam.  Check out the gift shop for more local products and climb the stairs to see the historical artifacts.  You can visit The Carter House from Tuesday to Saturday during the summer months.  It is the greatest place for lunch; I try to make it at least once a week!
The Carter House
7.  The Road
     I'm not sure where this comes from exactly, my love of the road.  It could be metaphoric and deeply meaningful.  Especially in recent years, I love looking at how the road winds its way through the Long Reach landscape.  Perhaps it is the "long and winding road" or "the road not taken" or the "ribbon of highway."  I do realize that the road is not the best or the safest but there is something about it.  I took several pictures trying to capture that winding, ribbon nature but I'm afraid I failed in my photography. 
The Road: The Long and Winding
And then there is that non-metaphoric aspect of the road, The Long Reach Affliction, where you have to stop everything you are doing when you hear a vehicle on the road to look and see who is driving by.  I am certainly one of the afflicted, especially when I am in my garden in full view of the road. 
The Road:  What's That on The....

8.  The Clouds
     An artist friend of mine once said to me that the clouds in Long Reach are of a different quality than the clouds we have in Fredericton.  Ever since he said that, I have taken a more careful look at the clouds in an effort to appreciate their unique characteristics.  He is right, of course; we have great clouds in Long Reach.  Maybe it's the influence of the Bay of Fundy.  Joni Mitchell would say Rows and flows of angel hair , And ice cream castles in the air. And feather canyons everywhere, I've looked at clouds that way. 
I still can't describe the difference in Long Reach clouds but I keep looking.  Again, I'm afraid my photography cannot capture the essence of the clouds in Long Reach, but take note next time you're there.     
9.  The Wind
      When I was discussing this blog post with Tom, he told me one of his favourite things about Long Reach was the wind.  After careful consideration, I have to agree with him.  I always brag about the fact that I very seldom experience bugs of any kind in the Rhubarb Patch or the Little Red Hen Garden because the wind is always blowing atop that hill keeping the insects at bay while one mile down the road my sister has to wear mosquito netting when she goes out to protect her from the annoying pests. 
Have you ever taken a picture of the wind?  I am reminded of W.O. Mitchell's novel, Who Has Seen the Wind? 

Who Has Seen the Wind?
By Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)
Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by. 

 10.  The Camp, The Rhubarb Patch, The Little Red Hen Garden
     I know, I'm cheating.  That's 3 items.  And I didn't even mention the Transparent apple trees, the blackberries, the wild roses, the ditches.  I spend many joyful hours both alone and with others in....
the camp,

the Rhubarb Patch,

the Little Red Hen Garden.


 That's my Long Reach.....

Until Next Time.....