Some very good friends of ours moved back home to the small port town of Goderich last year.  That sucked for us; we love Nick and Kate, and we got far too used to them being spitting distance from our place.

On the upside, they did buy a huge old house there, one well-equipped for their favourite activity: hosting.  Nick and Kate are consummate entertainers.  They love to cook, maintain an immaculate home, and are generous of spirit in every sense of the word.

They are also, I think, are Goderich’s top cheerleaders.   Both of them grew up there, and both of them longed to return one day to start their own family.  They talk endless about the town square, the bakery, the farmers’ market, and the beach.  They want everyone they know to live there with them.  It would seem like a cult were it not so idyllic.

Erin and I packed Abby up at 7:00 on Friday night.  The plan was that we would pop her in the car seat around her bedtime so that she would pass out on the way and be seamlessly transferred to the pack-and-play without so much as a whimper.  The plan was flawless.

In practice, however, babies don’t ever do what you want them to and will masochistically deny themselves sleep to spite you.  Abby, who normally falls asleep in her car seat in the middle of the day, refused to knock off on the two-and-a-half hour drive.  She would sleep for a few minutes at a time, then a piece of dust would whisper past the window too loudly and she would shake herself awake and scream bloody murder at us.  She was so pissed-off by the middle of the trip that she had created two new ways of showing her anger: angry raspberries and angry farts.  She interspersed her crying fits with both in such a way that it was all but impossible not to laugh at her.

We arrived in Goderich with a very tired, very grumpy baby.  But it was an arrival to a town that looked like it had been pulled out of story book.  The town square was strung with lights, the pubs and cafes were bustling, and kids played under the streetlights.   It was everything that Nick and Kate had promised.  It was wonderful.

Their house is almost a century-and-a-half old, and they have put an enormous amount of work into making it their dream house.  It is one of those of places that looks like it has been pulled from a magazine on home décor.  The ceilings are high enough for a game of volleyball, floors are museum quality, and the aesthetic is good enough to make anyone of those chumps on HGTV poop themselves in excitement.

The front door to Nick and Kate's. One of those magical places you drive by and long after.

Hardwood floors, orginal fixtures, and molding that reminds you that once, long ago, people cared about how their houses looked.

The kind of functional touches that make all the difference. Nick and Kate own a pair of single-speed beach cruisers that live in the parlour and blend seamlessly with the decor.

I really wish I had a wide-angle lens to take in all of the kitchen, but I kind of like the fact that this view from the front hall leaves you wanting to see more. If you look closely, you will see a pieces of paper hanging from the door in the background. This is an old set of instructions from when the previous owners rented out the place as a beach house. It is truly hilarious and just a little bit authoritarian in tone.


And what home would be complete without a longboard in the corner?

After putting Abby down into a real bed and letting her get some actual sleep, we sat down in the stunning new kitchen, cracked open a few beers, and batted around the idea of a late-night McDonald’s run.  How poor a decision that would prove to be…