It was the perfect entrance to our rural adventure at Dwyer’s Farmhouse just outside of Renfrew. After a day of rain, the sun finally peeked out from behind the clouds just as we arrived at the farmhouse to begin our two-day farmstay experience. The old-fashioned white farmhouse was bathed in a beam of sunlight that sent a message I heard quite clearly as “Welcome.”
After unloading the car, I stood in the yard breathing in the sights, sounds, and rural scents –the dazzle of dust motes dancing in the sunlight, the faint sound of hens jostling for order in their henhouse, and the sweet scent of freshly mown grass. With each breath of fresh air, I could feel the stress and strain of daily life dissipate.
My husband and I were at Dwyer’s Farmhouse for a two-night getaway and I was glad to be there; after such a long winter I was looking forward to experiencing a slice of farm life (but without the early hours, mud, and chores).
The picture-perfect white farmhouse had so much old-fashioned charm it felt a little like were on a movie set. Large windows let in plenty of light and fresh air, and the wooden floors on the main floor gleamed in the sunlight. The kitchen was quaint, with its old-fashioned butcher block and large, family-sized table.
The house itself is situated on probably an acre or more of land surrounded by more than 100 acres of rolling fields, including a hay field on which cattle moseyed along, quietly grazing. Very accommodating of them to provide us with such a scenic backdrop!
We peeked inside the small chicken coop out back, and could guess that gathering the eggs the next morning was sure to be a fun way to start the day, and an inspiration for a delicious, homestyle breakfast.
Our hosts, Terry and Brenda Dwyer, were country friendliness personified, and Brenda popped by to welcome us in person minutes after we arrived. She was happy to give us the scoop on what to see and do during our visit, and to make arrangements for us to visit the farm the next day.
To be honest, we didn’t have a full schedule to work around – on the agenda was a visit to Renfrew to do some shopping and dinner out (no kids, no dishes) but that was pretty much it. We were looking forward to embracing our getaway as a wandering experience, and a chance to let the world direct us instead of the other way around. A rare luxury in a busy life.
Wandering in Renfrew
It must be true that fresh air builds an appetite, because we were happy to head off to Renfrew on our first night to explore the restaurant scene there, and do some shopping. For a small town, Renfrew was surprisingly full of life – so many cute little shops, and so little time! We were thrilled to discover a charming movie theatre right downtown, playing the newest releases.
I don’t know if it was the country air or the relaxation, but I was hungry enough to eat the proverbial horse. Being gluten free, eating out is always a challenge for me (Celiac disease doesn’t take vacation) so I was excited to stumble on Coco Jarry’s, a delightfully rare find.
Coco Jarry’s is obviously a local hotspot, specializing in steak and (surprisingly) authentic and delicious Greek cuisine – it turns out the owner himself is Greek and he’s a pro in the kitchen.
They say that spending time with animals is one of the best ways to unwind, and luckily there are animals aplenty to enjoy on the Dwyer’s farm. When we found a break in our busy schedule (haha), we made the short drive to Brenda and Terry’s home for the full farm experience, and were greeted enthusiastically by the Dwyer’s farm dog and a field full of lambs frolicking contentedly in the sunlight.
The farm looked like it had been plucked straight out of a picture book, complete with a towering wooden barn and inquisitive barnyard animals. The pinnacle of the experience had to be the climb up in the hay loft in search of soft and downy kittens to nuzzle. It was kitten bliss!
Once we’d had our baby animal fix, we took the Dwyer’s advice and explored the cute little town of Douglas, a few minutes away by car, or a 20-minute cycle from the Bonnechere Caves.
Cycling along the scenic country roads, we were passed more than once by horses and buggies, which is how we discovered there is a strong Mennonite presence in the area. The horses and buggies seemed to fit with the slower rural pace, a reminder that not everything needs to be completed at breakneck speed.
That night we dined on fresh, local fare gleaned from a Mennonite farmstand, and sat outside by the bonfire, watching twilight creep in. The silence was profound, and somehow more meaningful.
With little to no traffic going by, no children, and no pets, we were cocooned in a peaceful oasis. After spending some time as wanderers, we were ready to nurture our inner wanderer. In silence, we contemplated big (and little) life questions…like what can we make with fresh eggs the next morning?
The farmhouse is rented out exclusively to one group at a time, with a minimum stay of two nights and comfortably sleeps six. For information on booking and rates, please visit the Dwyer’s Farmhouse website.