Monday morning dawned crisp and clear. Blue sky, warm sun, burnished leaves in golds and crimsons. Perfect autumn weather in rural Ontario.
I met J.P. and Darryl in the Brantford newsroom, and after we touched base on the progress of our stories, we decided to use the day for a road trip around Norfolk County. Darryl grew up in Waterford and to say he knows the area well is an understatement. “If I don’t know someone in Norfolk, my mother does,” he said. So he was the ideal guy to give J.P. (an Ottawa transplant) and I a tour of the place we’ll be calling home now.
We had a great time driving around the sprawling area proudly known as “Ontario’s Garden”, and I started getting really excited about moving here. I have to be honest – my very first impression of Simcoe a few weeks ago wasn’t the best. After accepting the job offer to help start a new newspaper in Simcoe that would cover Norfolk County, I drove there with my parents on a rainy, sullen Saturday to check it out. Note to others contemplating a move: never tour a potential new home for the first time in the rain. Maybe there are some cities whose romance and charm can withstand the rain – I’m thinking Paris perhaps, and London definitely because then you can walk wistfully around some charming garden in wellingtons (love that word) while twirling a Burberry umbrella and feeling very British.
But driving down Simcoe’s main street as raindrops trickled down my window made it all the more glaringly obvious to me that Simcoe was not, in fact, Paris or London. And you know, that’s okay. It’s got its own thing going on, and I’m excited to explore it. At the time though, I was feeling pretty miserable.
Monday was a different story. That was when I could really start seeing myself living here, calling this place home. We stopped at a couple different beaches in Long Point, Turkey Point and Port Dover, and I realized with a thrill that come summertime, I’ll be just a few kilometres from warm sand and cool blue water. As a former Huron County girl who basically grew up with sand between my toes and wave-whipped hair, the chance to be close to a beach again is something to revel in.
Darryl filled J.P. and I in on some of the issues, people, places and stories in the area as we hastily scribbled away in our notebooks, trying to soak everything in. It looks like there’s going to be a lot to write about here, and what’s more, it looks like Norfolk County will be a great place to live. The restaurants, cafes, and theatres Darryl pointed out, the awesome Rail Trail he showed us that looks perfect for running and biking, the farmer’s stands and markets dotted around the county, the stretches of beach and forest…I fell more and more in love as the day went on.
We’re getting ready for our inaugural issue that’s out in a week (!) so things are really starting to pick up for our three-person team of reporters. We’ve got a host of stories we’re chasing now, and on top of that we’re waiting to move into our newsroom, get our website and social media accounts up and running, and set up our new computers and cameras (Christmas is coming early…the three of us are getting new Mac books and SLR cameras). I’ve never helped build a newspaper from the ground up, so this is really exciting. I feel so lucky to be getting this experience, and I can’t wait for our first issue to hit the doorsteps around Norfolk County.