My latest discovery in Hastings County

"The Village Store," Halloway Heights

A beautifully restored historic home that apparently – at least, according to the vintage sign – was once a place of commerce in the hamlet of Halloway Heights. Gorgeous!

Raymond and I both love exploring back roads wherever we happen to be. France is particularly nice on that front, but there’s nothing at all shabby about good old Hastings County when it comes to interesting things one can find on the back roads. To name just a very few: cool vintage stores, places with odd names (Lost Channel, anyone?), split-rail fences from pioneer times, and the world’s best doughnuts.

Then there’s the occasional place that kind of knocks your socks off. And that’s what the tiny hamlet called Halloway Heights – or maybe it’s just Halloway, I’m not sure; both names appear on road signs – did to me.

I discovered it one early-spring day this year, when I opted for a detour from a detour (if you follow me) from my usual route home to Queensborough from work in Belleville. A back-road detour that I’ve tried before, not far north of Belleville, is Baptist Church Road, where I once discovered historic Sidney Baptist Church and its amazingly tall spire. (I wrote about that here.) Well, on the day in question I followed an impulse and veered east off Baptist Church Road to rejoin northbound Highway 62 via Halloway Road. And what did I find on Halloway Road but a cluster of lovely historic buildings, not to mention a garden that was quite breathtaking! (Also a large quantity of blackflies when I got out of the car to take some photos.)

The most impressive of the buildings, a large, beautifully restored red brick home, has an old sign outside it that says “The Village Store.” From which I can only conjecture that the building was once a commercial one, rather than residential. As far as I can tell there’s no store anymore in Halloway Heights (and more’s the pity, because as we all know, places of commerce enhance small hamlets), but it’s cool that the old sign is still there.

The property where the onetime store stands is also the site of an amazing garden that I slow down and admire every time I go through. (I take that route fairly often now that I’ve discovered it.) Here’s a photo from that same early-spring day, when the tulips were at their best:

Garden, Halloway Heights

Meanwhile, across the road is this remarkable old house (there’s a date in the stonework: 1855):

Stone house, Halloway Heights

Quite the place, n’est-ce pas? (Just in the past few days a real-estate sign has gone up in front of that house.)

There are other heritage buildings, and a collection of attractive newer ones, in Halloway Heights as well. I must make it my mission to learn a bit more about the history of this tiny charming place. (If any readers have any knowledge to share, please do.) What a sweet little treasure. And just off the beaten path!

12 thoughts on “My latest discovery in Hastings County

  1. Isn’t this a delightful spot Katherine? Wise you were to make that detour. Funny, I’ve been working on a post about this village for the past week (always sidelined because of A-frame duties). We toured the hamlet (I suppose that’s the more correct term) on the Hastings County Historical Society ghost town bus tour on May 24 and had a lovely visit with the owner of the house. The owner grew up in the stone house beside the store. Their story was written up in my old (deceased) favourite magazine Century Home in the 1980’s. I believe the stone house was built from the ruins of the mill (and likely incorporated the date stone). More when I get back to ‘ancestralroofs’.

  2. I thought when you mentioned it last night that I was familiar with it, but now realize I have a new place to explore.

  3. We did the tour today! Hope you realize that that “detour” was part of the Madoc-Belleville Road before it became Hwy 62. Drive through Foxboro and stay on the main street road until you are forced to return to 62 just south of Holloway Heights, go through Holloway and, then bear right through” the pines”just north of there until you have to come back to 62. The cross the bridge and go onto Boar Launch Road and you will have some idea of the long trail from Belleville to Madoc. No wonder it was an adventure for north-of -seven denizens to go to Belleville in the early 50s, a trip we made about once per year!

    • That is really interesting, and thought-provoking, gng. Of course along that stretch of 62 there is also the Old Madoc Road, which I have discovered is just a fairly short loop, but I assume that it too was part of that long (at the time) route between Madoc and the “big city” back not all that many years ago, before the wide, smooth highway was built? My goodness, doesn’t it seem strange to think how much that trip has changed just in our own lifetimes?

  4. I have lived on Halloway Heights for about 18 years. It is indeed one of the most beautiful spots in Ontario. The many hills (called drumlins, I believe) were carved out by receding glaciers thousands of years ago and are spectacular, especially in the fall. I love to walk from one end of Halloway Heights to the other, sometimes snapping pictures, and those hills help to keep me fit.
    The Grand Junction Railroad ran through this area, crossing Halloway Road a short distance from Halloway Heights. It is now a hiking trail. Is there any way to post photos on your page?

    Peter

    • Hello, Peter, and welcome to Meanwhile, at the Manse! So nice to hear from someone who lives in beautiful Halloway Heights. I drove through the hamlet again just today, and once again was struck by how lovely it is. (And the tulips and daffodils planted in that garden that I wrote about are blooming way ahead of the ones I planted up here in Queensborough.) I don’t think there is a way to post photos directly through comments, but I’d love to see them and if you send them to me at sedgwick.katherine@gmail.com, I do believe I’ll have another post or two about Halloway Heights (photos by Peter) on my hands!

  5. I used to visit here often as a child. The house pictured above, next to the mill ruins, is relatively new, I believe. I would stay on that property… it was a farmhouse then (1970’s). Perhaps the 1855 came from the mill? The mill was still standing, barely, when I used to visit. We were forbidden from going near it… too dangerous. I used to have nightmares about it. Always thought it was haunted. Next to the mill then was a lovely farmhouse style home renovated by the Lajunen family. There was a tire swing hanging from a great big tree out front. Just a short ways up the road… if memory serves, lived the Emersons. I brought home a kitten from their farm once… without permission from my parents. Oops.
    I can remember being inside the old store too… but for the life of me can’t remember if it was operating as a store… i think it may have been.
    I was so pleased to find this write up as I was looking up Holloway. Thanks!

    • Hi Lisa – I in turn am so pleased that you came upon my post about this very pretty little corner of southern Hastings County. And what delightful memories you shared! My No. 1 question: did your parents let you keep that kitten? I sure hope so. In re-reading my post from more than two years ago, and looking again at the pictures, I see you are absolutely right: that impressive and sprawling stone house is not from the 19th century. I bet you’re also right that the 1855 stone came from the mill. By the way, the house (which, though not old, is very attractive) has now been sold, so another person or family gets to enjoy living in this lovely little hamlet!

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