Finding Tett House, Part 3 – The Spirit of Adventure

It’s amazing how a holiday or change of scene can give you a new perspective. (This is probably why so many corporations are stingy about vacation time — too many of their employees would quit!)  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

In spite of all the serendipity discovering the place (see Part 1 and Part 2) I’d made up my mind that Tett House could never be mine. Someone else would buy it and wreck it with bastardized “improvements,” or someone wouldn’t buy it, and it would crumble further and forgotten into obscurity. Neither fate exactly filled me with joy.

One day in the summer months of 2016, I searched for the real estate link, and it was gone. I assumed the house had been sold. I felt sad, and realized that I had still been holding on to some far-fetched dream that owning it might become a reality someday. But now, it seemed the home was irrevocably in the hands of others, so the best I could hope for was that they would treat it well.

In the meantime, Trevor & I were approaching our 10th wedding anniversary in the fall. We had been hoping to return to Scotland where we got married.

This was our wedding day at Dalhousie Castle in October, 2006. Look how cute we were!

Also, here is a completely gratuitous picture of my husband in a kilt. Because hot.

And one of me in my wedding dress, because I loved this dress, and yes, those are feathers.

Moving on…

Sadly, changes in finances had dashed our hopes and Scotland was now out of the question. We decided instead to visit the most beautiful old-world city in our own country – Vieux-Québec.

Aside from the odd weekend over the years to mostly local destinations, we had not been on a trip together since our honeymoon. Trevor had not even taken more than a day or two off in a row in almost 5 years. The strain was starting to show, and we both looked forward to our trip with excitement.

Our time in Old Quebec was beautiful and romantic. We were at liberty and leisure to explore the city on foot. We made no set plans, preferring instead to wander aimlessly, taking photographs, and making discoveries. There was no schedule. We ate when we got hungry, paused when we needed a rest, and shopped when we found something wonderful.

We weren’t just exploring the area, we were immersing ourselves in new sights and sounds, food and drink, art and beauty. Our boutique hotel had excellent service and delightful breakfasts. Outdoors, the leaves were changing, but the sun was warm. Delicious scents wafted out of the open doors and windows of restaurants and bakeries, inspiring us to a perpetual state of snackery. The clop-clop of horses gave me thrills of enchantment that were only satisfied when we took a carriage ride, and then promptly extinguished by the overpowering smell of manure (the horses poop in a bag!)

Our favourite day was spent on Île d’Orléans, picnicking on the shores of the St. Lawrence.

We were surrounded by art and architecture and nature and French culture, and we loved every second of it.

We let our imaginations and our senses run wild.

We didn’t fully realize it at the time, but by indulging our sense of adventure, our lives had crossed a new threshold. Once you rediscover your wings, you don’t fly back into the cage and allow somebody to clip them. We returned to our “regular” life and everything looked different. We realized how much we had been missing in the routine of our daily lives, how much we had turned away from what inspired us, in order to tackle the tedium of ever-increasing responsibilities and obligation.

Suddenly, we no longer felt compelled to maintain situations or relationships that had become imbalanced, burdensome, and stressful. Everything had changed. We didn’t know exactly what our next step was, but we were on the watch for it.

And then Tett House came back on the market.

(Read Part 4)


16 Replies to “Finding Tett House, Part 3 – The Spirit of Adventure”

  1. What a lovely story. When we got married (1979) we had a converted bus to travel in for our honeymoon. We traveled to old Quebec city and then we camped on IleD;Orleans. The campground was not open but we took a hairdryer around until we found hydro, a guy came along in the morning and asked for $5.00. Then we traveled down the Eastern seaboard to Mystic ,Conn. We had a lovely time and that was 1979. I was raised in Westport,ON. When I was young my idea of fun was to go to Ruby’s store for ice cream and watch Bedford mills. so i am familiar with Tett House loved it so I;m glad you are restoring it. Barb

  2. This kind of reminds me of how we came to our house. I had watched MLS for several years, pining over the odd house and watching them get snatched up, but was never truly saddened or suprised when they sold. And then there was our house. I first noticed it along my drive to work. Then it caught my eye (mainly for the acreage and close proximity to both my workplace and his family). Then one day it wasn’t online anymore. I would do the same with updates to Jayson and I let him know that it was gone. He happened to be with a friend who is a realtor and thought he’d just inquire as to who bought this “as is” house; only to find out that it was in fact still on the market! We went a couple of times and roamed the property. We fell in love with the property and the enchanting trails through the woods, albeit grown over. We finally made an appointment to view the house. The house had been abandoned for quite some time and clearly had sustained water damage through out. The entire basement is still unusable as the drywall had been cut off half way down the wall in every room. We are slowly making our way through renovations. One piece at a time 🙂

    Your writing and love for your house also reminds me of my boss and purchasing The Opinicon. You can feel the love and devotion through your words, which captivates any audience with a reminiscent essence. Love it!

    1. Thanks so much, Brittany! It’s such a crazy, wonderful feeling when you *know* a house is yours, even before you really own it. I still cannot explain my attachment to this house! Good luck with your own renovation journey. It’s a long process. Would love to see your place some day!

  3. Hi Dana
    Great memories! I like that you loved wandering around Ile d’orleans. Did you know that some of Trevor’s ancestors were the original and near original settlers of that island in the 1600’s?

  4. I look forward to your next post. Westport and the surrounding area is one of our favorite places.

    Our love of this area is what has made us take our crazy leap of faith. After 17 years of vacationing on Devil Lake with our friend in her family cottage (the mill is one of my favorite places to photograph) we decided to start looking for our own cottage on a lake.

    Canada was not in our budget with us being from the US so we found what we refer to as our Canada in northern Michigan.

    I hope you keep posting. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the house and hopefully the work you do on the property. If you would like to check out my blog which is not as well written as yours please feel free to drop in.

  5. My husband and I only moved to Westport 5 years ago and I remember driving by on County Rd 10 on the way to Kingston one day and noticing the yellow house on the hill. I was very curious about it, looked it up on MLS and felt a little house-envy…but I’m so glad you guys bought it and will restore it to its former glory!

    Our house in Westport is a heritage house (circa 1877) but it doesn’t have nearly as much period detail as the Tett house. We still love it though.

    By the way, the feathers on your wedding dress are FABULOUS!

    I’m currently lusting after this house in Chantry:

    1. I love that so many people in Westport know Tett House. It seems to be a favourite in the area. ❤️ RE: the listing you shared… I’ve seen it before. Such a gorgeous house! But I do wish the realtor had taken the time to sweep up all the dead flies before taking those photos! Not exactly a great selling feature. Yuck!

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