I first met Alison Kelly when I was her don at Ryerson University. She filled a room to the brim with her energy. She made people laugh, brought up their spirits, drove us crazy (in a good way Alison I swear!) and was super sweet. Fast forward 16 years (yikes!) and she's a wife, proud mama of two, and most recently, a bed and breakfast owner in Prince Edward County.
I wanted to interview Alison because she's made a few on-the-fly decisions in her life that have changed her perspective in more ways than one. She went with her gut and took some risks and I admire that. Read more about Alison below. All photos care of Alison Kelly
Tell me about Alison Kelly. What do you love to do, hate to do, wish you could do?
Alison Kelly, the lady with two first names. The lady who jokes how she took her husband's last name knowing her brother has now won the ultimate sibling war (my brother's name is Kelly). Let's see, I love ice cream and singing along very loudly to More Than Words the rare times I hear it being played. I love Kill Bill vol. 1 and get overly-excited when Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood kicks in during The Bride and O-Ren Ishii sword fight. Olives are my nemesis, I am not a fan of the band Rush and I hate my dry feet. My ultimate wish is to discover my passion.
You recently moved to Prince Edward County from Toronto and bought a house you’ve turned into a bed and breakfast – tell me about it. What motivated you to make this move?
We decided to move to Prince Edward County on a whim. After visiting family in their remote home, I told my husband that I too wished to move away from the big city and be neighbourless in 5-10 years. A week later I was perusing mls after someone mentioned Cherry Valley and saw this house.
After passing through many obstacles that should have prevented us from picking up and leaving Toronto, we found ourselves selling our house and buying the one we are in now within 12 hours.
Once we got settled into our new home and made the decision that our baby-to-be would be rooming with our son in the warmest/coolest room in the house, we started talking about how we didn't make use of one side of the house. And just like that, we decided to open our house to country visitors.
What do you love most about your new surroundings? What do you miss about city life?
The sense of relief. Everything moves at a slower pace here and time really does seem to stand still.
You know that feeling when you arrive at your vacation destination and you can finally sigh? That's what it's like living here. Open roads, farmers markets, secret beaches, historic buildings, neighbours growing wine grapes, the fresh air. After a visit to a farmers market, my husband said to me "You fit in here. You belong in the County".
Some downsides to County living is the lack of delivery food (ethnic food in general), lack of ethnic diversity, and of course missing our family and friends in Toronto. Being a seasonal community, stores close on sundays and mondays (some are only open three days a week) and we're still trying to get use to this. My husband Jeremy misses the city more than me mostly for the music scene. We also miss TekSavvy very much.
What have you learned since moving?
The biggest thing is that I'm actually a pretty decent breakfast cook. Did you know cooking on high does not equal a quicker/quality meal? Ha!! It's also very expensive to heat a 3,600-square-foot house with oil. Sweet bananas!! We're still learning about rural living in a 150-year-old home and will likely need 30+ years to figure it out. By that time, the kids will be long gone and it will be time to downsize to a quaint waterfront oasis.
My beer of the summer is Sacred Mule Sparkling Ale by Barley Days Brewery, and my daily fix is coffee. I really love coffee. I recommend you try the local roasted beans from The Bean Counter in Picton. Fabulously delicious.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would go back to Iceland without an agenda and spend two weeks discovering and soaking in the viking magic. I blame Iceland for our spontaneous move to Prince Edward County.
Thank you Stephanie for reaching out to me with an interest in our spontaneous life change. I encourage more people to jump the big city ship and come visit the County. I promise, you will leave your heart here.
Thank you Alison! We will definitely stop by the next time we're in the area! If you want to learn more about Alison and her bed and breakfast you can follow her here:
Bed and Breakfast: cherryvalleystudio.ca / www.facebook.com/CherryValleyStudioBB
Read past interviews here.