History of the Building
Planning for the present day restaurant began in 2001, construction began in 2005 and in the spring of 2007 the building opened to the public. The style of construction is called 'Timber Frame' or 'Post and Beam'. Many people are familiar with timber frame structures through the great barns built by our early settlers.
It is an old technique that uses large timbers to create massive frames called 'bents'. These are then attached in series by smaller timbers to create the skeleton of the building. It takes great skill to make the joints that hold the frame together. Many of the larger timbers are locked together by hand whittled hardwood dowels. No nails are used. Some of the finest examples of timber frame architecture date back to medieval Europe.
Although it has been long replaced by more modern techniques, the art of timber frame is being revived, largely because of the spectacular interiors and sense of permanence that it creates. In Lanark County we are particularly fortunate to have the combination of forests, sawmills and skilled craftsmen that allows us to continue this tradition.
Special Hardwood Floors
The Sugar bush at McDonalds Corners was badly damaged by the ice storm of 1998. Some of the trees were uprooted by the weight of the ice, while mosts lost two thirds of their branches. The plastic tubing system for gathering sap, which had a total length of 50 km, was destroyed. It took a year to clear up the 40 hectare site and another year to replace the tubing.
We stockpiled some of the better quality logs from the clean-up and sawed them into lumber. It sat in our barn for seven years, until, by some good fortune, we had just the right amount to cover the floors of the restaurant.
The floor in the loft above the fireplace is white ash, the floor in the front loft above the foyer is beach, and the main dining room floor is maple which is dotted with old tap holes, some dating back to the early 1800's.
Although the bushes are still suffering from the effects of the ice-storm, we are happy to say that many trees are thriving and are slowly filling in the forest canopy with new branches.
The large central fireplace is named after Count Charles Rumfort who developed this classic looking design in the 1700s.
It is an open fireplace created for both heating one's house and for cooking. A variety of pots could be hung along a rail, suspended over the open fire. Thomas Jefferson was an early proponent of the Rumfort fireplace.It remains one of the most efficient fireplaces ever designed but, for us, one of the greatest pleasures is the sound of the crackling fire that fills the building.
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