Meet Our Local Wanderers


Get to know: Brendan Troy

Man taking photo of lake

 Hello there! My name is Brendan and I’m a Carpenter working throughout Hastings County. I live north of Belleville and own three acres of heaven along a seasonal stream, acres of farmland and a massive stretch of old-growth   forest. Before moving to Hastings County I lived in Calgary, AB where I began my writing and photography career with the Calgary Herald, Alberta’s leading newspaper. I wrote about and photographed wildlife, nature and all things wild in Canada’s west. I am happy to write about Hastings County’s rugged beauty while I wander through its lesser known areas. I hope to bring you along and really paint a perfect picture of what Hastings County is all about. The   people are friendly, the   landscape is breathtaking and the wildlife is abundant! While I encounter new areas, I must say that my favourite place is definitely my own backyard. Over 100 bird species, many reptiles and amphibians   and a handful of mammals   have called it home at one point or another. Just this spring I had a gorgeous Black Bear saunter across the laneway. 

 Please follow along while I experience and photograph the best that Hastings County has to offer. You can follow me on Instagram @btroyphoto or Facebook ‘Brendan Troy Wildlife Photography’ or see my work       at Let’s go wander! 

Brendan's Stories

Feeling Lucky On Limerick Lake

A Reconnecting Ride Through Vanderwater

Father's Day Experience

Wondrous Waterways of Hastings County 

The Ontario Cottage: A Perfect Place To Be

Southern Ontario Ice Festival  - Icy Cliffs


Get to know: Britt and Jeff

Couple with baby standing on beach

 We are Britt and Jeff, a small town Canadian couple with entrepreneurial minds, hippie spirits and a passion for food, travel, music and people.

 Jeff runs a local plumbing business with his father and brothers. Brittany is a yoga teacher, currently running a series of “pay what you can” classes in the community. 

 When we’re not at work or play in Hastings County we like to wander other parts of the globe and blog about it here, at

 Writing about Hastings County means we get to continue our amateur travel writing endeavours but skip the plane ticket and heavy backpack. We’re excited to explore and write about the people, places and businesses that make our own       backyard  so great.


Britt and Jeff's Stories

What to Do Along Highway 62: A Hastings County Road Trip

The Stirling Water Buffalo Festival

The Hastings County Foodie Tour

A Snowy Sunday at O'Hara Mill 

Cowboys and Angels

Whitewater Paddling in Hastings County - MACKfest 2018!

Britt and Jeff's Day Trip on the Arts Route

Sweet Bro!


Get to know: Aysha Tayab-Ratsep

Selfie of woman

Hey! I'm a digital content creator, event planner, and independent public relations consultant. While carrying multiple interests and passions, travel and culture have been at the forefront of it all. I'm interested in learning about how people across   the world live and enjoy life. After living in Brazil for 6 months, I've caught the travel bug without any desire to cure it. Although I love the excitement of a big city, I've always seen value in rural communities.

Growing up in a rural community, I love to embark upon the hidden gems along the roads less travelled. I've travelled many paths but the winding paths within Hastings County, however, are those that I've yet to fully explore. My stories aim to   bring a fresh perspective that will mutually inspire locals to explore their own backyard while also encouraging tourists to discover all that Hastings County has to offer.

As I venture through Hastings County, I'll be connecting with the local community, indulging in the food scene, and searching for some of the best places to go stand up paddle boarding. You can read more of my stories on my blog Cheia de Vida,   and follow my adventures on TwitterFacebook and Instagram


Aysha's Stories

Adventures in Ormsby and Coe Hill: a trip down memory lane

Wandering on water in Maynooth

Couples Getaway in Hastings County

Finding The Warmth in Winter

Keeping the flame of love alive in Hastings County 

Preserving Heritage in Queensborough with the Master Pie Baking Class

An Inspired Gift for Mother's Day

Serenity Seeker Wandering Downtown Stirling

A Forager's Feast Through Hastings County 

Falling in Love with the Art of Bancroft 

                                                          A Peaceful Getaway at Grail Springs Retreat Centre for Wellbeing

Get to know: Linsey De Ruysscher


 My name is Linsey De Ruysscher and I’m very excited to have the opportunity to be one of the Local Wanderers for Hastings County!

 I’ve been a writer my entire professional life, and I currently run my own freelance writing company called ‘Little Miss Creative’. I spend my days writing commercials for radio stations across the country, and I’m also a regular contributor to   the Mabelhood Blog for Mabels Labels. I write articles about parenting, life, family and more. 

 When I’m not writing, I can usually be found hanging out with my husband and our two young boys. We spend our summers playing baseball, riding bikes by the bay, and checking out parks & splash pads. In the winter, we can usually be found at   the hockey rink most weekends. Yep, I’m a proud hockey Mom! I’m excited to write about Hastings County because I grew up here. I love the area and everything it has to offer, and now I get to experience it all with my boys. Our current favourite place in the area is Reid’s Dairy…for obvious reasons. I hope you enjoy reading about our family adventures in Hastings County!  

Linsey's Stories

Wandering the Caves and Family Fun at Centre Hastings Park

Heritage Day at O'Hara Mill Homestead and Amazing Graze Alpacas

Making Christmas Memories

Family Winter Fun 

For the Love of Maple

April Showers Bring...FUN!

Earth Day and Spring Activities in Hastings County

Family Rafting Adventure

Parent's Night Out at the Tweed Stampede

Family Fun at the Tweed Harvest Festival 

Harvest Time in Hastings County

Festival of Trees

The First Time Snowshoeing in Hastings County 

Family Day Itinerary in Hastings County 

Maple Season Has Begun in Hastings County 


 Get to know: Ardith Racey 

Selfie of woman

Hi! I am a retired English teacher who loves books, writing, kayaking, yoga, cooking, music, movies, art, and travelling. I also love just being home: my husband and I live in a 160 year old post-and-beam house on a hundred acres of property near Tweed, Ontario. 

Every night, through all kinds of weather, we walk our goldendoodle, Chief, through the fields and woods, or along the road.

Years ago, I co-authored a local history of Madoc Township, and since retiring I have published three pieces in The Globe & Mail and More of Our Canada. I love challenges and I love words, so writing about Hastings County - my ‘back yard’ seems a good fit.

My husband and I also are keen about gardening and wood. I recently started a small business called The North Fence which specializes in making wooden pens from hardwoods that grow locally. You can check out our handcrafted pens at, and you can check me out on my blog called ‘Ardith Writes’, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Ardith's Stories

Hastings County: The Place & Its History Inspire a Musical

Bancroft Rocks!

Queensborough: Where History and Community Collide


Get to know: Larry Tayler

Larry Tayler

Imagine – I’m a Hastings County Local Wanderer! What a grand challenge! My background: I’m a photographer, writer, and retired teacher, having moved to Belleville in 2014 with my husband, the quilt maker Bill Stearman. I am no stranger to Hastings County, however – I was born in Prince Edward County and have spent many hours wandering the backroads of both counties. I have been a wanderer all my life, from the days when my father and I used to walk our farm together. Wherever I am in the world, it feels like I’m still wandering with him.

My favourite part of Hastings County? Tough question! Hastings is so beautiful and diverse. However, my special happy place is roaming the abandoned railway tracks that have been wisely turned into recreation trails. Slices of heaven for wanderers recharging their souls.

I’m looking forward to roaming Hastings County in the coming months and to sharing my discoveries through photos and words. Feel free to check out my personal Facebook posts and my photography blog, “Making Eye Statements”on

And thank you to Hastings County for this opportunity. I intend to enjoy myself – and hope you will too in your explorations of Hastings County

Photo Credit: David Morris

                                                Larry's Stories

                                                          Tweed: The Village with a Heart...and an Appetite!

Artists on the Hastings County Arts Route

Walking the Trails...Ghosting the Rails

Rally of the Tall Pines in Bancroft 


Get to know: Michelle Caddey Maclean

selfie of two people

 Michelle Caddey Maclean is a seasoned professional writer, corporate communicator, website creator, and hobby photographer enjoying weekends at her cottage on Baptiste Lake, a large lake near Bancroft, Ontario. Michelle, her husband (Alasdair), and their two kids love to travel and have adventures in the Hastings Highlands, across Ontario, and around the world. When she’s not relaxing at the cottage or gallivanting around the globe, Michelle creates content and websites for professional services, government, healthcare, and technical organizations in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond under the name of Whisk Marketing Communications. Follow Michelle Caddey Maclean’s adventures on Baptiste Lake on Instagram at @bancroftbaptistelake .

Michelle's Stories

An Epic Family Weekend in Hastings Highlands: Fall Edition

An Epic Family Weekend in Hastings Highlands: Winter Edition