What a lovely time we had in Canada where we visited with our Canadian Family (my Dad’s second wife, Jo, and her family), shared a weekend with them at their lake cottage on Georgian Bay, and then spent two days at Niagara Falls. Following our eventful customs crossing (never bring more than two bottles of wine per person with you into Canada unless you want to pay duty on them), we spent Thursday night (9/8) in Cobourg, Ontario (about two hours East of Toronto) and then left Lizzie at Jo’s house and headed to Toronto for a family party. On Friday we headed north to Honey Harbor on the Georgian Bay, loaded our stuff into a boat and rode out to the Go Home community of cottages on the Eastern edge of Georgian Bay. (These really are cottages – some more elaborate than others, but all beautifully synchronized with the scenery) We were blessed with amazing weather, and stunning scenery and warm hospitality. The weather was so lovely they even got me swimming in the lake (and I’m quite chicken when it comes to cold water) and learning how to kayak. We took about a mile trip over to the little library that serves this cottage community and back again. No white water, mind you, but both Gary and I remained upright and dry for the trip! Now getting in and getting out is quite a challenge (and I’m very glad it isn’t on video tape!), but the kayaking was very fun. I hope we get to work on our skills later in our trip.
This is the view from the deck of the cottage we were staying at –
Well, Gary’s not always enjoying the morning sun when they look out – but as you can see it is quite beautiful. Check out our travel picture page for more pictures of this area. It truly was breathtaking. These cottage “communities” sprinkled around Georgian Bay and the many lakes north of Toronto are to Toronto-ites what a Jersey shore home is to Philadelphians (and suburbs.) This was indeed a memorable weekend!
We headed on to Niagara on Monday the 13th. That evening we did Niagara on the Lake (NOTL) – a quaint community on Lake Ontario north of the Falls. If we’d had the time we could have spent days touring wineries and small historic homes, but since we had Columbus (and the kids) in our sights, we had to pick and choose our destinations. Before we left NOTL, we headed to the lake shore where off in the distance we could actually see Toronto – can you pick it out is this picture? Maybe the world really is flat!?
We did visit Fort George which was involved in the War of 1812. It was an interesting place – and it was especially interesting to hear the story of the Battle of Niagara from the English point of view. The facts were the same, but the perspective was different.
From the Fort we headed off to THE Niagara Falls (of course!). We took some of our Tourist Allowance and did the Tried and True Maid of the Mist. Of course, if you have ever taken that boat ride, you know it should be called the Maid of the Rain. Another amazing experience – one we’re glad we invested in. To be that close to such thundering power – WHEEEWWWWW.
This is a picture of the boat on its way back to the dock. Pretend I’m one of those blue raincoat clad tourists down there – and trust me, I’m soaked!
More Niagara Pictures are over on the Travel Images page if you have the time!
All in all we had a wonderful time in Canada. And according to most of the Canadians we spoke to, we hit the best weather of the Summer! Every day was blue skies and sunshine ~ and much to our delight the crowds had all left on Labor Day!
Special time with Family and continued reminders of God’s awesome creation! Doesn’t get much better than this!
Just as aside (amongst all this travel talk) –
I think this must be a contender for the world’s largest NO SMOKING sign. – Do you think it impacts the folks on the shoreline?
And I really appreciate the signs that not only help identify an area, but go on to offer helpful suggestions…
Seen outside of Erie, PA –
CORRECTIONAL FACILITY AREA
And underneath it…
DO NOT PICK UP HITCHICKERS
…Thanks for the tip!
(OK, so while we’re already back from Canada in reality, I hated for you to miss any of the fun spots we hit on the way. So here’s a little flashback!).
We said good-bye to Elna & Henry in Bradford and headed north. After a quick (is that really possible) stop at the Costco in Burlington, we headed up through the Grand Isles of Lake Champaign on our way to Canada. Rte 2 through Lake Champaign is a very beautiful drive which I highly recommend. Guess I was too busy gawking to take pictures, but wanted to send the recommendation along! We were headed to the Thousand Island Bridge to Canada, and we made a stop at Alexandria Bay to see Boldt Castle. This is another of those famous “cottages” built during the Gilded Age (before income tax and the Depression).This castle was built by George Boldt, owner of both the Bellevue Stratford and Waldorf Astoria. He was building it for his wife who tragically died about four years into construction. After her death he halted all construction. Workers (so I am told) just laid down their tools and left. The property remained unfinished and open to the whims of nature (and those northern winters aren’t too whimsical) and local curiosity seekers. Fortunately, the castle was fully enclosed before construction was halted, but by the time it came into the hands of the Thousand Island Port Authority it had been ravaged by harsh winters, high waters, vandalism, fires and graffiti upon graffiti. Thirty years later, most of the out buildings have been restored and the Castle itself is safe to tour. While the first floor of the castle is mostly restored, the remaining floors (up to 6 in the turrets) are still covered with memories of curious tourists from generations ago(like “The Lewis family was here – 1947”).
This is the “out building” that housed the generators….
And building in the front was just used for entertaining. It even had a bowling alley –
And while you can’t really get a feel for the enormity of this building – this is the castle itself – taken from the boat as we approached to island –
Mr. Boldt never returned to this island after his beloved wife died. But now hundreds come every day. Go figure! It was a totally self guided tour – we took our time and even though the day was not very pretty, we were glad we stopped.
It’s been awhile since we’ve visited – but Gary & I have been enjoying a week at our cabin in Vermont. Along with plenty of naps and a reading a couple of good books, we’ve spent time with family (a fun Saturday with both brother Dewey & family and sister Elna & husband Henry and our son Josiah), done research on the best place to get an ice cream cone (the Mini-Mart in Bradford has a good selection of flavors and their baby size cone -one very big scoop in a waffle cone- is 89 cents. Yes, that is 89 cents!), had a lovely long weekend with good friends Joe & Janet Ikoniak (they were also at our Saturday picnic), and did some general chores both at the cabin and in and around our RV, Lizzie. Although I had wonderful internet access while at my sisters, the cabin is delightfully free of all inroads of modern necessities. Well, we do have electricity, but no running water in the cabin and certainly no cell phone reception. We’re pretty happy to get a couple of radio stations (but are not always sure we want to listen to them!). Throughout the week we hone our card playing skills and just generally unwind from the world around us. This year there wasn’t quite so much unwinding for us (being that we are in that unemployed by choice condition), but it was still a soul-refreshing week.
Today we head off to Canada for a visit with family in Ontario. There might be another quiet spell from us as I’m not sure about internet connection in Canada. I know my cell phone will be on roaming so I won’t be usin’ that! After the weekend in Canada, we head to Toby & Tammy’s in Columbus for a nice visit with them (and of course The Granddaughter!)
Check out the travel picture for some cabin memories and pictures.
Off we go – I think Gary has the engine running……
Well, here’s one cabin shot…I couldn’t resist
Have I told you about the Cabin? It’s a small one room cabin built my grandfather in the 1930’s. He was the town doctor up here in Bradford Vermont and needed a little get away that wasn’t too far from town. The Cabin, built on the foundation of an old farming settlement about 8 miles outside of town, is on about 100 acres on Wright’s Mountain (elevation 1800 ft+/-). Growing up I remember the cows that wandered through the fields on the way to their upper pasture (and watching out for the cow plops that dotted the grass), the two gas lights that were the only illumination other that candles, and the chemical toilet bucket that my father would ever so carefully carry through the cabin to be disposed of in some unknown (to me) location. The water was hand pumped from the well and the kids were the beasts of burden to get it to the Cabin. There’s a small pond where we would swim, catch salamanders and frogs and fish. Trust me, there’s nothing like a fresh caught trout for breakfast! Electricity came in the 1960’s along with the Destroilet ( a gas toilet – but that’s an entire other story!). A loft was added to accomodate the next generation (as in my kids and my siblings’ kids), and now we even have running water – well, it’s to the shed anyway! The Destroilet died several years ago, and we moved to the good old fashioned outhouse. It’s a two holer with all the ammenities ~ a magazine rack, pretty curtains and scented candles.
The Cabin is where I go to re-fuel emotionally and spiritually. The scenery has changed only in the addition of a few houses on the hillside and the growth of new trees. Maybe these pictures will help explain the special qualities of this family gem –
Here is my favorite view – with the cabin reflected in the pond (I know, I know, Lara – I take it every year…but there are little changes every year, honest!)
This is the view from back porch –
And this is the view from the back porch when we eat dinner…
We took a drive to one of the hills in the above “view from the back porch” to see if we could see the cabin. Well folks, if you look really hard you can see a tiny dot in the middle of this picture – and that my friends is the cabin. And that is also why we feel free to leave the outhouse door open to enjoy the view when we are doing our -ahem- business!
Here is a closer view of the cabin….
OK, so this isn’t the cabin – but it was a pretty neat picture of an old cemetary and church that we came upon in our travels that I thought I’d include it!
And here we are with our friends Joe & Janet who joined us for Labor Day weekend at the Cabin. (Honest, the triple chins are from the way I’m sitting, not from all that ice cream research!)