Posts categorized "Travels"

Epic Roadtrip Day Eight: An Extra Day

I'm a planner, an order muppet, a "I need a schedule" person. One of my goals (see that order required thing) for this trip was to let go a bit. Under plan, and let the mood take us.

I'm doing pretty well. I'm writing this from Halifax and I didn't imagine the trip taking us to Nova Scotia.

The downside of not planning is missing stuff. Turns out that Anne of Green Gables, The Musical doesn't play every night. Only Monday to Wednesday. We were supposed to leave Monday, but decided to stay the extra night to see the play. We snagged a hotel in Charlottetown, checked out of the one in Summerside (Clarke's Sunny Isle Motel, which was just right) and took a leisurely drive along the south shore.

We stopped in Victoria By the Sea. It was a bit touristy, but very pretty. And it had this:

I bought a braid of locally produced BFL, dyed by a local artisan and had a nice chat with the son of the potter and fibre artist who made the lovely things in the shop.

We sampled some chocolate made right in front of us.

And we had lunch right beside a lighthouse.

There was a little exhibit inside and it had interesting photos of the local history. I really liked the spinning bee:

We also got to climb up to the top. It's not big for three.

Then there was more driving along windy coastal roads. I really loved driving on PEI and I'm not a huge fan of being the driver.

We found a lighthouse right near Charlottetown. A very pretty spot.

With an impressive coast

After a quick swim at our hotel and dinner we went to see Anne, the Musical.

It was charming. Not perfect, but as a lover of Anne of Green Gables, it was a great way to end our time on PEI. Now I want to read the books again.

Then it was time to sleep. We had to break the holiday sleep schedule and get up early; we had a ferry to catch in the morning.

 


Epic Roadtrip Day Five: Charlottetown

The weather forecast called for rain and cooler temperatures, so we decided to do some indoor touristy stuff. Charlottetown seemed to be the place to go.

First stop was Cow's Creamery for some silly t-shirts and to see how they make their ice cream. Turns out they make their tees on site (they're the largest t-shirt press east of Montreal) and also make cheese and butter as well as ice cream.

There were some good shirts including Fifty Shades of Hay and this one:

The kids picked Moocraft and Dr. Moo. I should have got the Milking Dead (Grains, Grains!).

After an amazing ice cream in a waffle cone (I had Messie Bessie), we were off for some adult confections at the Prince Edward Island Brewing Company.

We did a tour of the brewery and then it was time for some sampling.

They make some fine beers. The Gahan Blueberry was really good.

Then we explored the old part of Charlottetown and did a quick tour of the provincial legislature (3rd one in 4 days).

The room where they meet is tiny!

After a chat with Sir John A, it was time to go back to Summerside.

 

 

 


Epic Roadtrip Day Four: The Ocean!

We decided not to hang around in Fredericton and instead just get ourselves to PEI today. The drive from there to Moncton was uneventful. There is really nothing along that highway--which is clear when the only road signs said Moncton and not a bunch of charming sounding little villages like we saw on the route so far.

After grabbing a much needed coffee in Moncton (this may sound unCanadian, but I don't really like Tim Hortons, I miss good coffee) we went up or rather down, or I don't know...to Magnetic Hill.

It was a head scratcher. We spent a few minutes watching the other cars trying to understand the illusion/science/magic.

Then it was more driving, with tempting signs telling us we were close to the Confederation bridge.

We made it to the ocean!

Feet in the Atlantic!

We took some time to explore the beach, skip some stones and take a bunch of pictures before the drive over the bridge (no photos of that because I was driving).

We drove to Summerside, checked in to the motel and went out to grab dinner. That lobster roll was yummy.

Then we explored a bit in town and at the shore; our motel is a short walk to a beach. It feels good to know we'll be at one place for a few days.

 


Epic Roadtrip Day Three: More Driving

Canada is big. Really big. I knew this because I took geography and our status as the world's second largest country in terms of land mass was always mentioned. But one doesn't really appreciate it until you drive and drive and drive and you're not in PEI yet.

We sadly said farewell to Quebec City Wednesday morning after a yummy breakfast of bowls of cafe au lait (the kids had chocolat chaud) and delicious pastries.

Then it was back in the car and back on highway 20 heading east. We had a room waiting for us in Fredericton. The drive was quite nice. The landscape along the St. Lawrence is interesting. Then it got really pretty as we headed south toward the Quebec/New Brunswick border.

This is the last stop before the border. We took a last look at Quebec.

It was pretty. Also reminded me a bit of Northern Ontario.

 

Then more driving. I did like that posted 110km speed limit. We made to Fredericton just after dinner. We had a swim in the pool and headed out for an evening snack and to get a look at the place.

It's tiny. And there wasn't much happening at 9:30pm on a Wednesday.

So we had a pint and some munches at the Snooty Fox, took a look at the legislature building (two capitals in two days!) and turned in early.

The plan: haul ass to PEI on Thursday.

 


Epic Roadtrip Day One

(Updated with extra photos Wednesday August 21)

Yesterday we embarked on our EPIC family roadtrip to PEI. We managed to get on the road by a little after 8am (which is an achievement when travelling with teenagers) and had an uneventful drive along the 401 and into the province of Quebec.

Then we hit Montreal. Or rather Montreal traffic hit us.

I will never complain about Toronto traffic again.

We had a few crossed signals and ended up going the wrong way. Getting turned right took us an extra 2 hours due to freakishly heavy traffic and road closures. Once we were over the St. Lawrence it was smooth sailing.

There was even some retro gas stations and hotels (this one even sold furs).

We arrived at our lovely hotel at about 7pm. I was super tired but ready to look around Old Quebec. The Hotel Manoir Victoria is lovely and right in the old city.

We were just about to wander out when we ran into my uncle Ken who is staying at the same hotel guiding a package tour (I thought he was traveling last week, so this was a surprise). He had the night off and played tour guide for us, taking us to his favourite patio dinner spot looking at the Chateau Frontenac.

It was yummy (I had the pork chip encrusted with goat cheese and maple syrup).

We then wandered through the lower city until we were dead tired. I don't really remember falling asleep. It was great.

Emma took a ton of photos with her DSLR (a few are now integrated into this post). I just haven't had time to choose a few to upload. They will come in another post soon. Really, I'm too tired to even think about it.

 


Where did I go?

Yikes!  It's been more than a month since I've posted anything.  I certainly haven't been hiding from social media, but it does steal the blog ideas far too often.  

I like the more reflective writing that comes with blogging, but need to make and take the time to do that writing.  

So here's a fast recap of the last month.

School ended.  Emma graduated grade 8 and is going to high school.  

Ya, I know, she looks rather grown up.  I love this picture.  I took it on the subway platform on our way to the graduation ceremony (that's Craig, not some random stranger).

Emma grad
This is a more grade 8 shot with her best friends:

Grade 8 Graduation

 Then to celebrate, we went crazy and drove NORTH to visit my family in Moonbeam (yes, Moonbeam).  

And yes, they have a space ship

Moonbeam!  Almost there.

My cousins have a beautiful place on Remi Lake and we enjoyed the long days and dark starry nights (the sun didn't set until 10:30!)

Another great day. Sunset at 9:30. Amazing.

Sadly, we could only stay for 2 days so we took a day to drive up (11 hours) and a day to drive back (10 hours)--1750kms round trip for 2 days of fun.  It was totally worth it.  I spent a lot of summer vacations on that lake and hadn't been back for 25 years.  Now I want to go for another, longer visit.

Now we're into the lazy days of summer.  Well the kids are.  They're off doing summer stuff--at their grandparents' houses, at camps, at home.  And Craig and I are at work (sadface).

I'm using the childfree time to catch up on some knitting (when it's not too hot).

I finished a shawl on our roadtrip:

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Lunatic Fringe from Knitty.  The yarn is a no-name merino felted single that my pal Keri brought me from New Zealand.  It was dyed up by the amazing Kim in the colourway: Just Say Oregano.  It was an amazing yarn to knit with and a really fun pattern.

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I'm also plugging away at my Honeybee cardigan in Tosh Merino Light

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And something a bit crazy.  Apostrophe by Rosemary Hill in Indigodragonfly Merino Silk Sock (yum).  I love the design, but the knitting is a bit fiddly.  In the current heat wave it's a good project because it only touches my fingers.

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It's been nice to hang out over here in my blog.  I've been absent because life is good.  And I'll try to come back and say more about that this summer.


ATV Adventure

File under: stuff I a) didn't expect to do and b) didn't expect to like.

Yesterday I drove a big ATV four wheeler 75km on the roads and trails around Tweed.

We are visiting the cottage and my father in law thought it would be fun for us to join a group doing an organized drive (ride?). We all met at Trudeau Park at 10am and went in two groups on a pre-set course with some pretty fun, bumpy, muddy off road trails. There were about 35 vehicles, many with passengers and it was far more fun than I expected.

I am not generally of the motorized "sports" persuasion and as I drove the trails I did think they would be fun to run or mountain bike, but I can see why people think this is a good time. Oh, and the kilometre we drove where the trail was actually flooded over the axels of my vehicle would not be fun on a bike does show the utility of these machines.

We let Emma drive a bit in the muddy field. She liked it a whole lot.

I only have two complaints: this group stopped too often and some of them drove too slow. Once I got used to driving my machine--something I haven't done in about 30 years when ATV's had three wheels and I rode with no training or helmet--I wanted more bumpy trails!

I also wanted to stop and take photos of the sheep and alpaca grazing in a farmer's field and the trilliums lining the paths and all that water and mud. So maybe I'll plan a family only ride next time we're up here.

Something less than 75km though. I was totally spent when we finished around 4 that afternoon. It's actually a physically demanding thing riding around all day in the sun and mud.

 


Rhinebeck (sigh)

Rhinebeck, I always love visiting you.

This year was made better by the absolutely perfect house we rented right in town.  We parked the car Friday night and didn't use it again until we left for home Monday morning.

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(one of three sitting rooms!)

I travelled with great friends: Michelle, Kim and Jo and we drank wine, ate amazing food, fondled yarn, enabled, laughed, cried and didn't share our desserts (even when we said we would).

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I ran into a bunch of virtual friends I only get to hug once a year: Vanessa, Angela, Hope, Jaya, Cassandra, Julia (I love love love her not-released green cardi), Cara (and her amazing Maxfield cardi!), Chris, and others that I'm sure I'm forgetting (sorry!).

I finally got to meet (and hug) Lisa Souza and Nora Bellows of Noni knits (must write to her about getting copies of our photos in our Ella coats).  

I ate amazing meals and drank fantastic wines.

I got this super duper fantastic custom mug from Jennie the Potter. My morning coffee is now being consumed in style (and I got to hug her too!)

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(yarn on an orange bike-squee!)

I bought yarn (seen on my lap) to knit pretty things.

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I enjoyed the scenery. But didn't take any photos until we were driving over the Hudson on our way home.

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I'll be back next year (to take a bath in that tub!)

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Rhinebeck (sigh)

Rhinebeck, I always love visiting you.

This year was made better by the absolutely perfect house we rented right in town.  We parked the car Friday night and didn't use it again until we left for home Monday morning.

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(one of three sitting rooms!)

I travelled with great friends: Michelle, Kim and Jo and we drank wine, ate amazing food, fondled yarn, enabled, laughed, cried and didn't share our desserts (even when we said we would).

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I ran into a bunch of virtual friends I only get to hug once a year: Vanessa, Angela, Hope, Jaya, Cassandra, Julia (I love love love her not-released green cardi), Cara (and her amazing Maxfield cardi!), Chris, and others that I'm sure I'm forgetting (sorry!).

I finally got to meet (and hug) Lisa Souza and Nora Bellows of Noni knits (must write to her about getting copies of our photos in our Ella coats).  

I ate amazing meals and drank fantastic wines.

I got this super duper fantastic custom mug from Jennie the Potter. My morning coffee is now being consumed in style (and I got to hug her too!)

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(yarn on an orange bike-squee!)

I bought yarn (seen on my lap) to knit pretty things.

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I enjoyed the scenery. But didn't take any photos until we were driving over the Hudson on our way home.

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I'll be back next year (to take a bath in that tub!)

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While I was away

Uh, sorry, I disappeared for a few weeks there.  I was on holiday for the last two weeks of August and really ramped down my time on line.  I think it's good to do that sometimes--disconnect and play.  I wasn't completely off--I still read Twitter and I was never without internet--but I just scaled back.  No checking work email, no looking at tweets throughout the day, no blogging or hanging out online...less of it all.  

Now I'm back to work, the kids are back in school and the laziness of Summer is slowly ramping up to the busy times of Fall.  Looking at the photos from my time off, I can say I'm not ready.

And, I miss attending TIFF.  I think heading out for a crazy number of movies made a nice bridge into Fall. Next year I think I'll take a few days off and see some movies.  I'm writing it down to remind myself!

So what did I do while I was away?  Lots of reading, knitting, hanging out with the kids and a whole lot of unstructured time.  We clean some rooms (big decluttering), I finally painted the basement stairs (I'm not even going to look in the archives to see when they were installed.  It was at least 2 years ago that I primed them) and got to some neglected around the house stuff.  

We also had a mini-family reunion at my cousin's pool (so much fun) and took it easy.

For example: Fan Expo

Emma is turning into quite the fan-girl so jumped at the chance to hang out with her fellow geeky nerds. We all really liked the Lego

Completely made from Lego IMG_2065

We saw some stars: John Barrowman, Nanna Visitor, Levar Burton and Emma's current favs Spike and Drusilla from Buffy The Vampire Slayer (which she and I are watching for the first time right now)

Each kid got one treat.  Xander scored an awesome square Minecraft Mug and Emma waited patiently in line to meet Juliet Landau (Drusilla).  She was great (we all met her) and Emma was a bit overwhelmed:

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She was better when we met Megan Fahlenbock, the voice of Gwen from Total Drama Island (a show we all LOVE).  She was great to talk to (closer to my age than the characters she does voices for).  

The whole day was busy but fun.  We embrace our nerdiness.

Even though we're total city mice, we also took some time to play country mice too.

Off to the cottage.

There were frogs:

Frog

Swims in two lakes:

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Fishing (we fish in a private lake that seems to be filled with fish--I love it because I always catch a bass with minimal effort)

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Knitting--I finished my first ever pair of socks from my handspun.  I had lots of yarn and I'm full of moxy so I went for knee socks.

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(this is a truer photo of the colour)

I will definitely do knee socks and handspun socks again (I have some superwash on the wheel right now--but haven't spun since we started the kitchen reno).

Everyone had a fun holiday.  We're still wishing it's summer, but also don't mind the coming of Autumn. I've already started a beautiful new Rhinebeck sweater!