Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Vacations Altered, Not Spoiled

My vacation is over, and for the third time our intention to get to Nova Scotia has failed.  Not that we have never been there, but in recent years we just don't seem to make it to our planned destination.

The first time we tried, we thought we'd do the Lighthouse Tour along the Atlantic shore of Nova Scotia. We ended up doing what I like to call the All Saints Tour, along the New Brunswick side of the Bay of Fundy.  (St. Stephens, St Andrews, St. George, St John and St Martins).  That was a lovely trip, but we needed to try again to get to Nova Scotia. 

Last year we decided to take the American Route, which we had never done before. We took our time and enjoyed Vermont and New Hampshire, and then the weatherman mentioned a big storm closing in. We thought we'd best get out of the mountains before that happened, and looked east, only to discover there was going to be a big storm out there too.  We looked back towards home, and the weather was going to be fine, so we headed for home and finished off our vacation doing day trips. That was also a lovely vacation, even if not the one we planned.

The thing is, we are getting older, and we want to do the Lighthouse tour before the lighthouses all disappear. They are no longer needed, now that the ships are equipped with all the modern technology....GPS's and such.  Many of the lighthouses have now been decommissioned, and I don't know how long the public can keep them up. Also, this year we had a reliable vehicle, so it seemed a perfect time to make another stab at it.

We were all packed to go, but once again, the weatherman got in the way. Perhaps if technology didn't allow me to see the day by day forecast anywhere I choose to look, we might have just gone and ended up there in the rain. But that would have cost a lot, and would have been no fun. We don't go somewhere to sit in a hotel and watch the rain. We like to explore....outdoors!

With the trip cancelled, we set about amusing ourselves with one of those Staycations you hear so much about.  First we went to Cornwall, and visited with a relative who has recently taken up residence in a retirement home. On the way ate at a favorite little café in Morrisburg, run by some humorous older ladies. It's aptly named The Basket Case and I highly recommend it. On the way home, we decided to try the new Shirtless Joe's, in Kemptville. That was a long full day away from home and definitely vacation time for me since I didn't have to cook or clean up afterwards.

Then we went in the opposite direction, to Picton, by way of highway 15. It was a beautiful day and we had plenty of time to view the scenery along the way as we found a great deal of this route was under construction. We discovered that it must be part of the job requirements to be a young blonde female if you want to work as a flag person these days.

The annual craft show is held on a Thursday at the Picton Fair grounds, as the venders all head to Barrie for the long weekend. (Mmmm....we haven't been up there for a long time. Maybe next year...if we don't get to go to Nova Scotia for some reason.)

The craft show has 200 vendors, in three buildings and also lots of tents set up outside.  The first time we went it took us a long time to work our way through the offerings as so many of them were new to us. This time it didn't take nearly as long, and we didn't find anything to bring home.  Well, I did see something I would love to have had, but I somehow managed to talk myself out of spending the money for something so purely ornamental.

We took the ferry across when we left, and followed the St Lawrence route back to Kingston. After supper at Montanas,  we looked up a friend who runs a karate dojo, and then another who used to be one of our own students.


On Saturday we took in the Crosby Flea Market. If you ever want to stock up on books, that's the place to go. Many of their other items are also lower in price than you'll find them for anywhere else too. I picked up a few things on this visit, including a lovely tea set for just $5.  As you can see, it goes perfectly with my kitchen.  Who can resist a bargain like that? We tried to eat at the nice restaurant that used to be in Portland, but it's been closed. We settled for some fries from a chip wagon and then spent the afternoon geocaching along the route home.

The next day we went to Rideau Carleton for dinner and the races. This is something we enjoy doing, but it was the first time we were ever unable to get a program for the races.  Somehow we managed to win every race we bet on anyway. The waiter brought us a program that someone else left behind, and we didn't do nearly as well with all that vital information at hand. Once again, too much information managed to spoil things a bit.

Monday the weather was nice so we decided to go off geocaching again, this time along the St Lawrence between Maitland and Brockville, before stopping for supper in at Swiss Chalet in Brockville.

Wednesday we took the 1000 Islands Cruise from Rockport.  This quaint village was once the hub of activity in an era when millionaires made their summer homes amongst the islands. These days it seems to attract artists and tourists.

We had a 2 hour stop over to explore Boldt Castle on Heart Island. Things have sure changed there since the last time we visited.

 Much more restoration work has been done and it's still ongoing.

 You can now go all the way up to the 4th floor, though the top two floors look much like the castle did when we went before.

The bottom two floors are all nicely restored and furnished now.

I was a little disappointed that we could no longer go up into the old "Playhouse" but I think there are likely too many people now to make that possible, traffic wise, on those narrow stairways.

The following day we took our oldest grandson geocaching, as he's been asking to go. We started him on this 6 years ago, when he was only 3. He gets exclusive use of my old GPS now, and really seems to enjoy the experience. We stopped in Manotick for Pizza part way through the day.

We had one day to do our own thing, as my hubby went off golfing with one of his brothers and a friend, while I joined a friend of mine for tea at her home.

 The following day we decided to visit our favorite local Chinese buffet, The King Star, on Hwy 15,  and got home just in time to receive visitors from Cornwall.

We finished off the vacation by going to brunch at a place we had heard about but never been to before. Woody's Place, in North Augusta. There was a wide variety of things to choose from, though you wanted to leave room for some of the very tempting desserts that were on display on the bar. 

I had a great vacation as I hardly ever had to cook, and I certainly didn't do any housework during those two weeks. Of course, I'm scurrying around now trying to put the place back in order. 

As it turned out, the weatherman was wrong. Friends in the east insist the weather was fine and we could have gone after all. But we don't regret our decision. We enjoyed our explorations, our socializing and eating entirely too much food.  Staycations work just fine.

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