Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Magical Mystery Weekend Report: Longer Than The Road That Stretches Out Ahead

[To set the tone for this entry, please click here to listen to Neil and Liam Finn's cover of the Beatles' "Two of Us"]

The road before us

We set out on Friday, my mother and I, for a whirlwind tour through southern Ontario. We started out in Cookstown at the Outlet Mall, where I visited the Royal Doulton outlet and found a china pattern that I absolutely adored.1 Naturally, this meant that the pattern had been discontinued, so I need to decide whether it would be worth buying up their remaining stock if I couldn't have the whole set. We had lunch at a small tea house, and I bought a new wallet.2 After lunch, mum handed me an enveloped with an address to put into her GPS navigator, and we were off to Niagara-on-the-Lake, the heart of Ontario's wine country.

The drive was fairly uneventful, aside from my mother's occasional fits of anger at the GPS, which I have named "Matilda" since it spoke to us in an Australian accent. Niagara-on-the-Lake is beautiful. It's almost like an entirely different world from the part of Ontario that I live in: The climate is totally different (translation: much more temporate) and many of the houses down there have wooden panelling on the outside, and enormous windows. Many of them are also quite old. The bed and breakfast we stayed at was about 200 years old, and full of interesting things:

Shaped Doorway

Spinning Wheel


We spent some time at the shops downtown (including at COWS--check out the Edward Cowllen shirt). There was a lovely hat store, though mum didn't share my affection for trying on hats. Likely because she did not grow up on a diet of Harriet's Magic Hats.

The next day, after a ridiculously sumptuous breakfast, we set out to visit some of the wineries. We only hit two, Stonechurch and Palatine Hills, but it was quite the experience. I got to try ice wine for the first time, and it was far more delicious than I'd anticipated. I definitely want to go back--I'd like to visit Inniskillin, which makes my favourite white wine (a Late Autumn Riesling) as well as a few of the others.

We try a Riesling

From there we were off to Mennonite country to visit St. Jacobs and its famous farmers market. Unfortunately, we arrived fairly late in the day, but it was still wonderous to see all of the local produce and baked goods. I'll save my rant about the 100 mile diet for another day, but suffice it to say, again, that it's almost like a different world down there. It's only about 500 km away from North Bay, but the growing season is at least 2-3 weeks ahead of what it is here. We ate local peas and cherries. The yarn booth was a bit of a disappointment; the selection is usually much better.3

After a quiet night at a bed and breakfast in Elmira, we set forth again, passing through St. Jacobs, Guelph, Fergus, Orangeville, and Cookstown on our way back home. Unfortunately, nothing much was open on Sundays, so we didn't get to see any yarn stores. My mom encouraged me to take pictures out of the window of the car, and while it is not an optimal picture taking strategy, I did manage some fairly good snaps:


Old barn

The only negative part to the whole weekend was that I lost my mobile phone, which I've only had for a few months. It has not turned up yet, so I've passed my number back to my old phone. I'm terribly disappointed, as a) I really liked my new phone, which was bright green and made out of corn-derived plastic, and b) there's no reason why I should have lost it. I am a fairly absentminded person at the best of times, and I've learned to compensate for that by using a variety of strategies. The best of these is that everything has its place; as long as I return things to that place, I always know where my stuff is. Unfortunately, I broke that rule by not returning the phone to my purse after using it, and I don't know where it's gotten off to now. I hope that it'll turn up.

All in all, a pretty good weekend with my best mom.
1 Royal Doulton Nightscape, in case you are wondering.
2 One that finally holds all my 80 quadrillion cards.
3 Now that I actually have access to two yarn stores in town, as well as several within driving distance, I'm just not that impressed by Mission Falls cotton anymore.

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