Tag Archives: Getaway

This Week Rocked a Bit. Here’s Why.

19 May

• Summer hours have started at work for me. Each Friday before a long weekend like the one coming up this weekend (Victoria Day in Canada), my company is closed. I’ve been looking forward to this first extra long weekend for months, and it has been nothing short of uplifting getting through these last few days knowing that it’s a short work week.

• The BF has spent an intense month finishing up his final semester at school. He’s taken time off from his full-time job so that he could complete his term papers and study for his final exams. On Tuesday, he got a call from work letting him know that though he was scheduled to go back to work today, they wouldn’t need him for the rest of the week. This means that we  are able to leave for our road trip to Prince Edward County tomorrow morning, a full day and a half earlier than planned. This is also going to be our very first true long weekend together in two and a half years. His current job has him working Saturdays, so we haven’t even enjoyed a full weekend with each other in that length of time either.

• The BF wrote his final college exam yesterday, and is much closer to being a licensed optician. Amidst all the chaos of the last couple of weeks, this company to which he had submitted his résumé two and a half years ago called him for a job interview. And then, just hours after he wrote his exam yesterday, that company called to offer him the position. Timing could not have been more strange. While he is still on this road to completing the program and requirements to fulfill a new career path, he now has an amazing opportunity to work for a company that will utilize all his skill sets and education in both the IT and Optical fields.

• And the big fat cherry on top of my all good news week? Today, I received an email from Pawsh Magazine letting me know that Jelly is being featured as its Pet of the Week! How fun is that? We’re trying to not let it get to her head too much that she has become a bit of a celebrity.

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Going Back to the County

12 Apr

It didn’t take us long to fall in love with Ontario’s Prince Edward County while on our first ever visit there last August. How could we not, with the insouciant way of life, their community of farmers, butchers, market-gardeners, and chefs who live by the slow food movement, and of course their emerging wine culture.

I will even dare to say that the County charmed us because it is not Niagara, which for the most part, defines Ontario wine country. The County has a more grassroots culture, which grew out of passion for the craft of wine making and the craft of food, whereas Niagara seemed quite a bit too commercial. As if the region were a huge amusement park and the wineries were its souvenir shops. It was crowded and busy with locals and tourists. Not to say that this was an entirely bad thing — I suppose that Ontario has fought long and hard to be put on the map for its wine, and the success that we have achieved as a result of the wines of Niagara is something that we should really be proud of. For now, I suppose that much of Prince Edward County’s simple and unpretentious nature is owed to the fact that it still is emerging, and is way lesser-known than the renowned Niagara region. My hope is that the County will fight to maintain its charm and that it will always be evident there that passion runs very deep, despite whatever success they achieve.

It’s for these reasons that we booked another little getaway to the County, for our May long weekend. Again, we will be staying at a B&B, and the best part of all is that I managed to stumble upon one that is pet-friendly, so Jelly will be coming along on our tiny getaway. We’re excited that we are going back, and as this is our second visit, we’ll be able to better map out where we will be indulging and savoring local fares, and maybe discover some more gems along the way.

The Happy Camper is Back

6 Sep

Image by ktpupp via flickr.com

We’ve just returned from a long, happy weekend of camping at Inverhuron Provincial Park, somewhere along the shores of Lake Huron in Ontario. The weather was less than ideal, but we made the most of it by sleeping in, hanging out by the campfire, and riding our mountain bikes on that one day that we had blue skies and sun. We’re feeling relaxed and well-rested. In fact, I just finished wistfully telling The BF that I love sleeping outdoors, and wish that I could do it every night.

Tomorrow is the first day of school for almost all students, and I feel like I’m sharing those bittersweet feelings with them, marking the end of summer holidays. I suppose it’s somewhat appropriate for me then, that it will be the first day of my 30-Day Blogging Challenge. I’m going to try my hardest to keep up, and I’m going to try even harder to be interesting enough!

I Left my Heart in the County

3 Aug

It’s an undiscovered gem just two hours east of Toronto. Prince Edward County, or “the County” as locals refer to it, is a playground for foodies and wine enthusiasts. The local food movement here is big, but not in a proclaim it loud and clear manner nor a “we do it because it’s what’s trendy” way. You get the feeling that the local food movement existed here before there was a Local Food Movement. This philosophy is backed here by the passion of the chefs, and menus of the area restaurants boast carefully crafted menus featuring fresh and locally sourced, hand-picked daily fresh ingredients, paired alongside selected wines of the region. It’s a phenomenal culture built up around the region’s culinary treats, celebrating whatever nature offers us that day and that season.

The County is also emerging as Canada’s newest wine region, and as well is renowned for its artisan cheesemakers, crafting cheeses with fresh, locally produced milk. One of our stops was at Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co., an artisanal goat and sheep cheese shop that is not only completely committed to local sources, but also dedicated to environmental sustainability in its operation. Many of the wineries are characterised by the charm that makes PEC so special, and remain small and intimate. By visiting some of the wineries for tastings, we were able to meet some of the winemakers and chat with them while they poured our tasting samples for us. Ask any one of them how they started their journey as a winemaker, and you can hear the passion for their craft and their wines as they begin to tell you their stories.

This weekend, we did a tiny little tour of the region, and managed to steal nibbles and taste much of what the region has to offer. From the wine, the cheese, the food – even the hot dogs – it was pure gastronomic joy. Add to that the fresh air, the miles and miles of farmland basking in perfect sunlight and the lake nearly always within reach. It was a gorgeous weekend.

I can’t wait to go back. The next time will involve a longer visit, which will allow us to linger and savor the region in the way that it deserves, rather than squeezing every little bit into our short little jaunt and whirlwind tour.

Here are some highlights in pictures:

Buddha Dog is an organic hot dog restaurant that features locally sourced meat for its weiners. It's the Slow Food Movement's answer to fast food. Each dog comes specially prepared with your choice of hand-crafted sauces made of local ingredients, and locally-sourced cheese.

Our whirlwind tour included the sights and flavours of such wineries as Waupoos Estates Winery and Sandbanks Estate Winery. We're noticing a growing trend among Ontario wine labels, which are gradually departing from the traditional to more modern and youthful designs.

We are still seeing the modern winemakers holding onto more traditional and beautiful structures such as these barns.

Weekend Film Strip

21 Jul

It was exactly what I needed. It was just a short weekend away, but it felt like it could’ve been a week-long getaway.

Our view from the cottage.

We got to enjoy the sunset over the lake.

Silly self-snapshots.

A different view from the boat house.

More gorgeous sunset.

Gathering around the fire pit at night.

Riding out to see the house on the island.

Fire pit on the island.

The house on the island. Perfectly remote.

We swam out to this other little island.

The guest cabin tucked in the middle of the woods on the island.

Still exploring the island.

We were shown this tiny beach on the far end of the island.

Highlights:

  • Winning gold medals
  • Hanging out and getting to know some friends a lot better
  • Decompressing
  • Drinks all around!

Next stop: Kingston.

July Weekend Road Trip #1

16 Jul
Image from: weheartit.com

Right after work today, The BF and I are driving 4 hours up to North Bay, which is the first in a series of three consecutive weekend road trips for me. It’s a teensy little getaway for us, disguised as my race weekend, because we’ll be staying at my team mate’s cottage by the lake. And when I say “cottage,” I may actually mean “luxurious compound of properties” because I have heard rumors that my team mate has been modestly understating the expanse of accommodations that his family has offered to provide for us. After all, there will be close to 30 of us staying with them over the weekend and I’m almost certain that we won’t be all piled on top of each other.

It’s been officially declared: 2010 has been the hottest year on record. Depending on which side of the fence you are on, this may not be a good thing. But to me, this summer has been fantastic. Hot, sticky summer days are what I live for. This is how I’ve always remembered my childhood summers – full of sun and humidity, encouraging listless days in the grass sucking on a popsicle from the freezer, and begging your parents to turn the sprinkler on for just a few minutes. Looking back, the days seemed endless because they would pile on one after the other with no meaning and very little purpose. Still, you wished that it would last forever, knowing always in the back of your head that the dreaded first day of school was looming.

And now, all we have are the weekends. Two days out of each week that you wish you could stretch and extend even just a little. So, once the race is done tomorrow, I will look forward to spending the afternoons lying listlessly by the lake. My tasty treats most likely won’t include popsicles, but will most definitely be cold and refreshing and very booze-y!

A Getaway to Niagara Wine Country

30 May

While I’m the type of person who craves routine — it makes me feel organized and in control — I’ve lately become a victim of it. I’ve gotten so caught up with my schedule and sticking to it that I haven’t allowed much room for anything that deviates from my required tasks, errands and weekly duties. To say that I’ve been on auto-pilot for the last little while is a bit of an understatement. I just keep moving with little thought just to do what needs to get done. The month of May ends tomorrow, and I feel as if I haven’t done as much as I could have to enjoy the brilliant early summer we’ve been experiencing. I also feel like it’s been a detriment to my relationships, especially that which is most important to me, the one with The BF. Our time together lately has been filled with just doing what is necessary. We’ve spent very little time actually enjoying our time with each other.

Our little getaway last weekend reminded me how important it is to take that time to do just that. To escape from routine, to clear the mind of those nagging little tasks, to do something out of your ordinary. Something that I need to face and reconcile within myself is that there will always be those nagging tasks, that there will always be laundry, dishes, and tidying to be done. That work and my job is also a daily thing. As much as I get done on a daily and weekly basis, it’s a perpetual list of matters that will need to be tended to and the fact that it is perpetual and neverending need not overwhelm or frustrate me. A break from routine, once in a while, is as necessary as making sure we’ve got clean clothes to wear.

We made a trip out to Niagara-on-the-Lake last weekend, taking advantage of our long Victoria Day weekend. And what a weekend it was! We had nothing but blue skies, sun and warm temperatures. We toured and visited a good number of the wineries around the region, sampled some better than expected reds, whites, and internationally-acclaimed Ice Wines. We could not resist and brought back a modest bounty of wines to enjoy at home.

It was a perfect weekend.

Inniskillin Winery was our first stop

A closer look at the Inniskillin vineyard. The grapes were still very young.

The Inniskillin vines. In the distance, you can see the bridge to the U.S.

Next was Konzelmann Estate Winery. You might recognize this from their label.

In the Reif Estate basement during the tour.

The Reif Estate Winery Sensory Garden with four sections that feature plantings like coriander, honeysuckle, mint, lemon verbena, rosemary and others to provide an experience for your senses.

These plantings are representative of the flavors, colors and aromas used to produce Niagara wines.

The Reif Estate Winery vines

Peller Estates was grand and and the grounds were quite beautiful. This was taken on their back patio.

We had dinner in town in the Shaw Festival Theatre district, on Queen Street. The brilliant sunshine and blue skies carried on into the evening.

Some Random Bits

26 May

The last few days have been GLORIOUS! I suppose that this early summer in Ontario is making up for the lack of one last year. The heat is getting intense, and the sun has been brilliant. It’s exactly as I like it. Things are also getting sorted at work, or in the least, my insane project cluster has been unclustering. We spent a gorgeous weekend in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Pictures will be posted soon – at my very first opportunity – and I’ll be sure to be sipping from a glass of white from our own Niagara wine country at the same time. I also had some happy news delivered to me with some home made Korean Kalbi last night at my dragon boat practice. Life is looking good.

Happy Weekend

22 May

Photo by Magalie L’Abbé via flickr.com

I’ve been pretty absent from life these last couple of weeks, and I want to take a few moments now to say that I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to a long weekend this much in my life. We’ll be heading out to Niagara-on-the-Lake for some touring and wining and B & B-ing. We have a bit of a loose itinerary, which kind of concerns a person such as me, but I’m hoping that this will lend to an entirely relaxed weekend. Sweet escape!

Enjoy your weekend!

Moving on and Looking Forward

29 Apr

Friday marked my third anniversary at my current job. The owners of my company were thoughtful and nice enough to surprise me with this gorgeous flower arrangement delivered to my desk. It’s with a little bit of disbelief that I say I’ve been here for three years. I suppose that it’s a sign of growing old when time passes and you barely even notice that it does because it passes so quickly. I can hardly believe that it’s going to be May 1st this weekend.

Yowza! A third of 2010 is already behind us.

It’s been a gong show at work for the last few weeks, and without going into any detail, it reached its pinnacle at 4:40 PM on Friday. It was reason enough for me to want to get drunk that night on a bottle of cheap wine I had The BF pick up for me while I was finishing up at work. Drinking that wine and having the bottle to myself that night was the first thing I’d looked forward to in weeks. It’s so sad what my job has turned me into. I’ve realized that I need to give myself more responsible better things to look forward to. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

  • On Friday for my third anniversary, I was told that I’d be given an additional week of vacation, which gives me an extra week to play with and therefore, less strain on vacation days when we go to India in October. I’ve booked the days off work, have started looking into flights, and have been earnestly socking away bits of money so that I can pay for this trip.
  • I have a friend who is  getting ready to move to Chicago in a year to join her new husband. She’s been paring down her possessions and had some books to give away. On Saturday, she gave me a small pile of the books I’d requested. I love looking at this pile – it reminds me of when I was a young girl and I would come home from a trip to the library with my mom hanging on to a bag full of books, and spending those few delicious first minutes looking through my books to decide which one would get to be read first. I’m not sure what Lost Girls and Love Hotels is. I guess it’s a surprise bonus book that she just happened to throw in. Who knows? I may discover it to be a great read. I’m excited to read my way through this tiny pile, though I know that Marley & Me will shred me to pieces.
  • We never typically have anything planned for Victoria Day weekend and I always end up kicking myself for not taking advantage and making the most out of that long weekend. This year, we’ll finally be getting out to do some winery tours in Niagara-on-the-Lake. I say finally because it’s always been something that we’ve talked about, mostly in passing, saying that we should do it, but never finding ourselves committed to doing it. The season gets away from us, and there goes another year in which we should’ve made it out to NOTL. So, I’ve booked a Bed and Breakfast for that weekend. It’s going to be a teeny getaway, but I’m really looking forward to it, and it’s not just for the wine, I swear.
  • And finally, I look forward to being the winner (fingers crossed!) of Leesh’s latest giveaway! She’ll be giving away one Cheeky Monkey nail polish to a lucky winner. Get all the details of the giveaway and how to enter here.
Image from: The Blarkness Chronicles
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