Category Archives: Travel and tourism

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VISITING THE PEN @ KINGSTON AND OTHER DAY TRIP FUN STUFF

Regardless of the overcast, rainy weather yesterday, I boarded the www.ShortTrips.ca bus bound for Kingston, Ontario – so nice to get out of the city and see the beautiful red and golden leaves along the 401 highway heading east from Toronto.

The first couple of hours were spent wandering around the historic downtown core…I hit the waterfront first while the sun was poking thru the clouds…20200930_115310I then headed to the town square behind city hall…they have lots of colourful chairs to relax in as well as tables and chairs for casual take-out dining and meeting up with friends – all safely socially distanced.20200930_115847 (2) 20200930_134003 (2)I spent the first hour shopping, dropping in on several charming boutiques and injecting some $$s into the local economy! I particularly enjoyed Amanda’s House of Elegance, Send in the Clowns and All Good Things where I discovered all manner of treasures not found back the city. Won’t post pics here as I have a few Christmas pressies for family and I know they read this blog. If you’re visiting Kingston, do stop into www.amandashouseofelegance.ca   www.sendintheclowns.ca   www.allgoodthingshomeshop.com

I discovered this laneway leading to the famous Chez Piggy (below) which was not open at the time20200930_124129 (2)…but I did find this awesome diner, Morrison’s, with its fabulous mid-century signage out front and super deelish food inside. Established in 1921, the restaurant has flourished and has been owned by the same family for the past 30yrs. I had a scrumptious BLT, French fries & gravy….yummmm20200930_133926 (2) 20200930_130048The restaurant is located directly behind the town hall so you can’t miss it. The historic building looked beautiful even with grey clouds above. I did manage to snap a quick pic out front with blue skies before the downpour.20200930_134221 (2)20200930_115023The old Kingston train station has been transformed into a tourist hub complete with a vintage engine – isn’t she lovely?20200930_134625Back on the bus and off to the Kingston Penitentiary – now closed (whew!) and a major tourist attraction. The grey walls and guard towers loomed over us, but the tour guides and staff offered a warm welcome.20200930_143550 (2) 20200930_144226(1) 20200930_144623 20200930_150332 (2)Although the 90-min tour was packed with historic facts and escapee trivia, it was quite depressing to think that men and women were incarcerated in such primitive conditions. I was, however, impressed with the beautifully crafted architecture and stonework done by the inmates themselves….just look at this flying staircase. 20200930_152538The prison finally closed on September 30th of 2013, fortunately after many improvements to the original 1835 prison.  Check out more at www.kingstonpentour.com20200930_160526 (3)As our bus headed back to Toronto, the heavens unloaded and our driver, Gord, did a brilliant job of navigating through rain so heavy, I don’t know how he saw the road. Thanks also to our bus hostess/guide, Anna Maria, who shared levity and smiles throughout the day-long trip. Everything on-board was COVID-safe; the interior was sanitized between stops and there was social distancing on-board with vacant rows separating us. Definitely recommend you check out www.ShortTrips.ca for upcoming day excursions as well as 2 and 3 day out of province tours, too.

 

20191219_110913

ADVENTURES IN SCOTTSDALE OLD TOWN – Pt. VI

So this was my last day in Scottsdale Old Town – I’d got all my souvenirs and gifts purchased, toured all the cultural hot-spots so all that was left was a visit to the fabulous Museum of the West where I’d spent a few happy hours last time I was in town. https://scottsdalemuseumwest.org/ They have spectacular sculptural installations inside and out…20191219_110813 20191219_110845The museum has multiple levels/floors, all easily accessible, displaying artifacts and memorabilia covering the history of Arizona, stunning artworks, native American culture and even film/TV cowboy ephemera, vintage saddles, spurs…and a wonderful collection of photographs from the late, internationally renowned State Senator Barry Goldwater, pictured below with his wife in the lobby. 20191219_111800Following are photos that are pretty self-explanatory but they showcase some of my fave displays of western art and native artifacts that I had previously discovered. I sincerely recommend a personal visit to experience the awe and wonder of Arizona.20191219_112137 20191219_112157 20191219_112827 20191219_112942 20191219_112900 20191219_113511 20191219_113058 20191219_113904 20191219_113932There’s a spectacular sculpture garden courtyard and they had changed the pieces since my last visit (you can search my previous blogs dated last April to see those pics). These are the stunning works currently on display – all life sized or larger.20191219_114403 20191219_114455 20191219_114528 20191219_114539 20191219_114606There’s a gorgeous rusted and tarnished wall installed as a backdrop…just look at this:20191219_114619 20191219_114642 20191219_114655Back inside, I found even more fab paintings from Arizona artists. I love the donkeys below, and of course, my beloved saguaro cactus…20191219_114135 20191219_113343 20191219_113245 20191219_113253Before I left the museum, I had to visit the gift shop and say hello to my friend Jeffrey who reigns over the souvenirs, art prints, books and touristy nic-nacs. He’s full of cool information about the museum and the local area, and made me feel so welcome last time I visited, I just had to bring him a wee Christmas moose from the great white north! I think he liked it…LOL20191219_111414If you ever visit the  museum, please go inside the shop and say hi to Jeffrey.   Afterwards, I decided to walk back down to the main centre of Old Town, passing more cowboys…20191219_121541…and popped into the beautifully restored Mission church.The stained glass windows were created by local artisans many many years ago.20191219_131825 20191219_131852 20191219_132103 20191219_131907I spent some money on souvenirs there and dropped a few $s into the donation box, hoping to be blessed with a safe journey home….and I was. Less than 15hrs later, I was speeding away from Toronto’s Pearson Int’l Airport in a limo, home to my downtown apartment, a bit sleepy but thoroughly invigorated by my 8 days in sunny Scottsdale Old Town.20191220_072900If you take a trip to Old Town, here are 2 great transportation companies that will get you out and about, and to-and-from your hotel and airport:
Local tours courtesy of Quick Silver Golf Carts: www.ridequicksilver.com   and for affordable taxis & town cars, contact Scottsdale Sedan-Taxi (call Frank at 602-714-9833).  I can recommend both. Happy trails, dear readers…..20191219_113220

20191214_104954

ADVENTURES IN SCOTTSDALE OLD TOWN – Pt. V

My 2nd last day in Arizona so time to work off some of the calories amassed over the past week’s indulgences…LOL…but first I needed another good breakfast at Denny’s to start my day off. Got the courtesy van into town and this time, I headed straight for the Civic Centre grounds (above) and the Scottsdale Contemporary Art Gallery which was easy to find: just follow the sounds of birdsong….

I followed the sparkly laneway embedded with glass and coloured stone and into the front door….20191218_125954The gallery was spacious and cool and the exhibitions were extremely “contemporary” featuring native American artworks, photographs and video imagery. It also showcases architecture and design exhibitions as well as the innovative outdoors “singing bells” installation. www.smoca.org   I then sauntered around the corner up to Main Street on my way back to Barista Brothers, when I noticed some great old buildings with vintage blacksmith & farm equipment on display (below).20191218_132509 20191218_132524Across the road was an old building (it looked old but was, in fact, a relatively new build) that housed the Scottsdale Rodeo Museum – I had to go visit!  Inside I was greeted by friendly museum curator Dave Alford (below) who kindly gave me a first class personal tour of the exhibits.20191218_133543A retired rodeo cowboy himself, Dave was a mine of information on all things rodeo. He introduced me to El Diablo, one of the winningest bulls in local rodeo history…20191218_133512 20191218_133649..and showed me some past photos of him riding rodeo beasties. That’s his red competition chaps hanging next to the photos.20191218_134146So much to see in this modest museum that’s packed with history and cowboy memorabilia. There were even pics of legendary Lane Frost, a young bullrider who was killed in action – his life and career was memorialized in the movie “8 Seconds” where Frost was portrayed by the late Luke Perry.20191218_13420720191218_13343920191218_134436 20191218_135759Thanks for the great tour, Dave, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. www.ScottsdaleRodeoMuseum.com

By now I definitely needed some cooling down so off I went to Barista Brothers to indulge in some frosty gelato.20191218_143601Time for a little more shopping, this time in the Golden Bear jewelers and fashion accessories store.  https://goldhouseaz.com/  I was welcomed into the large boutique by the lovely Marina (below)20191218_163824…who showed me around all the sparkling showcases, finding a number of pieces including the stunning fox turquoise and spiny oyster earrings that eventually found themselves in my suitcase, along with a stunning Larimar & silver ring (below). OMG, my credit card got quite the workout with Marina!!20191231_170242Lots of beautiful art glass as well as home decor and all those gorgeous gems!20191218_163836 20191218_16385220191218_164021After working up a healthy appetite shopping for bling, I chose a fabulous cantina with a sun-drenched upper patio with nobody else there. I think it was called Vines or something like that, but oh boy, the yummy fried catfish was deelish!20191218_151209 20191218_145535With tummy full and feet sore, it was time to call for a ride home and more R&R on my sunny balcony so tomorrow, my last day in Arizona, I’ll have lots of energy for my trip to the Western Museum and a visit with my friend Jeffrey who runs the shop there.  He was so sweet last spring when I visited that I brought him a little surprise from Canada. I waited for the van next to the big Christmas tree in the main square…ho ho ho – I’m finally getting in the spirit!20191218_164342That night was a little chilly so I snuggled up on the bed and watched tv in my warm hoodie that cowboy Dave gave me as a memento of my visit to the rodeo museum.20191218_175030

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20191216_174952

ADVENTURES IN SCOTTSDALE – Pt. IV

I’d been enjoying lots of cuisine choices since I’d arrived in Scottsdale Old Town but I had been really looking forward to this next place since my last trip: Hula Modern Tiki Lounge! Located in the heart of the tourist area, Hula kinda sticks out from the usual cowboy-themed diners and resto-lounges. I love my tiki bars – I’ve enjoyed many around the world, my fave being the now-deceased (!) Trader Vic’s in Waikiki. In Toronto we have the fabulous Shameful Tiki but ever since I found it on the ‘net last year, I’ve wanted to visit the Hula Tiki Lounge and I was not disappointed…20191216_163627 20191216_163711I felt like a real old fart as it was only around 5:30pm – too early for a real dinner – but this golden girl decided on an early-bird special. As it was “happy hour”, I chose a few appetizers plus my fave tropical bevvie, a Painkiller, which the bartender kindly served in a mermaid tumbler. Wow!20191216_163248 20191216_164019 20191216_170728I topped off the meal with a slice of tropical coconut cream pie (more like a cheesecake) and Kona coffee. Yummm – I definitely recommend you drop in and indulge when you visit Old Town: www.hulasmoderntiki.com

I then went for a stroll around town afterwards – needed to walk off the calories, LOL – and viewed the Christmas lights.20191216_174855 20191216_174746The next day, I opted for a fab American full-on breakfast and dropped in to the Denny’s a block from the hotel. OMG, it was deelish – I ordered the Lumberjack special and yes, I cleaned the plates.20191217_094026Had to go back to my room for a nap to sleep off all the carbs, but it didn’t take long to get my ass in gear and head to the second touristy area of Old Town where I’d previously visited with AJ and enjoyed the “galloping horsey fountain”.20191217_122013 20191218_121010A team of “groomers” were busy cleaning the fountain and decorating the stunning equine sculptures for Christmas. I made sure to drop in to Berdena’s Cafe across the road for a fresh squeezed orange juice. AJ and I had a pleasant time there in April and I loved the fresh, bright decor and friendly servers. www.berdenas.com20191217_120025The cafe is located in a small plaza and as I walked through, I spied a storefront that had been turned into a “campaign HQ” for the “Save Old Town Scottsdale” movement. So what’s this all about?20191217_120930 20191218_120903Apparently a local developer (with tons of $$s) wants to tear down a huge section of this quaint tourist destination and turn it into a wall of hi-rise condos and chi-chi boutiques and has subsequently driven up the rents on the mom and pop retail stores. Yes, there are quite a few of the traditional souvenir shops but there are so many classy boutiques and jewelry designer stores there, already along with beautiful cafes and galleries. If this development goes ahead, they might very well all be wiped out. I was crestfallen – Old Town is my “spirit home” and I care deeply about the charm and uniqueness of the area. Plus I’ve made lifelong friendships here…I have to get involved, I have to contribute and support somehow….Beverly and Brian Moore of Earthen Rare told me how!20191217_125604Beverly is a very talented designer of leather and hand-crafted bead jewelry and Brian, her husband, works closely with her in creating unique pieces. They are very involved with the campaign and suggested I videotape a plea for petition signatures & support plus my observations on the situation from a tourist’s perspective. So I did – I recorded a “call to action” that has since gone out on social media and I hope it helps. www.standupforoldtownscottsdale.com

But back to Bev and Brian – what a beautiful studio/store they run…the positive energy is palpable and the two of them are the nicest people you could ever want to meet. I spent a great deal of time with them, chatting about the current social and political climate in town as well as browsing the display cases. And yes, I made a couple of purchases there, too, including something very special for my sister back in Australia who, I know, will love the artwork and superb quality. Check out Earthen Rare’s beautiful treasures (below)20191218_121648 20191218_121656 20191218_12184320191218_121746So another full day of sight-seeing, local engagement and making new friends was done…whew! I was exhausted. Another big day tomorrow so let’s call the hotel van for a pick up and home for some R&R on my sunset balcony.20191218_173347

 

 

20191216_135553

ADVENTURES IN SCOTTSDALE – Pt.III

 

 

Sunday Dec. 15th dawned sunny, as usual, and I was excited to see my friend AJ (below) and his husband Tom who were meeting me for brunch at the famous Valley Ho hotel. Poor pneumonia-plagued AJ had mustered enough energy for a couple of hours of catching up, enjoying a great meal and showing me his and Tom’s fave hotel in Old Town.20191215_132650 20191215_132736 20191215_132708We saw a gingerbread version of the famous mid-century modern hotel (above) on the way into Zuzu’s cafe for our brunch. Isn’t it cute?  After our deelish meal, the guys showed me around the property, much of which has been preserved in its original form, complete with colourful wall tiles on each balcony, sexy lounges and outdoor courtyards….20191215_133514(0) 20191215_133255 20191215_132831 20191215_13305420191215_133607After being dropped off by AJ & Tom, the remainder of the afternoon was spent out on my balcony, enjoying the sunshine and watching the palm trees “dance the hula” in the high desert wind.

Next day, I decided on what genuine touristy experiences remained for me to explore so off I went for my morning latte at Barista Brothers to plan the next few days before returning to cold grey Toronto.20191217_11211320191216_135603bac12bdaf26e0111784ffb89e3c2967bI just walked around and watched for interesting photo opps, like this one of the colourful buildings surrounding the Civic Centre:20191218_125015And checked out the artful sidewalks near my hotel (below)…such civic pride makes me wish that Toronto took as much care with their public spaces.20191218_084500Just a few more days remaining on my holiday – I wonder what adventures remain?

20191216_135553

ADVENTURES IN SCOTTSDALE OLD TOWN – Pt. II

The second day in Scottsdale dawned sunny and with clear blue skies…as usual! Based on the recommendation of friend AJ, I headed out to Merci, a cute little French bistro located in an unassuming plaza about 10 minutes from my hotel. Off I went in the courtesy van….20191213_092841…and walked into the cute tiny boite where I enjoyed THE best Quiche Loraine and refreshing salad. www.mercifrenchcafe.com20191213_095146 20191213_100019Did a little shopping for family & friends then returned to the hotel for a swim in the heated pool and some sunbathing…had the perfect balcony for catching rays…and I stayed out there until the sun started going down. What a wonderful relaxing afternoon.20191213_143347 20191213_162438Day 3 started off brightly (again!) so I headed downtown Old Town and landed smack in the middle of tourist heaven – in front of famed Bischoff’s gallery & store where even their grounds contain stunning sculptures. I spent a great deal of time there on my last visit…20191214_103501 20191214_103337 20191214_103430I love their lemon tree out front and surprisingly, nobody steals any fruit so here it is, laden with lemons, surrounded by sculptures and cacti.  www.bischoffsgallery.com20191214_103717I hadn’t previously explored all the parkland behind so imagine my surprise when I discovered the Scottsdale Civic Centre located there along with several chi-chi restaurants, a performing arts theatre, the contemporary art gallery and so many fountains…20191214_104504 20191214_104954

The famous LOVE sculpture is also located there…20191214_105820After hiking around the grounds for over an hour, it was time to head back to the hotel so I could get ready for dinner, so I enjoyed another hour of sunbathing on the balcony and as the evening drew close, I was thrilled to see these amazing clouds that went from soft fluffy white cotton balls to gold. 20191214_161513 20191214_172133Dinner was amazing – I went back to Merci French Cafe to try their Beef Bourguignon and it didn’t disappoint. I’ve never tasted anything so good. Mmmmmm. 20191214_181436Tomorrow, Sunday, I’ll be enjoying brunch with friends AJ and Tom.  AJ’s pneumonia was finally on the mend so he is making the heroic effort to get dressed up and come downtown where we’ll celebrate an early Christmas.

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Adventures in Scottsdale Old Town – Pt.I

Having had such a wonderful time there last spring, I decided to again visit the friendly Old Town Scottsdale as a Christmas/birthday gift to myself – and it was the bestest gift ever! Last time I stayed with my old Aussie mate, AJ, with whom I worked at a Toronto TV station back in 1999; this time I booked myself into the Holiday Inn Express Suites (pictured below) located close to all the tourist action and very affordable for an 8-day stay.20191218_113254 20191218_113219I took a late night flight out of Toronto and arrived at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport around midnight and after a 15 minute cab ride, checked in and slept until dawn, and this is what I saw when I pulled the drapes back in the morning…..sunshine,palm trees and the pool!!20191213_162438After a quick breakfast, my Day One adventures commenced…the hotel offers a courtesy van that takes you to and from whatever destination you request within a 3 mile radius and my first trip was straight into the touristy hub where I dropped in to say hello to Diana at the Scottsdale Jewels store where I previously purchased some great bling…I wonder if she would remember me?20191212_110646You betcha she remembered! What joy to be welcomed back with a big hug. Diana showed me lots of new fine pieces, native American handcrafted silver and gems and yes, I did quite a bit of shopping there including rings, earrings and even some mini Kachina dolls (currently sitting on my kitchen island bar, waiting to be located somewhere special along with some Navajo “fetishes” I picked up at the Gilbert Ortega Gallery).20191221_175325There’s so much to see, try on and buy at Scottsdale Jewels and Diana is always happy to give shoppers a tour of the turquoise, silver, coral, spiny oyster and even introduce you to the bears!20191212_110609 20191212_11115220191212_11061820191212_110604 20191212_111200Check out their website: www.scottsdalejewels.com and if you visit, tell Diana (and the bears) I said hi!

Next, it was down a couple of doors to the wonderful Mexican Imports souvenir store…so much fun & soooo much to see. Picked up a few souvenirs and the lovely ladies there remembered me from my previous visit. They have very affordable trinkets and nic-nacs. You can see more on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MexicanImports20191212_134155

Time for a sit down and a latte and I was thrilled to discover Barista Brothers, a modest little cafe & gelato shop run by fellow Aussie, Chase. When Aussies connect, it’s time for a real chin-wag (chat) about back home, what we miss food-wise, etc. and he was kind enough to let me sit and upload pics & posts to my social media…thanks, mate.20191212_140039More wandering around, checking out all the touristy stuff, before finding somewhere for a late lunch…20191212_142607 20191212_143223 20191212_142632…and lunch was fabulous at the kitschy but deelish Sugar Bowl diner- a legend for frugal foodies!20191212_144603 20191212_144834I had the turkey dinner special with all the fixin’s, thanks to recommendations from fellow tourists I met outside. Looked like something out of Happy Days…all pink vinyl banquettes and kitchen chairs – I definitely recommend a visit. www.sugarbowlscottsdale.com/

Once my hunger was sated, it was time to head back to the hotel and get ready for “Art Walk” in the evening – every Thursday during the cooler months, the gallery district hosts open galleries and artist studios, welcoming art lovers  with wine & cheese soirees, live music on the street and all sorts of “meet the artist” events. Oh my, there must be at least 50 indie galleries in a 3 or 4 block area, all offering contemporary and native American paintings, sculptures and stunning hand-crafted jewellery and silver work. So much to see and photograph, although the dark night and modest illuminations made it difficult to really capture the colour and energy of the event…but here goes:
20191212_193751 20191212_194757 20191212_201652I started at the Wilde Meyer gallery (below) where I had already purchased a miniature I saw online a couple of months back (see last pic in this series) – they have lots of beautiful works on display so join me on a photographic tour of their gallery:20191212_19221920191212_19234220191212_19231220191212_19251320191212_19270320191212_19253420191212_19245620191212_193248Thanks, Laura, for greeting me and wrapping up my darling little saguaro cactus painting for a safe trip home.  www.wildemeyer.com

I also loved visiting the R.C. Gorman gallery featuring the work of the late artist of the same name. And I fell hard for the local Navajo fine jewellery – I just had to buy a beautiful ring that kept calling my name! www.rcgormannavajogallery.com20191215_13503120191215_13495620191215_13501520191218_150712I must have spent nearly 3 hours wandering the streets that night, stopping to enjoy the music from artists such as Mike Randall pictured below doing his best Buddy Holly, along with his lovely lady in the most beautiful red & white poodle skirt.  www.comebackbuddy.com
20191212_190645 20191212_194518 20191212_193903Thanks to all the gallery owners & curators, artists and entertainers – I had a blast meeting you and dropping a few $s into the local economy, too!  Back to the hotel for a well-earned rest, all set for the next day’s adventures….

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RIDIN’ THE RAILS WITH CANADIAN DAYTRIPPERS!

Yesterday, the sun was shining bright as I joined up with the folks from Canadian Daytrippers to enjoy a railway trip along the York-Durham scene railroad. As the coach wound it’s way thru country roads, the passengers were lively and full of anticipation…

It only took about an hour to reach the rail-head in Uxbridge where we were set to depart for a 2hr trip with a 3-course luncheon served in vintage Pullman coaches.20191023_131122 20191023_13115220191023_160828There were several vintage trains and carriages on show in the rail yard (above) – who doesn’t LOVE trains??
We were soon off and running after a very careful boarding of those passengers with physical challenges. The railway station offers a special hoist for wheelchairs and walkers so everybody was able to enjoy the trip. We were greeted by the friendly staff who came around ensuring that our menu choices were confirmed – steak or salmon…mmm, yummy.20191023_142051Then off we rolled, gently winding our way throughout the York-Durham region countryside. Sadly, the sun disappeared behind a bank of clouds so the fall colours did not “pop” and the scenery took on a somewhat grey pall. But the company was animated and full of good humour, swapping travel tales, family histories, embarrassing situations and silly stories – nobody seemed to mind the unfortunate lack of scintillating scenery.  But when I checked out my photos later, I noticed that many of my pics took on an almost Impressionist-like feel…see what I mean:20191023_144744 20191023_144419 20191023_144827 20191023_145135As we chowed down, I noticed one of the passengers who REALLY enjoyed her lunch..20191023_145207More lovely countryside views on the home-bound leg of the trip, and as we pulled back into the Uxbridge station, we went past the legendary Ontario Northland carriages..20191023_15104320191023_161106All good things must come to an end so we alighted with laughter, smiles….. and several satisfied burps!20191023_161421Big thank you to all the railway staff, and especially our charming (and very patient) tour guide, Debbie, from Canadian Daytrippers (below).20191023_163019If you’d like to learn more about Toronto day trips with this groovy group that caters to seniors/zoomers, visit their website at: www.canadiandaytrippers.com. They offer evening group trips to theatre festivals, Niagara Falls events and unique experiential trips to the country…like this train journey, or the Muskoka Lake cruise I wrote about last month. See you on the bus!!

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CRUISING ABOARD THE “LADY MUSKOKA” VIEWING LUXURY WATERFRONT HOMES & COZY FAMILY CABINS

What a restful way to spend a late summer day out in cottage country. Last week I spied an intriguing ad in the Toronto Star promoting lunch cruises (2 3/4 hrs) with convenient coach pick-up in Toronto, courtesy of www.canadiandaytrippers.com  So I decided to join other like-minded folks and enjoy a leisurely trip and a fabulous 3-course luncheon aboard the Lady Muskoka.20190920_131040After about a one and 1/2hr drive north of Toronto, we arrived dockside to find our boat waiting, all decked out with flowers and food, courtesy of the chef from the adjacent Quality Inn. Bus was parked, a quick refresher in the hotel’s loos then off we went.20190920_132300As we chugged along the channel out into the lake, we were served a delicious selection of main courses, with a yummy fresh salad to start; they need to bottle and sell that salad dressing…yum! I chose grilled rainbow trout as my main course and it was…mmmmmm…so good. The mashed potatoes were the best I’d tasted in years! Sorry, no food pics ‘coz all my plates disappeared very quickly…haa haa.  I chose a great seat next to a big open picture window so I was able to snap away as the scenery went by. 20190920_142833 20190920_151243Lunch service completed, guests scurried up the gangway to the top deck to take in the full glory of Lake Muskoka and what a view we had…

The late summer sun was glorious and we all enjoyed the breeze coming off the water.20190920_15302620190920_151842 20190920_152309 20190920_154143After cruising around the vastness of the main lake, our captain guided us through some small channels, visiting the cozy more traditional Canadian cabins…20190920_153720 20190920_16191920190920_162529 20190920_162543Even  Bambi and his mum came out to greet us. I couldn’t believe these deer posed for us without darting back into the wood. I spied them as the boat came round a bend and everyone got their cameras and phones out…snap snap snap. I also alerted fellow sailors to some wild turkeys waddling across one cottage garden, fattening themselves up for Thanksgiving dinner…yummmm!

It was a great way to spend the day visiting all the little islands and fancy-schmancy homes lining the giant lake. Big thank you to the bus driver and Debbie, our guide and hostess-with-the-mostest from Canadian Day Trippers. Their one day get-aways are geared to seniors of all physical abilities (loved seeing all the kindness and care given those a little less physically adept) but everyone became “kids goin’ to camp” with lots of laughter and great conversations. I’ve found my tribe!  Next trip will be on the York-Durham Heritage Railway in late October to view the fall colours throughout the Oakridges Moraine. I cannot wait so why not join me?  www.canadiandaytrippers.com20190920_153159

 

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VISITING MY ANCIENT RELATIVES AT THE ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM

It’s been a while since I took a spin around the galleries at Toronto’s ROM and as I’d been given a “golden ticket” to view the Treasures of a Desert Kingdom: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India (selected photos at end of blog) exhibition, I decided to capitalize on the all-access pass and take in some of my favourite displays, in particular the Etruscans (from whom I believe I am descended), the ancient Romans & Greeks, followed by the European 15th – 20th centuries for good measure. 20190816_131117 20190816_131354There were some exquisite jewellery displays of Etruscan baubles I’d never previously viewed – now I know from where I get my passion for carnelians & garnets…20190816_131723 20190816_132951 20190816_13294120190816_131423 20190816_131510Moving thru the various centuries of ancient civilization, so many great photo opps presented themselves….20190816_131645 20190816_131225 20190816_132135The Athena Parthenos (above) is recreated here with a model worshiper (bottom right) to show the original scale of this magnificent Greek goddess statue. And I loved the Cypriot busts (below) – the laurel crowned fellow on the right looks like he’s just been told an off-colour joke!20190816_132451Through a set of doors and around a corner, I spied the “In the Age of Rembrandt” exhibition so I flashed my VIP pass and in I went…20190816_133126Such beauty and elegance…several Dutch masters painting during the same era as Rembrandt are featured and as you pass thru the exit of this gallery, you’re bade farewell by a pair of Rembrandt’s stunning portraits…20190816_133253 20190816_13335920190816_133827I then proceeded into more recent centuries and viewed the room-scapes set up so visitors can get a taste of furnishings and lifestyles from the Tudors to the mid-20th century.20190816_134136 20190816_134217 20190816_134402 20190816_134507 20190816_135349Don’t you just love these mid-century modern chairs (above)? And haven’t we all had our bums in some of these seats, too?

Now back to the Indian exhibit – it closes Sept. 2nd and it’s well worth the museum entry fee just to see it. Stunning artworks, furnishings, royal jewellery & costumes…so much to admire and wonder at.20190816_123245 20190816_123306 20190816_123625 20190816_123639 20190816_124832 20190816_12514220190816_125426Check out the Royal Ontario Museum’s website for hours & directions: www.rom.on.ca/en