Archives: travels

fall fairs

We went to the Rockton World’s Fair over the weekend.  It was my first experience at a small town agricultural fair, and I absolutely loved it!  This year marked the 169th year of the Rockton Fair with its first fair ever held October of 1852.  The 169th year of the fair brought with it some robust livestock from sheep (of multiple varieties) to baby chicks, beehives, cows, horses, ducks, geese and other fowl.  The day was a surreal picture perfect fall day with sunshine, blue skies, square dancing, apple cider, candy apples, homemade deep fried donuts, demolition derbys (I can’t believe I missed the mini van mash up derby!) and the classic midway.

Agriculture is the highlight of the fair and education of agriculture is our objective.

The objective was accomplished. There were many blue ribbons to be awarded to the livestock owners; ranging from preteens to old breeding pros and legends from the surrounding area.

Rockton World's Fair ground, maple tree, fall, leaves changing,

Rockton World's Fair, fall fair, agricultural fair, dairy, cow,

sheep, livestock, turkey, wool, Rockton World's Fair, fall fair, agricultural fair,

judgin sheep, livestock, Rockton World's Fair, fall fair, agricultural fair

Rockton World's Fair, midway, fall fair, ice-cream truck

Rockton World's Fair, midway, fall fair, ferris wheel,

We made for an early start to the fair and by the time we were headed back the streets and highways leading to the fairgrounds were jammed and at a near standstill.  If you plan on going next year beware of lots of traffic and parking madness especially if you’re heading in time for the lunch time rush.  You could also opt for the multiple free shuttle buses that leave from downtown Hamilton heading straight for the fair.


Oh, Paris… Paris, Ontario that is. A few weeks back Steve and I stopped by the small town of Paris, Ontario. The town is 160 years old and is at the cross section of two major southern Ontario rivers; the Grand River, and the Ninth River.

The Grand River, Paris, Ontario

Although Paris is beautiful, it is not, as one might think, named after la belle ville de Paris because of its notable elegance and beauty.  In fact, the town of Paris, Ontario actually bares no resemblance or connection to Paris, France whatsoever.  Its name actually came to be as a result of the large amounts of gypsum found in the area, which is used in the making of plaster of Paris.  It is also the location of where the first long distance telephone call was received by Alexander Graham Bell.

Oh, Paris you do not cease to amaze me!

Spring TIme in Paris, Ontario

Spring time in Paris as the sign connotes would be beautiful.  But I would chance a guess that fall in Paris, Ontario would be just as picturesque.  The river is lined with trees, and is banked with a row of old buildings that overlook the Grand.  I remember when I took the train in to visit Steve at his artist residency in Windsor going by Paris and thinking to myself that I definitely wanted to stop through this charming town.

If you do ever find your way to Paris, Ontario in fall, spring or summer, you can rent a canoe or kayak and do some river cruising, while enjoying the scenery.  There are also the rail trails that extend from Hamilton to Brantford and then Brantford to Paris.  I saw a lot of bikers on the Paris rail trail as we made our way out of town.

Grand Experience Canoe & Kayaking, Paris, Ontario, boat rentals, Grand River

One of the best parts of our trip to Paris were the treats!  I had a black cherry ice-cream from the ice-cream shop across from the Canadian Tire that had been retrofitted into a historic old building (why can’t more cities do this!).  We picked up some sweet and delicious treats form the Paris Bakery for the road.

The Paris Bakery, Paris, Ontario, baked goods, treats, Grand River

Then we went for a coffee at the Brown Dog Coffee and Frittery.

Brown Dog Coffee Shop & Frittery

Brown Dog Coffee & Frittery, Grand River, Paris, Ontario, deepfried cheese cake, deep fried banana split

Yes, yes you can! You can get apple fritters, cheese cake fritters, and a banana split fritter!

hand crank apple peeler, Brown Dog Coffee & Frittery, Paris, Ontario

Brown Dog Coffee & Frittery, Paris, Ontario, Waterdown, apple fritters

Fresh apple fritters!  What a fantastic fall treat.  Coincidentally the city of Waterdown as of September 23rd will be home to the 2nd 3rd Brown Dog Coffee & Frittery.  So this means that I’m just that much closer to having fresh apple fritters paired with super amazing coffee on a more regular basis.  Mmmmm.

*Brown Dog Coffee Shoppe & Frittery, 63 Grand River St., Paris, ON, 519.302.0722

*Brown Dog Coffee Shoppe & Frittery, 312 Dundas St., Waterdown, ON.

weddings galore

The month of September has been a wedding extravaganza.

Our first wedding of the month was Steve’s sister’s wedding, and I loved that my duties for this wedding included flower arranging and making boutonnieres!  Such a fun responsibility to be given.  The bride’s mother and multiple friends of hers planned ahead and grew an assortment of flowers, greenery, and wild grasses that would still be in bloom for early fall.

homegrown flowers, centre pieces, boutonniere, wedding

Making boutonnieres wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be.  It requires the following materials: flowers, greenery, scissors, floral tape, ribbon, pins, a glue gun, a water spritzer and some ziplock plastic bags.  First pick a small grouping of flowers for your boutonniere.  Wrap the stems with the floral tape (you can wrap all the way down the stems or leave some stems with a straight cut hanging out to be seen), then wrap ribbon, and add a dab of hot glue to make the ribbon stay, secure it with a pin, spritz the flowers with water, place it in the ziplock bag, blow in some air, seal the bag, and keep in a cooler or fridge until ready to use.  Voila!

homegrown flowers, arranging, centre pieces, boutonniere
homegrown flowers, DIY boutonniere, flower arranging
homegrown flowers, DIY boutonniere, wedding, flower arrangements
homegrown flowers, flower arranging, DIY bridal bouquet

This was the bridal bouquet. I love the lavender and the fact that all the flowers were local and homegrown (a request specifically made by the bride -nice one).

homegrown flowers, wedding, table centre pieces, mason jars

Table centre pieces housed in a collection of family and friend's mason jars.

homegrown flowers, DIY table centre pieces, early September fall wedding

A super cute touch to the table setting. The bride's collections of vintage postcards were used to indicate table numbers.

vintage postcards, table centre piece, table number, wedding

vintage postcards, DIY table numbers, wedding

vintage postcards, table numbers, wedding,

vintage themed wedding, card & gift table, card box, wedding

gin cocktails, wedding cocktail hour drinks

croquet, wedding lawn games


The second wedding was in upstate New York in the Catskill mountains.  The trip started off wonderfully with a scenic drive through the most dairy farms I’ve ever seen on one winding stretch of road, gorgeous old manner homes with wrap-around verandas, antiques galore, and delicious stops for ice-cream.  We were so stoked for the rest of the drive, until we hit the end of a stretch of highway, that was closed due to extreme flooding.  We ended up having to reroute nearly 3/4′s of the rest of the way to avoid washed out bridges and overflowing rivers.  Three days of torrential downpour had devastated many of the small towns in the area.  Luckily we made it to the wedding ceremony (just barely on time) unscathed, dry and ready to soak in the beautiful Catskill mountain views.

antique, vintage toys, upstate New York, Warsaw, NY,

Catskill mountain range, upsate NY,

old barns, upstate NY

old Victorian home, upsate New York, Catskills

wedding pre-drink, men's shoes, & socks

flower & mason jars, wedding, flower arrangements, DIY

cross stitch, sunflowers, wedding

I really want to head back to this area to enjoy more small town road stops, antiquing and local food sampling.  If I have the time one fall, I may just make another trip down when the dangers of flooding will not be an issue.

We’ve still got 1 more wedding to go before the end of September!

antiques & breakfast

Antiques and greasy breakfast go so well together.  While we were in Kingston to see the Wolfe Island Music Festival, we visited  friends, went to the antique market at Market Square, and dined at the Right Spot for a delicious greasy breakfast.

Kingston antique market, view finder

Kingston antique market, antique tins

Kingston antique market, antique tricycle

Kingston antique market, antique stadium seats, antique theatre seats

Kingston antique market, bicycle

Right Spot Restaurant, diner, greasy spoon, greasy breakfast, Kingston, Ontario

Right Spot Restaurant, diner, greasy spoon, greasy breakfast, Kingston, Ontario

I ordered French toast and home fries (sorry no picture). Their home fries are thinly sliced medallions, griddle fried in bacon grease to a crisp golden brown perfection. My French toast was crispy and savoury (from bacon grease) on the outside, but soft and sweet, melt in my mouth on the inside.

Right Spot Restaurant, diner, greasy spoon, greasy breakfast, Kingston, Ontario

Right Spot Restaurant, diner, greasy spoon, greasy breakfast, Kingston, Ontario

The owners are a sweet couple that run the place (just the two of them).  I will be sad if I ever come to Kingston and I see that they’ve retired and the place is closed down.  I hope that there’s someone to carry on their delicious tradition of making the yummiest, cheapest, greasy breakfast in town.

*Right Spot, 171 Wellington St, Kingston, Ontario. 613.546.0767

mid summer cottaging

Going to cottages on non-weekend days is the best.  Since everyone else is still working it feels like a real holiday and you get to avoid the regular summer cottage traffic.

The muffalletta sandwich is a super delicious, easy to make and take cottage or picnic food.  This one is stuffed with an assortment of roasted veggies, grated fresh beets, a variety of olives, capers, salami, cheese, arugula, bacon and artichoke hearts.

wolfe island music festival

On the weekend we went to Kingston to check out the 2 day Wolfe Island Music Festival.  Considering it’s their 13th annual, it’s still as sweet and charming as ever and has yet to explode like Hillside has.

Wilderling, Wolfe Island Music Festival 2011, Kingston, Montreal indie band

We arrived by ferry (free!) to the island at about 1pm on the Saturday.  Plenty of room to set up a blanket, picnic, enjoy the sun, take naps, snack and listen to some amazing music.  My band highlights of the day were Wilderling and Forest City Lovers.

Wolfe Island Music Festival 2011, Kingston, vintage camera

Wolfe Island Music Festival 2011, camping, windmill

Wolfe Ilsand Music Festival program 2011, Kingston

Plants & Animals, Wolfe Island Music Festival 2011

Wolfe Island Music Festival 2011, baked goods


Last weekend we visited the Aberfoyle Antique market on a hot and gorgeous summer day.  For the small price of $2 per person we were granted access to more antiques than you could ever dream of.  There were some good bargains, while some vendors were looking to fetch a pretty penny.  We bought some old postcards to add to our growing collection, a steel grate that we will use as our cold air return floor grate (we were happy for the find because old grates are hard to come by), and two steel outdoor chairs that I love.

Aberfoyle Antique Market

blue metal antique chairs, Aberfoyle Antique Market

We picked up these 2 metal chairs for $35 each for our backyard. I love their seafoam bluey green colour.

colourful vintage antique chairs, Aberfoyle Antique Market

antique, vintage knick knacks, figurines, Aberfoyle Antique Market

antique game, Aberfoyle Antique Market

vintage paperback, mystery novel, Fiery Fingers

vintage, antique books, Aberfoyle Antique Market

vintage 60's & 70's casserole dishes, Aberfoyle Antique Market

yellow, red, metal, letters & numbers, Aberfoyle Antique Market

letter press numbers, and letters, Aberfoyle Antique Market

Hamilton antique steel metal plates, Aberfoyle Antique Market

old globes, Aberfoyle Antique Market

vintage pez dispensers, Aberfoyle Antique Market

The Aberfoyle market is open every Sunday 8am-4pm, starting generally from the last Sunday of April to the last Sunday of October, rain or shine.

*Aberfoyle Antique Market, 57 Brock Rd. south, Guelph, 519.763.1077


One of the best things about visiting Windsor is going to Detroit.  So while on my visit to Windsor, Steve and I went for yet another bit of rust belt city exploration (for more rustiness see my post on Buffalo).  We opted to take a 5 minute tunnel bus from Windsor across the border and were dropped off by downtown Detroit’s riverside.  Our bus driver told us that we were just in time for Detroit’s Downtown Hoedown.  I had no idea what that was but at barely noon there was already a long line up of country hoedowners waiting to get into the festival.  We stopped back at the hoedown for a rest at the end of the day, after having wandered through the gorgeous buildings of downtown Detroit.  I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for some pre-summer festival food; BBQ ribs, and funnel cake.

Detroit skyline from Windsor

Skyline view of Detroit from Windsor. A very city-like landscape in comparison to Windsor's low lying skyline.

Detroit sidewalk

I do have to say that Detroit is beautiful.  Apparently it has even been known as the Paris of the US.  There is some gorgeous architecture, and detail to the old skyscraper buildings.  Promenade-wide sidewalks line the wall of buildings alluding to some past grandiose time in Detroit’s history.  We mainly stuck to Woodward Avenue and it’s neighbouring side streets.   The avenue was once known as one of the premier shopping areas in the US.  In 1925 the intersection of Woodward and State even documented having over a million people crossing in an 18 hour period.  A drastic difference in comparison to the bleak number of people on the streets that day.  Anyone we did see on the street was clearly headed for the hoedown.

Detroit Downtown Synagogue

downtwon Detroit buildings


Like Hamilton, I do see a lot of potential for a Detroit urban renaissance.  There’s something fantastic about the already beautifully laid out landscape of this established city.  The downtown building density is ripe for prime urban living, people just have to start moving in.

Detroit clock

decorative, ornate, buildings Detroit

Aretha Franklin, graffitti, Detroit

Peoples Records Detroit

Record store with boxes and boxes of 45's of Detroit soul music.


My favourite stop of they day was to the Motown Museum.  A bit out of the way of downtown; we had to catch at taxi.  The cab driver; born and raised in Detroit, had never heard of the “Motown Museum” but when it was concluded we meant the Motown house we were on our way.  The cab driver was awesome and even joined us for the tour.  We had the most captivating tour guide and on several occasions he’d have the whole tour of about 40 people singing, dancing, hand clapping and finger snapping out classic Motown hits.

Motown House, Motown museum, Detroit, motown, hitsville USA

Me as I was just finding out that I had broken the zoom of my camera lens. In front of me is our cab driver taking a photo of Hitsville USA, post tour.


I went to visit Steve in Windsor, where he was doing a month long artist residency through the University of Windsor.  While visiting, I stayed in Steve’s short-term living accommodations in Sandwich Town (best name for a town ever!).  It is actually a part of the city of Windsor and  boasts some of the oldest buildings in the area.  Sandwich has some big ol’ beautiful houses, and they reminded me a little of what I would imagine grand manors in New Orleans to look like. The entire area of Sandwich Town had a whole different kind of feel to it that made me feel like I was a lot further away from home than just a 3 hour train ride.

Similar to Hamilton, Windsor’s is struggling through its own post-industrial era and as a result parts of the city have most definitely seen better days.  The downtown was pretty quiet and empty, except for an unexpected mid afternoon Sikh parade that had somehow beautifully integrated Scottish bagpipes with some traditional Sikh drumming.  An all together weird and unique experience of  Windsor’s downtown.

Steve Newberry, art, studio, Windsor

Steve’s art studio space in Windsor.  Great light, and so much room!

magnolia in full bloom, Windsor

Being the most southern area of Canada, spring was about two weeks ahead over in Windsor.  Trees were in full bloom.

Ambassador Bridge, Windsor to Detroit

Story goes that a second bridge was in the works to be built right next to the existing Ambassador Bridge to accommodate for the high traffic between Windsor and Detroit.  Houses along the area where the bridge was to be built were bought up, and then everything was put on hold.  The plans for the bridge have been stalled due to some controversial opposition and a law suit against the US and Canadian government from the owner of the Ambassador Bridge; 83 year old Manuel “Matty” Maroun (or as one of our cab drivers called him Matty “Moron”).  As a result the entire street for about 5-6 blocks, where the proposed bridge was to be built has all the houses boarded right up, lowering the property value of neighbouring houses and causing a bit of a fascinating yet eerie eye-sore.  How does this kind of thing happen?

abandoned house, Indian Road, Windsor

abandoned houses, Indian Road, Windsor

We decided to check out the Art Gallery of Windsor on one of the rainier days that I was visiting.  Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures of their current exhibitions.  But regardless here a few photos of some of the spaces I was allowed to photograph.

Art Gallery of Windsor, contemporary art

Art Gallery of Windsor, paper cranes, origami

it’s been a while

It has been a while since I’ve visited you blog as it has been a crazy and busy last two weeks.  I will post some pictures soon from my trip to Detroit and Windsor.  But in the mean time here are a couple of shots of the VIA train that I took to Windsor.  I love trains! I wish that trains were more of an accessible and frequently used means of transportation here in Canada.

VIA train to Windsor

VIA train to Windsor

spring greenery train side view


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