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Category: Travel

Rhinebeck 2016 (part 1)

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We’re back from Rhinebeck! It was as amazing as I expected, though a little overwhelming on day one. It was like Christmas come early. I bought lots of yarn, pet lots of sheep, went to the Ravelry meetup, met lots of knitters, and had a generally wonderful time. We camped at Mills Norrie State Park, just a few miles from the fairgrounds, and that was a really great experience, with the exception of the cold and our tumultuous arrival. Due to a bunch of travel and car factors, we left later than we had hoped on Friday and ended up getting in late (around 11:00pm), and finding our campsite was a challenge in the dark, but thankfully some kind knitters pointed us in the right direction. It was also bitterly cold Friday night (around -1C – definitely too cold). I’m not sure what our plans are for next year, but the closeness to the fairgrounds (and avoiding the traffic across the bridge from Kingston) was fantastic.

This was by far the biggest festival I’ve been to – every time we thought we had seen all of the vendors, we came across a barn we hadn’t wandered through yet. I had a short list of things I wanted to check out, but nothing that I was really set on, so we tried to see everything and then make purchasing decisions. The only thing I really wanted but missed out on was a Jennie the Potter mug – we weren’t keen on waiting in line before opening in the cold, and I didn’t want to participate in the footrace I’d been warned about, and it was nice to start the morning with coffee and cider and a leisurely walk around the main buildings. The main buildings were pretty busy on Saturday morning, but since we were staying longer and weren’t set on any purchases, we just came back to the really crowded booths later in the day or on Sunday morning. Sunday morning was a lovely time to shop – the barns were really quiet, and it was lovely to chat with some of the vendors.

We also saw a cheesemaking demo, which was really neat and done by an interesting speaker, and saw some dog frisbee, flyball, and agility demos. We also spent lots of time looking at the sheep, goats, alpacas, and other animals in the barns. My favourites were a really friendly pair of sheep (I’ve forgotten the breed, though they might have been suffolk?) who just wanted us to rub their noses and pat their heads. One thing I was sad to miss was the used equipment auction, but I didn’t really have the budget to buy anything big, and it conflicted with both the Ravelry meetup and cheesemaking demo. Next year we’ll also make sure to leave more time for the food building. We only spent a few minutes there, but everything looked so good and there were lots of samples to try.

I had such a wonderful time – I’m already making plans and counting down the days until next year!

(Finished sweater and yarn pics to come in a seperate post later this week!)

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Niagara

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H and I spent last weekend visiting L in St Catherine’s, and we spent Saturday in Niagara seeing the falls and the parks around there. I hadn’t been since I was a kid, so I was excited to see the falls, and we arrived early enough that we missed the really big crowds. After seeing them, we walked along the Niagara Parkway and visited some of the gardens and the dufferin islands, which are connected by a bunch of bridges.

If we’d planned our day better, we might have bought bus passes ($8 or so for the day) or rented bikes and visited some of the museums and battlefields along the parkway. They’re about 20km or so from the falls, so even if you dedicate the day to walking (we walked over 15km), you don’t see lots of the interesting stuff that’s further out. Otherwise, there’s only about 4-5 hours of interesting stuff within walking distance (though there’s lots of touristy stuff on Clifton Hill if that’s your thing). On Sunday, before heading back to Toronto, we explored St Catherine’s a bit and then saw the boats and pretty houses in Thorald, which is just outside St Cat’s. It was such a cute town, though everything was closed since it was Sunday.

Overall, it was a great weekend – such a fun late summer trip!

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Bon Echo

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As I mentioned on Wednesday, I spent last weekend camping at Bon Echo Provincial Park with my family. We had a great time and the weather was absolutely beautiful, warm and sunny, except one stormy night and one chillier day. We spent lots of time at the lake and the beaches around the park, and rented canoes and kayaks one day, which was really easy and lots of fun. We stayed at the Hardwood Hills site, which is the most remote car camping site at Bon Echo. It was very pretty, and the sites were large and private, but it was also very buggy – deerflies and horseflies during the day, and loads of mosquitos at night, especially after the rain. Given how far the site is from the rest of the park (a 5-10 minute drive, not really walkable), I probably wouldn’t stay there with family again, though I might consider it with friends in the spring or the fall when the bugs would be better. It’s definitely the most secluded camping area – we were the only ones on our loop the second half of the trip, although most sites were occupied Friday – Sunday.

We preferred the south beach to the main beach. It’s mostly grass, not sand, but I’m not a big fan of sand anyhow and it was much quieter than the main beach. All of the beaches are on Mazinaw lake, and they’re sandy-bottomed and very gradual depth, perfect for swimming. My favourite part of the trip was our morning paddle out to the rock cliffs to see the petroglyphs and to the cliff top trail, which leads up one of the rock faces to a couple of beautiful lookouts. I managed to knit almost an entire sock, and finished a novel, which is a pretty good indication that I relaxed a bit and enjoyed myself!

The only real disappointment was the lack of update on the Parks Ontario website about the fire ban in the area of Bon Echo. It still hadn’t been updated upon our return, even though the ban had been going on for over a week, and it was really disappointing to have planned our meals around a fire and to have purchased firewood, only to find out about the ban upon arriving. The lack of smoke also didn’t help with the aforementioned bugs.

I hope you have all had a wonderful long weekend!

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Spring is coming… (Kingston City Greenhouse)

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I’ve been in Kingston visiting my parents this week and we noticed that the city greenhouses were open to the public today, so we went to take a look! I’d never been before, and although the Kingston greenhouses are much smaller than the Toronto ones (which I visited in the spring), they’ve got some nice areas set up for public viewing – a lot more like a public garden than simply a greenhouse. They were growing lots of flowers for spring displays, and most of them had just started to bloom. They were beautiful and it smelled so lovely in the greenhouse… a nice reminder that in spite of the snow on the ground, spring will be here soon enough!

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Presqu’ile.

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Our annual family camping trip to Presqu’ile provincial park was a few weeks ago, and it was, as always, lovely. Although we got some rain on the first and second days, the weather cooperated for the rest of the time and we spent some sunny afternoons at the pebble beach. We did some hiking, a bit of exploring, and ate too much ice cream. Overall, it was exactly the break I needed since my summer has been so crazy.

Happy Thursday!

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Pennsylvania in May

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(Valley Forge National Historic Park)

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(The Edgar Allan Poe House)

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(Downtown Philadelphia)

I’m a bit late uploading these… but in May, my dad and I drove down to Pennsylvania for a wedding and managed to squeeze in some tourist-y things before heading home. Valley Forge was definitely a highlight- it was like a combination of a museum, historic site, and park. We saw some interesting landmarks around the park and went for a quick hike- I’d definitely recommend it if you’re in the area.

I’ll actually be back in the US next week, in NYC this time. Any must-see recommendations? Best knitting shops?

I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend! Happy Sunday.

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In Spring.

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The last month has been crazy, but life is finally starting to settle down! We moved (and mostly unpacked), I went to Pennsylvania for a week for a wedding (more pictures to come), and I’ve been working an unimaginable number of hours on the secret project, which will not be a secret for much longer.

How has your spring been so far?

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Presqu’ile 2014

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We’re back from our family camping trip- tired, sunburnt, bug-bitten, but excited to be going back later in the summer! We spent 4 days at Presqu’ile Provincial Park. We got a bit of rain on Monday and Tuesday but managed to keep most of our stuff dry… most of the rain kindly waited until Tuesday evening when we were already home. Highlights this year included seeing baby snowy owls, hiking the Marsh Boardwalk trail and the Jobe’s Woods trail, and the variety of animal visits to our campsite (some interesting- a snapping turtle and a very friendly chipmunk, some troublesome- a skunk and a tenacious racoon).

I hope you all had a lovely weekend!

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