Friday, July 31, 2015

Let the Trip Begin!

Since I booked the trip "Eastern Canada and Newfoundland", the coach came past my town and picked me up near the highway. Stopping in Montreal allowed my friend and me to have a fabulous dinner at a restaurant called Europea which thankfully, I booked well in advance. All I can say is that it was a dining experience like none I've had in my life. The six course tasting menu option provided us with a whole evening of entertainment. Of course, I did a tripadvisor review but just to give you an idea, without giving away too many secrets, here are a few photos.

Off we went bright and early and after a surprise stop in Quebec City for lunch, on to Riviere-du-Loup to see some magnificent wood carvings. It was fascinating to speak with and hear stories of how one artisan got interested in doing this. I had a few favourite carvings reminiscent of my youth.

Our coach driver was terrific, stopped often, and allowed us opportunities to pick up groceries and snacks by doing shuttle runs for those who wanted them.

We ended another travel day with a down home kitchen party in Miramichi. What fun. You can join here...copy and paste this youtube site into your browser.

Maritime highlights for me truly began soon after, when we went on a cruise, learned to eat lobster, and crossed the Confederation Bridge.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Road Trips, Camping, and Now...

Isn't it a good thing that people all have different tastes and ideas on what makes a great vacation? I think too that people have changing ideas over a lifetime. Changes occur because of experiences, both good and bad or perhaps because of health issues.

A friend made me consciously aware that there will only be so many more trips during my remaining existence. After I thought about her statement, I came to realize that I'd better make those trips count. By that, I mean that I need to go to places that I really want to visit. 

Many people like driving trips combined with either camping, cabins, hotels, B&B's, or visiting family and friends. Others, acquire tents, cottages or trailers and happily do nothing but live in the wild performing all the same daily tasks that they do at home, only in less luxury. People with a bit more in resources, often opt for all inclusive hotel trips or special travel offers. I've done all of those and I think there was a time and place in my life where they each worked well.

I remember camping as a child. There was the weekly trek to North Gwillimbury Park on Lake Simcoe where we would meet with all the people in my parents' circle of friends. They'd sit around the campfire at night reminiscing, even though most were only in their late 20's and early 30's. Sometimes they'd criticize each other and often they'd give my parents advice on child rearing despite having no children of their own. In the mornings we'd peel the wet sides of the tent off our damp cold bodies, re-inflate the air mattresses, hang the sleeping bags next to the previous day's wet towels in the hopes that all would eventually dry. Nonetheless, there were many fun times.

Road trips with my parents were interesting enough and also involved camping.  We got to see all the scenic places that any adult would like to visit. Occasionally, we'd stop at an attraction that a child would enjoy and those were memorable...Santa's Village, Storybook Land, and Six Gun City come to mind.

As a young adult, tenting seemed to be an affordable alternative to any other accommodation. How lucky was I to have camped in the howling canyons of Oklahoma, amongst the bats in Arizona, with scorpions and tarantulas in New Mexico, and in the swamps of Florida? Because of my job, these trips were always in the lovely warm summer. Raising two young children made camping an affordable alternative as well.

At my current age, I have no further interest in less than stellar accommodations. I don't want to work while trying to have a vacation. I also don't care to drive, have deadlines, or try to find worthwhile activities along the way.

Recently, I came to the conclusion that a bus tour might be an interesting change and something, I'd never tried. Hence began my ideal seventeen day trip to the Maritimes. I have no idea when I became so interested in the east coast and Newfoundland. Perhaps it was the thought of lobsters, puffins, and friendly folks that tweaked my curiosity. Nonetheless, I booked and headed off on my Great Canadian adventure on July 10th of this year, while hubby opted for the opposite coast, family, camping, and a totally different set of adventures.

So here begins my most recent journey.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Lenah Field Fisher and Victoria Hall

I recently popped into Victoria Hall to take care of some business. As I walked by an open door, I was startled to hear a voice which seemed to summon me into the lovely council chambers.
Upon closer examination, I was fascinated to see a woman standing off to one side in the chambers. She wore a long dress and a large flowered hat and introduced herself as Lenah Field Fisher. I had no idea who she was but I immediately noticed a portrait of a woman with similar features on the wall. Could they be one in the same I wondered?
I stood in fascination as she described herself as a long time Cobourg citizen who had been born in the Dressler house, the same house where actress Marie Dressler had been born. In fact, Lenah's family had owned that very home. Her great grandfather had been an MPP for Northumberland West.

Despite seeming very lifelike, the figure that was speaking to me was not real, but rather an avatar. It was a projected image of an actress with recorded voice. How unusual it was to see this and to watch her describe her life.

I have since learned more about Lenah. She was a highly educated woman, graduating from OAC Guelph as a dietitian and completing post graduate studies in the U.S. In the 1950's, Lenah was a member of town council and eventually deputy reeve. In 1972, she began her campaign to save Victoria Hall, built in the 1850's, by donating $15,000 to a restoration fund. She essentially saved the building and the site from becoming a parking lot. Upon her death, her estate was donated to continue work on the lovely Victoria Hall.

I won't go into too much detail because most of it can be found on Google, but, during her lifetime, Lenah was awarded the Canada medal, becoming a member of the Order of Canada, and she was Cobourg citizen of the year.
As I left the historic building, I had a new appreciation for the large entrance way/rotunda of the hall, named after Lenah in recognition of her work. I now look at the wall plaques, the art and the architecture, with new appreciation.

Northumberland News shared an interesting article on Lenah and the actress who created her likeness.

Cobourg activist Lenah Field Fisher comes to life in heritage avatar   (copy and paste - I can't figure out how else to make this work)