Monday morning we caught the first flight out on Southwest into Buffalo. We rented a car (they originally said Chevy Aveo but we got a Chevy HHR which is ugly as sin but more comfortable and spacious) and drove to Toronto.
There we rented bikes through Bixi Bike (rec of a partner at work) and explored the city a little. We mostly covered the area along Lake Ontario, most specifically this little harbor type spot. It really reminded me of Sydney, especially with the CN Tower there in the background (right behind our heads, other pics have the whole tower in it). Then back in the rental car and up Yonge Street toward the highway. On Yonge we passed through an area that reminded us of Times Square and another that reminded me of Brookline. It was like Toronto was a patchwork quilt of Sydney, New York and Boston. Loved it.
Then up to the lakehouse with Mike for a relaxing grilled dinner. (FYI the lakehouse is owned by our good family friends and we totally just crashed the hubby, Mike's last week of his extended summer vacation. Very kind of them. Thanks y'all!) When we got there the first thing Ross and I both exclaimed was "there's water in that lake!" And I mean real, up-to-the-shore water unlike the little puddle that is Lake Travis. I guess it really is the little things huh?
Tuesday we slept in and then headed to Fenelon Falls to hike the Victoria Rail Trail, an old railroad trail turned into a hike-n-bike (shout out to Sally for the rec). The Victoria Rail Trail was lovely. Compared to last year's Rocky Mountain hiking it was definitely more of a walk but was lakeside and so pretty. Oh and it was a perfect 85-ish, enough that we broke a little bit of a sweat after an hour+ of walking but still very comfortable.
All good and sweaty from our walk, we grabbed lunch at a little spot on the canal there in town. We get to our table outside on the porch and are very surprised to realize we're right on the Fenelon Falls. Like the waterfall.
Back to the lakehouse for an outdoors workout together...we think the neighbors thought we were doing some kind of rain dance when they walked by our arm circles but they spoke French so...eh, whatever. They'll just think Mike and Brenda have some pretty strange friends. And wrapped up the evening with happy hour, another relaxing dinner and board games with cocktails well into the evening.
Wednesday we woke up to crap-tastic weather. Rain. (I guess here in Austin we would say we woke up to a miracle but on vacation, crap-tastic.) We had plans to go walk this crazy suspension bridge over a forest and then hit up a local beach. The rain looked like it might not extend as far away as both those so we gave it a shot. OMG we could barely see the car in front of us. We made it a little more than halfway, grabbed lunch and since it was still raining with no signs of slowing, threw in the towel. We spent the rest of the afternoon lazing around reading, playing cards and such. It did eventually clear up and we busted out with the telescope for some awesome star gazing.
Thursday Mike took us out on the boat. I can't tell you enough how beautiful the lake was! Such green foliage around the shore, such a big open, full-of-water lake to play on. It was great! We also stopped for some absolutely fantastic moose tracks ice cream on our adventure. Fantastic I tell you.
Then we helped load the boat up and get it on shore for the winter. Next door to the neighbor's for happy hour (lovely neighbors all of them). A few nights before one of the neighbors told me he'd been to 22 US states. After my Seattle trip soon I'll have been to 23 (not counting ones I just drove through, that's hardly fair). When I told him this, he whooped me by saying he'd been to 39 countries which would be approximately 34 than me. But he is after all over 70 so I suppose it's OK.
We wrapped up our time at the lakehouse with dinner in Fenelon Falls at a place called The Boathouse and just check out that sunset will ya. Wow.
Friday morning we finally got up at a decent hour, unlike every morning before. Quickly packed our bags and the HHR and hit the road. We drove the 3 hours from the lakehouse to Niagara Falls, the Canada side.
Let me tell you, Niagara Falls is one of the most amazing sites you'll see. The sheer size! The volume of water! The power! It really blew us both away.
We had lunch at a Falls-side restaurant, The Keg, atop the Embassy Suites (thanks to Rae and Age for the rec). Great great great views (OK food). Then even though time was tight to get across the border and to the airport, we decided to make our way down right to the falls.
We got soaked. :)
But it was great! Ross even made a couple short videos of the Falls, one of which I have an awesome cameo in because I didn't realize he was making a video.
Then we raced back to to the car and headed for the border. We gave ourselves about an hour to get across (coming in to Canada we saw crazy traffic headed into the US). It took about 10 minutes. We got to the airport with time to spare and headed home.
(Tangent: With 60 minutes until our flight, I realized I left the Christmas ornament I bought in Niagara Falls in the rental car. That's what I collect from our trips so to not have it...well, that's just not OK. I called Alamo car rental, they found it in our rental car, and so I left Ross at the gate, sprinted out of the airport and to the Alamo desk. I got my $6 ornament and sprinted back to security. A security guard had known the scoop and told the lady at the priority line my story so they let me go straight up to the no-line security check point and get myself re-screened. I arrived back at the gate with 15 minutes to spare, a little sweaty and winded but with my ornament. Ross said I was insane.)
It was a great vacation. We had so much fun and came home so relaxed. It was different from Austin (ample water, green vegetation, under 90 degree days) in all the ways you want an August vacation location to be. So glad we went!
|View from lunch in Niagara Falls|