” O CANADA”

We had a fairly simple plan; too simple it turned out!

Following our two month visit to Gettysburg we planned a one month stay in Chicago, renting a two bedroom apartment in “Old Town” Chicago. We made this plan as we wanted to have an urban experience living downtown in a large city to get a feel for metropolitan life.

Timing was such that we had 8 days to spend from the expiration of our Gettysburg apartment and the beginning of our Chicago stay.

Our plan was to drive due north to the Thousands Islands Bridge that crosses the St. Lawrence River from upstate New York to Kingston, Ontario. We wanted to explore Ontario stopping at Kingston, Parry Sound, and Sault Ste. Marie before dropping down to Chicago through Wisconsin. Not the usual trip to Chicago.

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Since this was to be a  multi-month trip, we packed our travel kitchen which includes spices, our omelette pan, favorite kitchen tools, and kitchen knives that we would use not only in Chicago but also on the subsequent trip to Bodega Bay, California.

We also decided to stop by our favorite wine store and pick up two cases of our favorite wines.  It seems that we had forgotten that Canada is a foreign country that has some minor issues with their southern neighbors bring in beverages that they have not had the opportunity to tax.

We proudly handed our brand new passports over to the serious looking uniformed young man who immediately told us to remove our sunglasses. Ok, not a real good start but as he ran through the usual questions all was fine. Then he got to Alcohol and Tobacco. No problem with the tobacco but when I told him we had two cases of wine he winced and said “TWO CASES?”. I explained the trip to the wine store and that we really did not think about it. Informing us that we were only allowed 1.5 litres and directing us to the cashiers line, he actually got a bit of a smile on his otherwise stern face. I mean after all, we are Americans! The cashier also gave us a break, when we told her the value in American dollars she said she would give us a break and call it Canadian Dollars.

That savings of 74% still cost us $90 CD. Our favorite wines cost us a bit more than expected.

069The Rosemount B&B was to be our home for the next 3 days as we explored Kingston. Originally the Capital of Upper Canada; meaning it was farther up the river, it grew into a prosperous city, heavily populated by Loyalists after the start of the American Revolution. 098Those loyal to the crown packed up and moved to Canada.

The night time photo shows why this home is on the local ghost tour. I went out to the car one night and found myself the subject of discussion by a group of tourists looking for ghosts

Kingston is a beautiful town, a university city with several notable campus.072071As usual, we found great places to eat and drink.

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After the War of 1812, England highly fortified this town as it was the confluence of three major waterways and they expected the Americans to attack here to cut off their expansion into the Great Lakes and Mississippi River. The forts pictured here worked, most don’t088 America never invaded, we just stole what we wanted from the indians cutting out dealing with the Brits.082We took a lovely boat tour of the “Thousand Islands” and found several little cottages that would work quite fine..but we did not buy. Not quite ready yet!084We have often looked at places with a view of “Could we live here?” The answer on Kingston, Ontario is yes! If we end up in Florida, which is possible, an escape from the summer heat and humidity in Ontario could be nice.

Our next stop was Parry Sound, Ontario. We stayed at a lovely B&B and had a great dinner but you will find no pictures here. This beautiful piece of the world was shrouded in rain and fog the entire time.

We then drove west to Sault Ste Marie for a three night stay at the Algoma Water Tower Suites; “a suite for the price of a room” is their motto. A lovely place but I actually expected rooms in a water tower but it was just a nice hotel right next to a rather large water tower.  Easy to find the hotel though!

We knew we were in Canada when we went into a sporting goods store..IMG_2730and found hockey helmets instead of baseball caps and bats. We took a very enjoyable train excursion into the wilderness north of “The Soo”IMG_2729Discovering the Ontario version of Bridal veil falls122And got our first look at Lake Superior.100We saw a really interesting hydroelectric plant where to water was funneled through tubes that were visible. 110

Not a big plant, but the tour announced that it supplied one third of the electric supply for Sault Ste. Marie.  Pretty 149133impressive! The train took us through serious wilderness and we saw beautiful rivers
and wonderful flowers. Unfortunately, we did not see a moose;a black bear on the railroad tracks had to suffice.

When we left The Soo, it dawned on us that we would have to take the two cases of wine (less a few bottles) back into the States. Fortunately, the US border folks thought we had already paid too much duty and let us pass.

We drove down through Wisconsin to Chicago but had to stop first in Escanaba, Michigan to have lunch and pose for a cherished friend Howard in front of a candy store.IMG_1227 We will report next from “Old Town” Chicago where we will live for the month of September.