2019: A Year in Review - Part II: Our Travels

/
0 Comments
Trip to Tobermory

Before we start...if you haven't read Part I of my 2019 review, go here.

A few years ago, I wrote about the perception of the acceleration of time, that is, that time seems to pass by more quickly as we age.  Since then, I read that this can be explained by our brain activity.  When we were young, everything that the brain experiences is new and the brain needs to process all of that incoming information.  As we age, things start to become mundane and the brain goes more on autopilot.  As a result, time seems to pass more quickly.  This seems like a pretty good explanation to me!

So, a way to slow down how we perceive time passes would be to create new experiences for ourselves.  A great way to do this is to travel.  It doesn't necessarily need to be far away, but just needs to be different from our ordinary lives.  Traveling is also a great way to create memories for ourselves and our kids.  I still remember so much of what we did when we were in Orlando in 2018.  I absolutely advocate going on a vacation each year with the family!  It's much better than spending the money on a certain gadget!


Blue Mountains - June
At the end of June, we went to Blue Mountains for several days.  I actually like Blue Mountains better in the summer than in the winter, probably because I'm a novice skier and can't justify the high cost of skiing at Blue.  In the summer, accommodations are much cheaper and a lot of the places provide access to a somewhat private pool.  The kids don't like swimming lessons much, but they love playing in the pool!

We didn't do much outside of swimming, hiking, and watching movies.  I guess this was a trip more for me than for everyone else! Lol!  I really being able to spend time with Renee and the kids, in a less stressful environment compared to our weekends!  Beavertails were also great!


 


Tobermory - July/August
I've always wanted to go to Tobermory.  For some reason, I'm really attracted to blue, turquoise water!  My parents, my brother Eric's family along with us stayed a week there.  It has recently become an annual family tradition to go somewhere together for a week in the summer.  I really enjoy this time because I get to spend time with Eric and my dad, whom I don't see as often.  You kids out there reading this now...someday, you will grow up and will start your own lives, and you will find that you miss seeing everyday the annoying sibling(s) that you have.  So, treasure the time you have now!

During our trip, we took a ferry to Flowerpot Island that is famous for its flowerpot-like rock formations.  They're pretty cool to look at.  Eric, his sons Nick and Ben, myself, Adele and Athan camped on the island for one night.  There are only a handful of sites on the island so it was quite an experience.

 Flowerpot Rock Formation at Flowerpot Island

Our campsite was close to a dock and we spent some time jumping into the cold water.  Check out the video of my nephew Ben below!

My Nephew, Ben, Jumping Off a Dock into the Cold Water

We also visited the Grotto near Tobermory.  It's one of the more popular attractions there.  The grotto is actually quite treacherous to get to.  To get there, one would need to climb down a rocky cliff.  Aside from a few signs telling you not to do stupid things since people have died here before, there are no stairs, railings, or any other safety measures.  After scoping out the path down, we decided that the grandparents and the younger kids should not go down.

Renee, Joanne (Eric's wife), and the older kids decided to do the climb down, while Eric and I helped get the younger kids settled down.  We brought them with the grandparents to a rocky beach on the other side of the grotto.  Once they were happily settled, Eric and I headed off to the grotto.  Instead of walking back to the cliff and climbing down, we thought it would be easier to swim there.

I wouldn't say it was the worst of ideas, but it definitely was a less than ideal exercise.  We walked along the rocks as far as we could before we had to jump into the water.  Once we jumped in, we realized the water was very cold!  A quick google tells me that the average water temperature in the summer at Tobermory is between 15 and 20°C.  It doesn't sound that cold, but at 25°C, one's breathing starts to be affected by the cold water temperature.  At 20°C, it's considered "dangerously cold" to swim in.  It took us about 3 to 5 minutes to get to the other side, where the grotto was.  By the time we got there, both of our arms and legs started getting numb and it began to be difficult to swim.  Given another 5 minutes in the water, we probably would have drowned.  Once we got there, we were happy to see the wives and kids already in the grotto.  We took some jumps from inside the grotto into the cold water before heading back to the beach.

Aside from these exciting adventures, we also enjoyed movies, whiskey and cigars (the latter two by the men only!).  Overall, this was a great trip and many good memories were made!

Rocky Beach at the Grotto (the Grotto is on the Other Side of the Rocks at the Back) 

The Grotto is at the Bottom


Cherry Beach Resort - August/September
Over the Labour Day long weekend, we, along with Renee's parents, siblings and, her best friend Melissa and husband Danny went to Cherry Beach Resort in Prince Edward County (near Sandbanks).  

The resort is a pretty neat place.  It has a number of different water sports, a swimming pool, basketball and tennis court, and other activities.  The kids got to go on a canoe which was a first for some of them.  Adele, while paddling, hit her own nose with the oar, causing it to bleed profusely in the middle of the lake!  We also spent quite a bit of time playing board and card games, and watching old movies on DVDs (poor internet there).  Adele and I also discovered Sim City on my phone, which we somewhat quickly got bored of.  To cap off the trip, the resort provided a free hot dog dinner along with nice fireworks!  All in all, a really fun trip spent with nice company!

As an aside, Melissa and Danny have a company called ComfyComfy that sells buckwheat pillows, among other things.  If you have neck pain or just need better support sleeping, try their pillows out!  Renee and I have a number of their pillows in our home.  You can also find them on Amazon.  (No, I don't get commissions. lol)

Melissa, Her Daughter Maddy, and Audrey





Finger Lakes, New York - November
For Renee's birthday, I surprised her with a trip to the Finger Lakes in upstate New York.  It was only the two of us who went, thanks to the grandparents who took care of all 5 kids!  I don't remember when our previous "us only" trip was; so this was quite a treat!

Our trip started with a stay at Harbour House in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Harbour House is one of our favourite hotels in Ontario.  It's super cozy and nice and never disappoints!  They had a packaged deal with a discount on dinner and spa, which was both very enjoyable.  Dinner was at HobNob and our couple's massage the next morning was at Secret Garden Spa, also in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

After our massage, we left for Aurora, NY and arrived at dusk.  We stayed at Wallcourt Hall, which is one of several hotels in the small town, that is owned by Pleasant Rowland, the founder of American Girl.  The town has been revived and has got a nice, small American town feel to it.  There's not much to do there, but it's very scenic and is a perfect getaway for Torontonians who have gotten bored of Muskoka.  The drive from Toronto is around 4 to 5 hours.

Renee Pretending to Read in Our Wallcourt Hall Room 

Our Room Was Really Nicely Decorated

I thought that every Hong Kong immigrant to Toronto has been to the Corning Museum of Glass, since it's one of the stops between Toronto and New York City on the 美東四日遊 (4-day Eastern US bus tour).  To my surprise, Renee has never been there, and since it's been 30 years since I've been there, we spent a day there.  It's a small but very neat museum, and one could easily spend a day there looking at the exhibits and watching the entertaining glass blowing demos.

Corning Museum of Glass

After the museum, we swung by Watkins Glen State Park, hoping to walk on the trails to see the waterfalls there.  Unfortunately, the trails were closed for the season.  We did snap a few pictures at the trailhead.  Maybe we'll be back with the kids in the future!

 Watkins Glen State Park

A few days quickly passed, which to be honest, was enough since we missed the kids.  We were also quite sure they were a handful for our parents.  Thanks again, Mom and Dad!  But before heading back to Toronto, we made a quick stop at Waterloo Premium Outlets which definitely won me some brownie points!  How can a birthday trip not include shopping, right?!

That sums up our travel in 2019.  Although we didn't do any big trips, these small trips were all very enjoyable and they made quite a few memorable moments for us to reminisce on  for years to come!

Stay tuned for my final post on an update on each of our 5 rascals!


You may also like

No comments :

© Felix Wong. Powered by Blogger.