Well, hopefully sooner if possible. 🙂
It has become sort of a tradition (since last year, anyway) for us to take a trip out to the Midwest every fall. We do it in October because of a number of events: my birthday on the 6th, Dad’s birthday on the 15th, and our anniversary on the 26th. Also, the weather is not too hot, and tourist destinations are less crowded.
As you may have guessed from Recent Diaper Changes, we recently took this fall trip, from Friday, October 13 to Saturday, October 21. Here’s the low-down:
On Day 1, we drove straight out from Beverly to Mount Vernon. The trip took about 16 hours, with a few stops for eating and stretching (both Catherine and us). We arrived in Mount Vernon to a warm welcome from Mom, Dad, Mark and Kirsten!
Day 2 was a relaxing day in Mount Vernon. Grandma and Grandpa watched Catherine while Becky and I went out to the movies and lunch with Kirsten and Mark. Later that evening, some of our family’s friends came over for dinner, and everyone got to meet Catherine!
On Day 3, we headed up to Mansfield. We went to church with Mark and Kirsten, then headed over to their apartment for a birthday lunch! There was cake for me and Dad, presents, and plenty of attention for Catherine. 🙂
On Day 4, we piled into the car with Mark and Kirsten and headed out for a day of visits. We first drove down to Columbus to see Kirsten’s friend Megan and her new son, Henry. Catherine was happy to have made a new friend, and we enjoyed getting to meet Henry. 🙂
After Columbus, we drove up to Wooster, where we visited Ramseyer Farms. We were met there by Kirsten’s friend Becky and her son Luke, another new baby friend for Catherine. 🙂 Ramseyer had all sorts of fun fall attractions, including a Spud Slinger, corn mazes, and farm animals. Afterward, we met up with my family, as well as Becky, Luke, and Luke’s dad Todd (who also happens to be Mark’s brother) for dinner at The Barn. Catherine was actually fairly successful in sitting up in a high chair, though we did have to eventually add some padding in order to help keep her sitting up straight. 🙂 We ended the night by getting together for dessert at Todd and Becky’s apartment.
On Day 5, we took Catherine to visit her grandma and grandpa at work. We first went to Dan Emmett to visit Grandma – the teachers and students there all loved getting to meet Catherine. It was a busy day during the lunch hour, though, so we didn’t have that much time to spend visiting! After Dan Emmett, we went over to MVNU to see Grandpa. He was in rehearsal with the Treble Singers, but they were more than happy to take a break to hang out with her. She even got to help Grandpa conduct a song!
On Day 6, we said our goodbyes to Mount Vernon and set a course for Toronto, Ontario, Canada! On our way up, we stopped in Mansfield to drop by Kirsten’s workplace to introduce everyone to Catherine. She was met with a warm reception, as usual. We also stopped to visit Melanie at her workplace. It was a quick stop, since she was at work, but it was good to get to see her. Our last pre-Toronto stop was in Williamsville, NY to see Mrs. Lyttle and Allison at their home. We had a lovely dinner there, followed by chocolate fondue, and then headed out for the last leg of our trip.
We eventually arrived at our hotel in Toronto by 11 p.m… after quite a bit of traffic just outside of the city. Exhausted from a day of travel, we set things up in our tiny room, and collapsed in bed.
On Day 7, the three of us set out to explore Toronto. We first visited the St. Lawrence Market, an indoor food market with all sorts of tasty-looking vendors. We tried some peameal bacon, the “real” Canadian bacon, and it was quite tasty. We also visited Toronto’s First Post Office. The building houses a small museum, commemorating the history of the postal service in Toronto. It also has an actual small working post office, which we used to send some postcards. 🙂 After the post office, we stopped by the Eaton Centre for lunch and for my obligatory Apple Store visit. 🙂
After lunch we took the subway up to Casa Loma, an enormous castle-like mansion. They had some terrific artifacts and architecture, as well as some great views from the top of one of the towers. After Casa Loma, we had dinner at Spadina Garden, where Catherine made friends with the restaurant’s owners.
The weather this morning was an obstacle, but we snapped the cover onto the stroller and went out despite the rain. We wandered over to what would have been the Kensintgon Market, had the weather been better. Unfortunately, we could only imagine the sights and sounds, as the stalls were all closed up. From there, we took a long walk over to the Ontario provincial legislature, housed in a stately building in Queen’s Park. The next tour wasn’t until later that afternoon, and since we had other plans we decided not to go. However, we did get a good look at the inside of the lobby and the grounds of the building.
After the Legislature, we had lunch at Quiznos, and then went back to our hotel for a rest stop. After our break, we headed back over to Queen’s Park to visit the Royal Ontario Musem. It was there that we met our long time internet pal Michelle for the first time.
The four of us walked around the ROM, checking out exhibits on ancient Egypt, Korea, modern Europe, and Canada’s First Peoples exhibit. Only in Canada would you see two fully-reconstructed hockey uniforms alongside an exhibit on Medieval arms and armor! 🙂 After the museum, we all went out for dinner at Indochine, an excellent Thai/Vietnamese restaurant. Just like at Spadina Garden, the proprietors of Indochine were enamored with Catherine. 🙂 We had a great time with Michelle, chatting about things Canadian and American and… Blogospherian? 🙂 Alas, we would have liked to hang out with her more, but such is life!
On our last morning in Toronto, we indulged our love of going up into tall things, and took a ride up to the top of the CN Tower. The CN Tower is one of the wonders of the modern world, and is the tallest freestanding structure on land. We went up to the Sky Pod at 1,465 feet, to the lookout level at 1,136 feet, and stood on the glass floor, which allows you to look straight down at the ground from 1,122 feet. Wow! Catherine was nonplussed by the whole episode, but Mom and Dad loved the views and the sheer tallness of it all.
The ride home from Toronto was pretty much your basic road trip fare: we stopped to eat a few times, we stopped to change diapers a few times, really nothing of note happened. We did run into a gaggle of pre-teen cheerleaders at one rest stop in NY state. They encouraged us to pray that Catherine never wants to cheer! (which means she’ll ONLY want to cheer!). We got home late, three tired Woods, and tumbled into bed. Thank goodness we still had Sunday to recover from a fun, exciting, friend and family filled vacation!
All of the photos from our trip can be found here. Enjoy!