Toronto decided to be no kinder with the weather but then this visit was less about sight-seeing and more about Debbie meeting her Canadian cousins. We did get a little sunshine the day we visited Kensington markets which very much reminded me of Paddington in Sydney when the hippies still lived there before it became trendy. Full of 2nd hand clothes stores and organic food outlets, it was very colourful.
Another great site for tourists is the old distillery district which is a very large old brewery that has been converted to shops & restaurants. Later on we caught a show at Second City, the famous improv club, which had us both wetting ourselves in more ways than one.
The cousins were all very warm & hospitable and it was good to see Deb surrounded by her kin for a change as she is usually surrounded by my large family and I think she liked the role reversal while we were there.
Arlene & Mike had us for dinner on the first night and Arlene was also able to spend some time with us later in the week and show us around some of her favourite city spots. Dining the next night with Carol & Lauren we also met Miles & Elaine and lastly Bernita and Leon. They were all very welcoming, not to mention great cooks.
Our last night in Canada was spent at Niagara-on-the-Lake which is a lovely little town about 30 minutes from the Falls. A great village atmosphere is enhanced by their perpetual George Bernard Shaw festival where on any night there is always a couple of his plays running. We took in “Peace in Our Time” which was playing at a beautiful old historic courthouse.
The next morning was spent in Niagara Falls where we just HAD to do the “Maid of the Mist” cruise along with a gadzillion other tourists. But it was fun and later we walked along the top promenade and took in the breathtaking views.
The US side of Niagara (the town) is extremely run down & seedy. We stopped to do a little shopping but we couldn’t get out of there quick enough. Such a contrast compare to the neatly manicured & affluent Canadian side.
A couple of hours driving SouthEast brought us to an area of up-state New York called the Finger Lakes. Here we visited towns like Canandaigua, Hammondsport & Watkins Glen and along the way Deb found a wonderful old mansion that was open to the public with a great winery across the road for lunch.
While still in the area we again couch-surfed at Ithaca, home to Columbia University. Like many of the towns & villages in the area they boasted some amazing waterfalls and parks right in the heart of the city. Our hosts, Andrejs & Diana, took us to a surprisingly good Thai restaurant for dinner before showing us some of their favourite Ithaca trails.
A very scenic drive took us to our AirBnB in Weehauken in New Jersey, which in actual fact is just across the river from Manhattan. After dropping our stuff and freshening up we took the bus through the Lincoln Tunnel to meet up with Adam & Jason for one last meal together. After a lovely Korean BBQ it was back to Mud for our favourite dessert, but not even their chocolate fudge brownie could cheer Deb up as she said good-bye to her boys, not really sure when we’ll catch up again. Sad for us but exciting for them as they continue their adventure.
The next day saw us back in Philadelphia with Marcus & Ilyse, where we relaxed for the afternoon and they showed us how they use the Xbox Star Wars dance game, before we, at my insistance, went back to Chickie & Pete’s for dinner. After driving 2,500 miles we dropped the car back at the airport & boarded our flight for Dallas.