O Canada

This summer we headed up to Brantford, Ontario to visit Paul’s favorite cousin Mark.  Along the way, we visited the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, then made a pit stop in Syracuse for a bite to eat and a place to rest our heads, spent the night on a sailboat in Port Dover, and eventually made our way up to Toronto for some sightseeing.  It was a quick, but fun trip, with the added bonus of dinner at the Brantford Golf Club, a serious bout of seasickness, and a tour of the Rogers Centre, the home of the Toronto Blue Jays.  The photo above features Mark’s dog, who is ten times the sailor I’ll ever be.  He even wears his own doggie life jacket, which is pretty stylish in comparison to our human line of life preservers.

Cooperstown, a beautiful little town in upstate New York, is a baseball lover’s vacation destination.  Home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, your visit is only complete after a tour of the museum and a walk through the downtown, a main street lined with shops filled to the brim with baseball memorabilia.

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Make sure to walk down to the water to check out the beautiful views of the bay.

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After Cooperstown, we drove up to Syracuse for the night.

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We ate a delicious lunch downtown at the Empire Brewing Company before spending the rest of our evening at the Sheraton Syracuse, a Starwood hotel located just steps from the Syracuse University campus.  Our decision to stop here was completely due to our desire to achieve Platinum Starwood status.  We love being Gold, but we are well on our way to accumulating enough stays to get the ultimate experience as Starwood Preferred Guests.  Whenever we travel anywhere, we first locate the nearest Starwood hotels and try our best to plan our trip around getting stays.  We love the way it gives us the opportunity to see places we may never have stopped.  We may never have traveled to Syracuse for any other reason, but it’s a good halfway point, and Starwood stay, on the way up to Canada.

Here is my personal photographer, experimenting with light, on our evening walk through the college campus.  It was a gorgeous evening for strolling, and we took advantage of the absence of people, since it was early August and school was not yet in session.

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After Syracuse, we made our way to Brantford.  Upon our arrival, Mark and Paul enjoyed an afternoon of golf while Mark’s wife Robin and I visited family in Simcoe.  We later met up with the boys for a delicious dinner at the Brantford Golf Club.  The next day, I went on my first sailing adventure on Mark and Robin’s sailboat.  It was supposed to be a lovely evening of sailing, complete with dinner on the boat.  Unfortunately, after about ten minutes into the trip, I got terribly seasick, resulting in us having to abort all of our adventurous plans and turn around and head back to the dock.  It was the most miserable feeling I’ve ever had, partially because I always pictured sailing as being this amazingly perfect experience now ruined by a terrible case of vertigo.  Despite wanting to just jump off the side of the boat to escape embarassment, I was honored to hear that I was completely polite about the whole thing, and handled my seasickness with the proper amount of grace and tact.  I owe this all to Robin, who played the motherly role of trying to keep my mind off the endless rocking of the boat, while also being the keeper of the bucket.  I owe her, big time.

Since we didn’t actually get to sail anywhere, we still got to enjoy dinner on the boat after it was securely docked and without motion.  Due to the circumstances, photos were not a priority on this part of the trip.

One of the things I just had to do on this vacation was take a trip up to Toronto.  I’ve always heard so many wonderful things about this beautiful city and it didn’t disappoint.  In fact, it was the cleanest city I’ve ever been to and I cannot wait to take another trip back.

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This is the CN Tower.  Paul wanted to take a trip up in this, and I unwillingly agreed.  Luckily, he spotted the advertisement for the Rogers Centre Tour while standing in the long line of eager daredevils at this tower.  He gave me a choice of this or that, and of course, I chose that.  I’m not scared of heights or anything, but after getting evacuated from the Eiffel Tower, I’m a little sensitive to “going up in things”, if you know what I mean.

The Rogers Centre Tour was great.  We love taking tours of baseball stadiums and we highly recommend these tours in any city.  You get behind-the-scenes looks at some of the places fans aren’t allowed to roam and learn all about the history of the stadium and team.

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We stayed in two different hotels in Toronto: the Westin Harbour Castle and the Soho Metropolitan.  Both hotels were lovely, but the Soho Metropolitan was super trendy and an added treat to our little getaway.  We scored an incredibly affordable room using the Hotel Tonight app.  The Soho is also home to the Wahlburgers Toronto, a hamburger chain owned by the famous Wahlberg family.  While we didn’t eat there, we stopped in for a drink and to check the place out.  We’d never been to a Wahlburgers before so we found it a fun place to enjoy a drink, and instead of watching sports at the bar, catch some episode highlights of the Wahlburgers A&E reality show.  This helped us gain some insight into the Wahlberg family tree and how they wound up in the business of running hamburger shops.

We couldn’t leave Toronto without going to a Blue Jay’s game.  Luckily, the weather was nice enough to open the dome.

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I found this rather large bat all alone in a stairwell and couldn’t resist stopping for a photo op.

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Toronto, I can’t wait to see you again.  I was pleasantly surprised by your cleanliness, your sense of style, and your love of veggies.  I also have a thing for your Montreal-style bagels.  We will be back to stroll your streets and eat at the plethora of delicious restaurants we didn’t have nearly enough time to explore.

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O’ Canada!  You’re on our list.  We’ll be back!

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