Friday, July 8, 2011

Canada: Ottawa, the Capital

After visiting Niagara Falls, we drove to Ottawa, the capital of Canada, located in the province of Ontario.  While in Ottawa, we crossed into the province of Quebec and visited Gatineau, a small town near Ottawa that is more in touch with the French side of Canada.  While in the capital, we visited Parliament, the National Gallery of Art, a church and basilica, Supreme Court and the Byward Market, an area with shops and restaurants.  We also toured the Royal Mint and learned that the Queen of England's face is on all their coins since she is recognized as their monarch merely for ceremonial purposes.  Another highlight of the trip was taking a boat ride on the Rideau Canal, a canal that runs through town near the University of Ottawa and their military facility, like our Pentagon.  Food in Canada was much like food in the USA.  We did not try their famous 'poutine,' fries with gravy, cheese, sometimes fish or beef and other condiments...  We did discover "Real Gelato" and really enjoyed their Maple flavored gelato.  Finally, a treat for me was seeing several examples in shops, museums, and around town of Inuit Art, traditional Canadian art that shows animals in an abstract way as if their bodies are puzzle-like and made up of organic shapes.  Ottawa, even though a city, didn't seem like most, large cities we have visited.  People were generally friendly and many shops and place closed around 5pm-6pm 'business' time.

Canada: Niagara Falls

We visited Niagara Falls in June.  The area around the falls on the Canada side is like a city park, and along the opposite street are hotels with direct views of the falls.  On the USA side, New York State has a state park with several areas for viewing.  While in Niagara, we took a boat ride that gets as close to the falls as possible.  In fact, we wore plastic ponchos because the mist will soak you!  We had lunch at Skylon Tower, which gives an aerial view of the whole city, and we drove to Niagara-on-the-Lake, a small, 'old town' area with shops and restaurants.  Several streets throughout the town of Niagara Falls have attractions, shops and restaurants like a tourist, beach town.  Surprisingly, the weather was very much like home, with temperatures in the 80s and humidity during the day.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Virginia: Memorial Day Weekend

We went to visit relatives in northern Virginia for Memorial Day Weekend. During our visit, we saw the Farm Museum of the Northern Neck, visited George Washington's Boyhood Home near Fredericksburg, and toured George Washington's Sister's Home in Fredericksburg.

The Farm Museum of the Northern Neck

 Kenmore, George Washington's Sister's Home

The Site of George Washington's Boyhood Home

Myrtle Beach: Spring 2011

We spent a long weekend in April at Myrtle Beach.  Temperatures were very much like Spring with cool evenings.  We enjoyed the view, walks in the sand, and a little shopping.  We stayed on the south end of Myrtle Beach, which was fairly quiet.