Category Archives: Ontario

Thanksgiving Surprise!

Imagine my surprise when I welcomed the girls & their boys dressed in shirts that said “Melva’s Loyal Subjects” and they shouted Happy Birthday!  The surprise of course was that it was October 9th and my birthday is October 27th.  The second surprise was that we were supposed to be having Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner (prepared by the girls and delivered to our door)…when in fact we ended up having a Birthday dinner with my heritage as a theme!  I was born in Powassan, Ontario Canada to a mother born in South Wales, UK & raised in England and a father of Irish descent!

Quite hilarious from a printed menu with entre of Bangers & Mash, to coffee surved from ‘tea cups’…..a great time was had by all!!

Labour Day 2015/Johnny’s Birthday – Calabogie Lake, Ontario

The Labour Day weekend is always a mixed blessing.  One one hand, you are so ready to have a lovely summer weekend, on the other  hand Labour Day signifies the end of the summer.  We all know technically summer lasts for another few weeks, but back to school, closing up the cottage, summer vacations over….poignant 🙂  Our decision to rent a cottage for the long weekend was very last minute.  I had initially tried to get one in Westport area, knowing that daughter Chloe would be visiting her boyfriend’s parents home in that area.  I couldn’t find any decent waterfront cottages, so turned my sites to Calabogie where I remembered there were some GREAT hiking trails.  The entire weekend blossomed into an event!  Sandra had Saturday night off, Chloe & Kyle were able to come from Westport so it turned into a birthday celebration for Johnny.   I got all creative and developed a theme for the party and the weekend proceeded as follows!  FYI, Johnny is Norwegian (born & raised), thus the Viking/Norwegian theme!

We finished up early on Friday afternoon and headed out to Calabogie.  The weather was forecast to be hot and clear the whole weekend and so it was!  High 20’s to low 30’s (c) during the day and down a bit at night, perfect!  Friday was pretty simple, bbq hamburgs, relaxing and reading.  We got up early on saturday morning and headed off on our scheduled 9 k hike along Manitou Mountain.  In the end we walked more like 12k or more.   We ended up spending almost 6 hours hiking, two hours of which were spent going one hour the wrong way and one hour back to the trail *oooops*……the hike was great with amazing views, lasting a little longer than expected it was getting pretty hot by the time we were done, but we survived!  We had a picnic lunch and water & the was good!  Sandra & Morgan had already arrived at the cottage when we got back with Chloe & Kyle due to arrive around 6.   Morgan had done some of the party decoration (thankfully) and once rested I finished it off!  We had swedish meatballs with lingonberry sauce from IKEA, Marzipan cake from Swiss Pastries, fun decor and a good time was had by all!!  The next day after a good breakfast the kids headed off and Johnny and I proceeded to relax, take the pedal boat out and do lots of reading!  We went for a wee 4k walk along Barrett Chute Road.  Monday morning was cleaning, a bit of relaxing then we headed the backroads and had lunch in Perth, then off home to get back to the new reality called Fall!

Calabogie Lake Long Weekend – Coming Soon!

Civic Holiday in the Gatineaus!

An overcast sky with the odd sprinkle of rain didn’t stop Johnny and me from hitting the Gatineau Hills late this morning!  We did the Lauriault and Waterfalls Loop — 3 km – stopped and had our lunch at Mackenzie King Estate, drove up to Champlain Belvedere to soak up the view then back down the hill to Pink Lake Trail — 2.5 km.  The summer sunshine smiled upon us for most of the Pink Lake walk!

5 more sleeps!!!

5 more sleeps until we pack up the tiny ATS with everything we need for 2 weeks on the road!  Then we hop in and commence our 14 day road trip!!!  Johnny & I just love going from place to place and seeing new things (as was evidenced yesterday by an 11 hour ride from a place 2 hours away 🙂  As you can see our preference is for coastal experiences and we are squeezing as much of that in as possible.  Odds are, if there isn’t water, I’m not staying anywhere long!

Google Screen Shot #1 – Routing for our August 7th to 21st Roadtrip


Google Screen Shot #2 – Routing from our trip home from a 1 night camping trip at Bonnechere Provincial Park

August 1st, 2015 roadtrip



A camping we did go…..July 17 to 19th, 2015

If I had my choice I would spend every weekend camping….unfortunately, the nature of my work doesn’t allow for it… love love the fresh air…..sleeping on the ground……..sitting by the camp fire…….cooking over a propane stove…….no clue why…..perhaps because it reminds me of ‘once upon a time, long long ago’ 🙂  This weekend was the 3rd weekend we snuck off to camp.  We left around 3:30 on Friday, it was raining, we set up camp in the rain (tarping first).  It rained all evening and crazy heavy in the night, but we remained dry!  I had brought some brain teasing games along and we had a great time in the evening under the tarp trying to figure out word puzzles and brain teasers by the light of our headlamps!  Next day was gorgeous, we went for a number of walks, wandered through the wee village of Fitzroy Harbour, walked one of the scenic trails in the Park and just generally wandered about!  Saturday night was camp fire night and we played a few more brain teasing games!  That night it rained like crazy again, but once again we survived!  Unfortunately, I had to work at 10:45 in the morning, so we got up early, ate our breakfast and broke down our soggy camp, rushed home & I was showing homes by 11:15 a.m., Johnny put my Open House signs up while I was showing houses & then I did my Open House.  An exciting weekend where I managed to relax, get fresh air & work!  The usual photos below 🙂 !

Fitzroy Provincial Park – July 10th!

We had a one night stand (sleep 🙂 in Fitzroy Provincial Park!  My daughter had friends from out of town visiting so we gave up our place for the night and headed out to the park for a campfire night!   Guess what?  You need to bring as much stuff for one night as you do for one week!  Still, it was worth it and we enjoyed the campfire, the hike in the morning and the relaxation!   We took the long route home, Quyon Ferry through the Gatineaus, took a drive around Meech Lake (would have stopped but NO parking)…..then back  home!  We may just do another ‘one nighter’ in a few weeks (I’m booked to work every Sunday until our vacay in August)!  The usual photos of our wandering!   This time taken with my new phone – Samsun Galaxy S6 (forgot the Nikon D5500 in our haste to pack)!

National Capital Green Belt – Trails # 25, 26, 28

Life is busy/topsy turvy these days, and we are grabbing our hikes where we can!   After putting up my Open House signs this morning, we headed out to the edge of Bridlewood once again and did a hike that came out to around 6 km.  It was sunny and warm, but the trails were partially covered and there was a nice breeze – always GREAT when there is no humidity!  We started out at P10 and our first stop was the old Lime Kiln ruins.   We discovered along the way there had been a fire in that area back in 2012 (and we really can’t figure out why we didn’t know that :).  As a result there was a lot of dead wood but now 3 years later there is a lot of new growth – bushes/trees starting.

We came across most of our usual suspects, birds, chipmunks, squirrels & a snake.  One of the trails is on a Beaver pond and there was a nice big Beaver hut, always a pleasure to see one, but alas no beaver in sight!

My new phone has a fitness app and it recorded my steps as 12,307 – which translates into 9.37 km…I’m pretty sure we didn’t walk that far…our estimates based on the lengths of the various trails were in the 6 km range…who knows 🙂  Still using the new Nikon D5500 as a ‘point & shoot’ – but hopefully soon I will have the time to start doing the online courses to teach myself the finer points!

Canada Day 2015

Most years on July 1st you will find Johnny and I in downtown Ottawa and this year was no exception.  We started our journey at 9:45 a.m. with a walk to meet friends at Bridgehead (Richmond/Golden) for a coffee.  Along the way we stopped and took a couple of photos of Maplelawn Garden (click here for more info) After a good long catch up Johnny & I headed along Richmond to wait for the bus to downtown!  We only take buses on Canada Day so it’s quite a treat!  We had our first ride on a double decker OC Transpo bus and happily went upstairs and took in the views from our lofty position!  Both Johnny & I are on a bit of a health kick these days, so we had packed a lunch and ate on the bus on the way down.

I admit that our usual Canada Days would have included a long lazy lunch on a warm patio in the Byward Market sipping lots of Pinot Grigio – but our health kick has precluded that but it was still a fine day!  Once downtown we walked through the crowds, getting there just in time to see the Olympic Flame come in and to here the Prime Minster and the Governor General speak.  After that we just went a wanderin’ down to the locks (always the best bathroom facilities in the Parks Canada buildings 🙂  After that we headed down Rideau checking out the crowds and the amazing array of red & white!  We didn’t see as many street performers as we had in previous years, but managed to take in a few busker style shows.  Unfortunately, during Chris the Magician the heavens burst open and it rained like mad.  Rideau Street had a river flowing down it and people were trying to get into the Rideau Centre but there was about a 4 foot wide ‘crossing’ to get to the sidewalk.  We were already so soaked at that point we decided just to walk back to Albert Street and grab a bus home.  All in all, not our usual Canada Day, but we still had fun and have finally warmed up after being soaked!  Unfortunately, my phone was a casualty and seems to have stopped working after getting soaked in my jacket pocket *sigh*. Happy Canada Day!!!!!!!!!

Camping – Murphy’s Point

Johnny, my daughter Sandra & her husband Morgan & I went on a spur of the moment camping trip!  We downsized our camping gear last year to nothing but a tent & sleeping bags, so I had to do some last minute scrambling to get everything we would need for a weekend away.  Once there, we realized it was going to rain for the whole 2nd night into the next day, so once again had to scramble to buy some tarps to cover up!  I love tarping campsites….not sure why, but I do – in my past life I was known as the Tarpaulin Queen (ok, perhaps self-apponted) 🙂  First group of photos here are close-ups of the wildlife we encountered along the way (excluding mosquitos and ticks)….poor Topanga being a low slung dog ended up with a belly full of ticks 😦

Murphy’s Point (website here) is only 94 km from our home, the perfect distance and a pleasant drive!  It’s just outside the quaint little town of Perth, Ontario (website here) and it’s on Big Rideau Lake which is part of the Rideau System that runs from the St. Lawrence Seaway right through to Ottawa.  It has a number of nice hiking trails, a variety of historic buildings and an abandoned Mine.  We had the very worst campsite (as we booked las tmoment) – right next to the privy and garbage – but heck, when I got up in the middle of the night I was ‘close’!!!  We ate traditional camping food, hot dogs, weiners & beans with eggs & cold cuts for breakfast!  The 4 of us went on one hike about 5 km and then Johnny & I went on a 2nd hike to the mine which was 2.5 km.

Saturday night we played Euchre (Morgan & Johnny are Euchre newbies), Sandra has some experience and I’m a Euchre shark that taught them all the aggressive Euchre playing techniques I know 🙂

I took hundreds of photos with the new camera, unfortunately, I haven’t done any of the on-line courses for it yet, so essentially, it was point & shoot on auto setting.  I hope to learn how to take better more interesting photos down the road! Morgan & Sandra left fairly early on Sunday morning, but Johnny & I hung in drinking coffee under the tarp watching the amazing fire that we had built (in spite of the rain)……of course, we discovered ‘liquid’ fire starter, which goes a long way to make the fire roar!!

Did I mention that we are the little tent campers with no mattress?  Hardy souls we are 🙂

In the past few weeks we have become obsessed with the locks along the Rideau system.  The locks are great places to stop and go to the washroom in a clean setting 🙂  They are also lovely areas for picnics, small walks/hikes & simply to watch the locks and boaters in action.  I didn’t take any photos yesterday but on the way home we stopped by Narrow Locks (click here), Newboro Locks (click here) and Poonmalie Locks (click here).  The Narrows are my favourite because they have bigger open water on both sides, lots of picnic places, a really nice blockhouse AND they have a swing bridge.  It was pouring rain, but at each lock we wandered around taking in the sights.  We ‘picniced’ in the car at Newboro and then went into the best store in the world and one you shouldn’t miss if  you are in Newboro/Westport area – click HERE to see Kilborn’s website!  Their web presence doesn’t do them justice, they have the most amazing array of clothing, shoes, furniture, jewelry and the list goes on…all latest fashion and high end.  If you’ve never been your jaw will drop as you walk through (don’t miss the upstairs)!


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