Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Trip to Rochester

Last Friday evening, after pouring a concrete pad for the shed we are going to build in the backyard, Ana and I discussed the plan for the weekend. We soon realized there wasn't a plan. To us, it's a tragedy to be sitting there on Friday night with no plan or commitments for the weekend. Once we realized our terrible planning error, we got to work!

Ana chose Rochester, New York as our weekend destination. We blasted off early Saturday morning, making a brief stop in Brantford to pick up Ana's folks and a dose of T-ho coffee. Three hours later we found ourselves in the town of Pittsford, where we enjoyed a nice stroll along the Erie Canal and a delicious lunch. Oh yes, and Ana bought this incredibly ugly wire wagon wheel trolley for a dollar at a knick-knack sale. I nearly threw it in the canal when I saw her walking up with it but since I'm such a nice guy, and didn't want to get kicked, I just hurled verbal abuse.

After that we drove up to Rochester and discovered the Strong Museum of Play located downtown. In we went, parents, kids and grandparents, to see what treasures we could discover inside. I loved it! I loved it more than anybody else, perhaps even all of them put together. This was chiefly because of the giant video game arcade that housed at least a hundred vintage arcade games, games like Donkey Kong, Crystal Castle, Track & Field, Q-bert, Gunfighter and a whole bunch of others that propelled me back in time and turned me into a 10 year old boy with a sticky quarter in my hand, walking into the arcade at the plaza in Fairhaven, Saskatoon. Besides the arcade, they had toys and games of all descriptions. There was a magic, crystal ball, kid-sized wizard robes, magic wands, king and queen costumes, building blocks, crayons, miniature grocery stores, interactive games, funny mirrors, thousands of books, plastic hamburgers, sandboxes of silicone and an extraordinary butterfly garden.

After this we drove to the hotel and John and I took the kids for a swim while the ladies went shopping. For dinner, we found an Uno steak house and tackled some meaty sirloins, after which we retired to the hotel and I managed to stay awake for about 20 minutes of Escape From Alcatraz.

The next day we had a quick tour of downtown Rochester, including a stop at a large waterfall encased by crumbling factories - a very strange sight indeed. We then drove north to the southern shore of Lake Ontario and continued west towards the Canadian border. We were surprised at the lack of development - most of the lake front cottages were actually just cottages...instead of unneeded mansions. We cut across the border and continued to the town of St. Davids where we stopped for lunch at Mike and Ana's bakery/cafe called Olson Foods & Bakery - Ravine. They were actually off for the day, which doesn't happen often, so we settled ourselves at one of the tables and had a yummy lunch of bbq ribs. It's a lovely place, very vintage, evidenced by the odd collection of beaten up chairs, no doubt scavenged by Michael at garage sales and auctions across southern Ontario. Stella helped the depreciation process along for one of the chairs by breaking off a lower crosspieces while attempting to climb the chair to accost her mother. Just before leaving, Ana walked over to check out the items for sale and was delighted to see the lofty prices of the Le Crueset pots, as she had recently picked up a set of three at a garage sale in Paris for $30!

We then took the long, winding road home, avoiding the highways and instead getting a lovely tour of the orchards and fruit lands. As luck would have it, we found a flea market along the way, just outside of Jordan, and the "adults" did some shopping while us kids stayed in the car. We arrived home by about 6pm, tired, happy, and very satisfied with our decision to turn an otherwise dull weekend into an adventure!

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