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Entries in travel (132)


Days 241-244 in 2019 (Stratford!)

Stratford is a tradition in our family. This adorable city in Ontario, Canada, is home to an annual, summer-long Shakespeare Festival that is just really great theater (sorry, theatre). My one high school trip and a couple of childhood trips of Jon's nontwithstanding, we first attended the festival in 2012. That year Calvin and I tagged along when Jon gave pedagogy lectures in New York and Ontario. Along the way we took in sites like the Christmas Story house, Niagara Falls, and, for our last trick, a showing of The Pirates of Penzance in Stratford. Calvin was six at the time, and he loved it. They had booster seats for the kids and wine in sippy cups for the parents, and the show was wonderfully engaging and professional. We were hooked. 

In the years since we have discovered a favorite family-owned motel (As You Like It Motel), and a favorite place for ice cream (Jenn and Larry's). We have enjoyed countless pool days, walks along the river, strolls through the city shops, and dips into the small Saturday art show. Though we started with just one show a year, that quickly became two, and then graduated to three. After the Pirates of Penzance; we have seen Romeo and Juliet; A Midsummer Nights Dream; Alice Through the Looking Glass; The Sound of Music; As You Like It; The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; Treasure Island; The Tempest; The Music Man; and To Kill a Mockingbird. We have attended some pre-show family meal entertainments (like lunch with Alice), and even once received a very special, very private, backstage tour of the Festival Theatre.

Obviously, we love our annual trip to Stratford, but this year there was even more to love when we got to share the experience with more of our family. And because it was the big family experience, we did more days, more plays, and had more fun altogether. We were gifted with beautiful weather, luck with parking, and really great seats for really great shows. 

Day 241: The Neverending Story and The Merry Wives of Windsor, plus pizza by the pool

Day 242: Billy Elliot (perfect for our dancing boy), plus ice cream after dinner

Day 243: an afternoon in town, followed by an evening of Othello

Day 243: Henry VIII for some of us, pool and play for the others, followed by dinner in town


Day 229 in 2019


Photos 215-219/365 (series: Holland vacation)

Holland, Michigan, that is.


Photos 193-197/365 (camping! series)

 Camping! I see people posting pictures tagged things like #happyplace and this is what I think of, the trees, the lakes, teh sand, the tiny towns that range from kitchy to classy and everything between. You'll find general areas like that eerywhere, I am sure, but my great love, my #happyplace, is right here in our own state. I've found it in the thumb area, the middle of the Upper Peninsula, the tip of the lower Penninsula, and all along our western coastline. Michigan is my #happyplace, and these are my #favoritepeople to enjoy it with. 

After three years of being kept away from our favorite camping spot by yucky weather during our reserved vacation time, we were gifted a beautiful weekend to finally enjoy it in. A little rain on the day we wanted to spend in town anyhow, and another smattering just before we needed to pack up an come home (oh joy, wet equipment), but otherwise sunny and softly warm, none of the swealtering heat that's been smothering our homelands lately. I think my favorite weather of the weekend, though, was the mist that blew in on our beach day—clear one minute, England pea soup the next, but warm and pleasant throughout none-the-less. Sunsets, cool evenings just right for tent sleeping, and fewer bugs than normal, thanks to the recent dry spells, were the cherry on top of our weekend. And because the air conditioning is broken in our van, after packing up and heading out, we spent one last full day in town shopping, golfing, and eating before hitting the road in cooler evening temps with the sun obligingly slipping behind horizon clouds to keep the car cool for our drive home. The storms were beautiful and we seemed to be driving right between them all, never actually getting wet. Unfortunately for our drought wearied yard and gardens, our home didn't get any rain either, excepting for exactly 17 drops, as we were told by our neighbor.


Photos 183-186/365 (series: Chicago!)

Another family tradition: Chicago for the Fourth of July. I guess the good news about being home only 12 hours between trips is that really you don't have to unpack very much. Actually, we folded up all our Chicago clothes and left them on the bed before we left for Stratford, so when we got home from Stratford Sunday night we emptied the suitcases into the laundry bin and just replaced them wit the Chicago clothes. Toiletries stayed packed, and we were ready to bed. 

Chicago is a slightly longer drive than Stratford for us, but both drives come with a variable that cannot be measured ahead of time. For Stratford that's the border crossing into Canada (sometimes those lines are loooooong), for Chicago it's the city traffic. Stratford won this year for ease of passage, Chicago was in rare form! 

Weather was great this year, especially on fireworks night. Fireworks for us in Chicago means going up on the rooftop, grilling delicious food and sipping delightful wine while watching the horizon just errupt with color all around us. We don't see any one display—that would mean crowds, more traffic, and less food—instead from our rooftop position we see dozens of displays all over the parts of the city. It's beautiful, and this year it was set against the backdrop of a far away but still approaching storm, and the lightning was stunning. About an hour after the sun went down, when we'd really had our fill and had a lovely time, the rain reached us and we dashed inside to enjoy the natural fireworks. 

Oh, and it's my dad's birthday. Happy birthday dad, and thanks for throwing such a wonderful party every year!