With my favourite holiday just around the corner, today I decided to check out a spot that combines two of my favourite things- Halloween & Coffee!
Deadly Grounds Cafe, located in Courtice, ON was the perfect spot to grab a coffee on this grey, rainy day in October.
The cafe features horror themed drinks & baked goods, as well as over 30 coffee and tea options with names like Haunted House, Camp Blood, Never Sleep Again, Tropical Terror and Witches Brew.
In the cafe, there are a variety of specialty lattes including Camp Crystal Lake, Myers Macchiato and White Zombie, as well a snacks including “Sin-o-man skulls.”
There’s retro video games and artwork and decor from all your favourite horror movies found throughout the cafe, including a few large animatronic characters.
The “Odditorium” is filled with creepy masks and retro horror merch and even a secret room…which not going to lie, made when jump when I saw what was hidden inside! (You’ll have to go check it out for yourself!)
Today, I enjoyed a Camp Crystal Lake latte and a Sin-o-man skull- both of which were delicious!
If you’re looking to get in the Halloween spirit…or just looking to get your daily coffee fix with a side of horror, this is definitely the place to be!
I like wine and during this pandemic I’ve come to enjoy it even more, so when I came across our next ‘Unique Stay’ on Airbnb, I knew we definitely had to stay here.
I actually found the listing last summer, but as it is a very popular one it took us awhile to get a date. Thankfully this gem was worth the wait!
Continuing to explore places in our own province, we made our way to Essex, part of Lake Erie Wine Country and after stopping for lunch and some rosé at Viewpointe Estate Winery, we got checked into our stay for the night….this amazing Wine Barrel!
Floating in Fox Creek, surrounded by lily pads, this red cedar barrel is tied to the shore with a panoramic window perfect for watching the stars at night on one side and views of lush vineyards full of grapes on the other.
The tiki bar was the perfect spot to watch the gorgeous sunset while enjoying a bottle of wine from one of the local wineries.
The barrel runs on solar power, with a whiskey barrel sink and even an outdoor shower right on the little dock. A chemical toilet is located on shore, along with a fire pit and big lounge chairs for enjoying an evening fire. There’s also a rowboat if you want to head out into the creek (easier to do when the water is a bit higher as the lily pads are thick!)
We opted to stay on our little dock and watch the fish swim around below us.
No matter the time, this spot was beautiful!
The bed was cozy and watching the sunrise through the panoramic window was the perfect way to wake up!
Want to spend a night in a wine barrel? Click here to check out the listing on Airbnb.
20 years later, I still vividly remember sitting in my grade 11 English class as my teacher wheeled a TV in and turned on the news just as the second plane hit the tower. I grew up in a small Canadian town and at this point, I had never been to NYC. This attack seemed so far away from my teenage reality and yet the feeling of horror and anger I felt as we watched the coverage for the rest of class is something that has stayed with me.
The first time I went to New York City was in 2007. I was there on September 11th and remember heading down to a memorial service being held near where the Twin Towers had once stood and listening as they read the names of those who lost their lives on 9/11. The names seemed to go on forever as we stood there on that dreary, grey day.
Having seen the site where that act of terror occurred made it feel even more real to me that day, and becoming a flight attendant 5 years later gave the terrorists’ weapon of choice a much deeper meaning.
NYC has become one of my favourite places to visit and now every time my plane begins its descent towards the city, my thoughts wander to the passengers and crew on those planes that hit the towers. During our initial training, we covered what to do in the event of a hijacking, but I’m not sure anything could really prepare you for that. And yet, the flight attendants did all they could to protect those in their cabins.
I recently read/listened to the audiobook, The Only Plane In The Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garret M. Graff. I’ve read a number of books about different aspects of 9/11, but this book, based on the oral histories of over 500 people, was something unique. Through all the different interviews, it really gives you insight into what was happening around the United States that day, beginning with everyone’s commentary on how nice a day it was and how the sky was a beautiful clear blue. It continues on through the events of the day and the few days following as rescue efforts continued.
The book includes accounts from survivors who worked in the towers, firefighters, police, rescue workers, military, news reporters, government workers, eyewitnesses, etc., but the ones that hit me the hardest were the recordings from the cabin crew calling those on the ground to get the word out about what was happening on board, reporting who had been injured and what they were being told. The messages being left by passengers to their loved ones, saying that their plane had been hijacked and sending final messages of love to them also hit me hard.
It made me think about those I would want to call and relay messages to and the importance of telling your loved ones how you feel. The book is filled with stories of love and hope and the kindness of those dropping everything to help any way they could—the bright light on a day filled with so much terror and hate.
This post surfaces around this time each year and always brings tears to my eyes thinking about all the loss, but also about how we always have the choice to choose hope and love.
I can easily spend hours going down a rabbit hole on Airbnb looking at listings and planning ‘someday trips.’ One of my favourite features on this site is being able to select ‘Unique Stays,’ which includes listings for treehouses, tiny houses, yurts, castles, lighthouses, houseboats, and more. While searching under this for getaways close to home, I stumbled upon an option to stay in “An Authentic Romani Caravan in Swaying Cedars.” The title immediately grabbed my attention and the colourful photos of the caravan quickly made this a place I definitely wanted to check out.
The caravan is located on an 18-acre farm near Orono, Ontario. We were greeted by the couple who owns the property and got checked into our stay.
The colourful caravan is located amongst the cedar trees with a screened-in parlour next door. A fire pit is situated between the two and an outhouse with a chemical toilet is located nearby. There’s no electricity, but the caravan does have solar power for lights and an indoor washbasin.
The space was magical—so quiet and peaceful, with only the sound of the wind rustling through the forest of cedar trees. It was almost like stepping back in time as we sipped our coffee and read, enjoying the quiet.
In the evening, we made a fire and roasted marshmallows, which were set up by the owners for us to enjoy.
The stay comes with a delicious breakfast served on the back porch of the farmhouse. There are also trails cut around the property to wander, an orchard, gardens, a pet cemetery, and a pond with turtles to explore.
Definitely a perfect spot for a romantic little getaway!
Want to check it out yourself? You can find the Airbnb listing here
Sunflower farms seem to be popping up all over the place lately and I am here for it! As a sucker for a giant sunflower patch (especially if it has fun photo stations), I recently checked another local one off my list.
The Sunflower Experience at Pingle’s Farm Market near Oshawa has over 100,000 blooms in their 6.5-acre sunflower field!
Here, you’ll find classic yellow sunflowers, but also giants over 10 feet tall, small dwarf teddies, beautiful red and yellow-hued ‘Ring of Fire’ sunflowers, crimson-coloured ones, and some so dark they almost look black!
Trails are cut throughout the sunflowers and there are 12 photo stops along the way, including a swing!
They also have a stand in the middle of the field with clippers, mason jars, and buckets. Your entrance ticket comes with one pick-your-own sunflower, but you can pay for more here as you pick up your clippers to go hunting for the perfect sunflowers to bring home.
When you’re ready for a break, you can head up to the food and entertainment area where you’ll find tasty treats like chicken and waffles and top off your day with a delicious jumbo macaron ice cream sandwich (it’s delicious…seriously don’t miss this!) while listening to live music.
Today is my Travelling Grandma’s birthday and to celebrate I’m continuing to work my way through her massive collection of slides from her travels.
As as kid, I always loved seeing all the photos from her latest travels and hoping one day I would be able to see all the same places that she had.
A few years ago, I decided I wanted to go through her slides and pick out photos of her in iconic and interesting places around the world with the hopes of being able to take photos of myself in those same places as I continue my travels.
I didn’t know at the time, what a huge undertaking this little project of mine would become. When I received boxes of her slides from my uncle, some were sorted into slide carousels…but many were just left in boxes with elastics that have long since rotted away, leaving thousands of slides in unmarked piles and turning this project into a huge game of ‘Where in the World is Grandma?’
What I’ve found as I’ve been sorting through the thousands of slides, is that we have a very similar way of taking photos on our trips. We are always marking where we are by taking photos of airports, ‘Welcome’ signs, destination markers, hotels we stay at, info plaques at places we visit etc. As most of the slides aren’t labeled, besides perhaps a country and date on the box, this has made this scavenger hunt a little easier to figure out where she is in the world.
I’ve also realized that we already have some very similar photos of us on our travels. It’s been interesting to see how places have changed over the years and fun to think of us visiting the same spots.
While I was never able to go on a big trip with my grandma, seeing photos of us in the same places almost makes it feel like we were travelling together!
Wishing all my fellow FA’s a very Happy International Flight Attendant Day!
For so many of us, this past year has been hard. Many of us haven’t flown in over a year and those who are face new challenges dealing with masks, border restrictions and unruly passengers and more as we navigate through this pandemic.
Hopefully in the near future, we will all be back in the sky doing the job we’ve come to love so much.
It’s now been a year, 365 days since I last stepped onto an airplane. 365 days since I did my last rescue flight bringing Canadians home as the first Covid-19 lockdown began.
365 days as a flight attendant who hasn’t flown. 365 days as a traveller who hasn’t travelled.
This has been the longest I haven’t been on a plane or out of the country in almost two decades. For someone whose identity is wrapped up in travel both as my occupation and my lifestyle, watching new restrictions on travel continue to be added and enforced without a solid plan to rebuild, and feeling trapped in a seemingly endless pandemic have made these past 365 days the longest of my life.
Sure, there have been some great parts, like lots of extra time to read and be crafty, starting to paint and finding out I really enjoy it, spending more time in the garden, and going for walks, but I miss my old life. The life that required me to wear something other than leggings and a hoodie. The one where I could visit in large groups and go to the theatre. The life where I used my passport on an almost weekly basis. The life where I could escape winter and enjoy the Caribbean sunshine even if only for a limited time. The life where I could actually go on trips, and not just sit at my computer planning ones to go on ‘someday.’
This past week has been hard. Hard to keep trying to be optimistic and find the good things about this past year to keep my mind from sinking into the bad. “Covid Fatigue” has me just wanting to pull the covers back over my head and stay there until this is over. I find myself wondering how a whole year has already gone by. A year since the first lockdowns were announced. A year without big family gatherings or nights out with friends. A year since our wedding was cancelled (two weeks before leaving), and now, today, a year since my last flight. I find myself being easily irritated and sad and tired, and I’m sure I’m not alone.
This year has been hard. This week has been hard. So let’s keep that in mind and be kind to both ourselves and others as we continue to make our way through this seemingly never-ending pandemic.
On a bright note…spring is officially here again, and if nothing else, at least it means warm sunny days are ahead!
It’s been 9 years since my ‘Travelling Grandma’ left us. Over the past year, I’ve been slowly working my way through the thousands and thousands of slides she took on her trips. I never got the chance to travel with her…but during this year of no travel, her and I have been around the world together. ❤
On this sunny, snowy Valentine’s Day morning, I woke to a beautiful bouquet of roses from my love and we baked a chocolate heart shaped cake to enjoy for dinner. As we are still on a Covid-19 lockdown here in Ontario, it’s a quiet February 14th at home with no dinner out or movie to attend.
As I scroll through my Facebook Memories, I’m soon reminded of a Valentine’s Day that was anything but a quiet day at home. In fact, I’m not sure that any Valentine’s Day will ever top the one I had in 2008, while I was living in Kenya. A day that included singing, Valentine date requests and a slaughterhouse. Of all the travel stories I enjoy telling and re-telling, this is definitely one of my favourites!