Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Road Trip to Point Pelee National Park

Leamington Ontario VRBO rental (copyright: GreenGlobetrotter.com)
The view from our VRBO patio in Leamington, Ontario
Birdie's Perch, Leamington (copyright: GreenGlobetrotter.com)
Fresh perch tacos and an order of handcut fries at Birdie's Perch

Leamington (copyright: GreenGlobetrotter.com)
This handsome dude, the runner :)
Birdie's Perch, Leamington (copyright: GreenGlobetrotter.com)
Again, the fries... I can't help myself (double decker "bustraunt" in back)
Birdies Perch Ontario (copyright: GreenGlobetrotter.com)
Point Pelee National Park (copyright: GreenGlobetrotter.com)
Hamming it up at the "point" - which is under the tide - at Point Pelee
Point Pelee National Park (copyright: GreenGlobetrotter.com)
Cold beers on the beach...

Leamington Ontario (copyright: GreenGlobetrotter.com)
Grilling kabobs and asparagus at sunset

Leamington Ontario (copyright: GreenGlobetrotter.com)
Oh, the sand in your feet!

Detroit River Skyline (copyright: GreenGlobetrotter.com)
Returning to the D and this stellar view, from across the river

Returning home from our weekend in Point Pelee, Ontario, was a little bit like finishing an indulgent novel. Savoring those last few pages... maybe even backtracking to read a paragraph or two under the premise that you must fully understand exactly what the character is communicating, when in reality, you're just slowly drawing out the inevitable last chapter. 

Somehow, the weekend arrived in the perfect moment, stealing us away from reality just long enough to lessen the sting of its undeniable return. Only an hour and a half away from "home," the destination isn't nearly as glamorous as most of our travels, but there's a beauty to the mishmash of cattails, stony sand beaches and lapping water that's nearly healing.

Rather than plan a day trip, which is entirely doable, we decided to book a small cottage through VRBO so that we could achieve maximum laziness, of course. (There aren't many hotels to choose from, so renting was the easiest option.) Our tiny rental was a humble thing, but it sat right on the Lake Erie coast and offered amazing views from it's sunroom and back patio, where we grilled and guzzled Pelee Island wines.

On Saturday, we began our day late, after a sleepy morning that included lounging on the back porch and reading magazines while I slowly caffeinated - and my boyfriend went running. (Isn't that always the story?) It was such a long morning, in fact, that by the time we left, we figured it'd be easiest to grab lunch at our favorite Leamington spot, Birdie's Perch, a double-decker bus turned fresh fish taco restaurant, where the line is long, the fries are aplenty and the wait is completely worthwhile.

From there, we headed into Point Pelee National Park, a beautiful little reserve that stretches far enough into Lake Erie that it comes to a pin-prick point amid swirling lake waters - the southernmost part of Canada. From an airplane, which is how my boyfriend discovered it, the land mass looks almost man made.

There are bicycle and canoe rentals, so we paddled out into the marshes before hiking a bit and then settling into the sand with a beach blanket, a few beers and frozen grapes. The sun was blazing and shockingly, we were so warm that we were able to pull out our incredibly optimistically packed swimsuits and fry like onions on the bay. Not the smartest duo, having forgotten our sunscreen, but certainly zealous in our quest to seize the day.

This went on for a while, hence the sunburn, before we packed up to grill dinner and watch the sunset from the cottage. For some reason, we also dug out a DVD of the movie Twister (he'd never seen it!) and spent the dark part of our evening entirely enthralled in Helen Hunt's performance.

Sunday morning saw us slowly packing up, squeezing in just a few more minutes on the patio, and then heading out - reluctantly - for a quick breakfast on the patio of Lakeside Bakery and Deli, a cozy and convenient option on the way out of town. Proper A.M. fuel was necessary because our plan was to hit a few wineries on the easy trek home. There are several along the Lake Erie coastline, which I really had no clue existed, and am happy to report are wonderful and quaint and delicious.

We started at the Kingsville Pelee Island winery base, where we tasted a few varietals and then promptly filled our arms with bottles of Cabernet Franc Rose, Organic Cabernet Franc and Secco sparkling wine. From there, we made pit stops at Viewpointe Winery for it's dramatic cliff patio (and sangria special), and Sprucewood Shores Estate for its live music and beach. The locals also mentioned Cooper's Hawk and Oxley Estate as nice options.

So, with wine tasting complete and a half-nap on a blanket by the Sprucewood Shores beach under our belt, we finished the trip home slightly slower than our trip out, content with two full stomachs and the pleasant sting of sunburns.

ALSO: See photos from our last trip to Point Pelee here.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Happiness In a Can + A Few Other Things

Happiness in a can; perfect for picnics at the park and any other staycation activities

Michael Saint James' "Bridges of Paris" coffee table book has me reminiscing

Fresh blooms at Fleur Detroit; there's nothing like spring

An everyday sighting in Detroit, but even lovlier against such a blue, blue sky

Today, I'm holed up in Leamington, Ontario, enjoying a simple weekend away. This sort of break is exactly what I've needed and trust me when I say that I'm indulging in every second of it. As partial payment for my time away from the blog as of late, I'm including some snaps from the past couple of weeks above, and some great reading in the links below.

I hope your holiday weekend is going swimmingly...

How to make a great drink on a plane (Cup of Jo)
Genius! DIY cocktails using only the ingredients available from an everyday flight attendant

Summers Best Straw Hats (Honestly WTF)
Because when else can we get away with ridiculously glam hat and sunnies than summer?

Six Simple Things to Enjoy in Life (Frugal Rules)
None of these will surprise you, but we all need a little reminder, especially on a holiday

Best Vancouver Coffee Spots (The Glitter Guide)
The Northwest is pretty much the coffee capital anyway, right? Here's where to hole up

Berlin Airbnb Review (Design Love Fest)
A minimalist chic apartment in Berlin with lovely photos; what more do you need?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Documentary Diary: The Human Experiment

Happy weekend! If you're looking to take a break from barbecuing or swigging sangria, I've got a scary-in-a-good-sorta-way recommendation for you: The Human Experiment.

Not gonna lie; it isn't the stuff of summer blockbusters. But it IS produced by Sean Penn. Recently released for on-demand streaming (think: Amazon), it's a documentary that takes a hard look at the insane number of chemicals that have found their way into our consumables - and hence, inside of us. (Ewww, I know.)

Interviews with a breast cancer survivor, autism advocate, research scientist and more paint the picture of everyday chemical warfare that's waging all around us. It's an eye-opening and engaging look underneath the cap of the shower gel we're washing with, the ketchup we're dipping homemade fries into and the tupperware we're storing our salads in. And it's really, really interesting, you guys.

At the end of the day, it's a reminder and plea to practice conscious consumerism in a world where labels like "natural" and "fat free" are slapped on everything, and consequences haven't fully come to light.

Living a greener, slower life isn't easy, and the effort it requires often gets buried behind a zillion other priorities, like buying cat litter. (Can you tell what's at the top of my to-do list?) But it's an important step in maintaining your health and preserving a world that's safe for exploration today and well, well into the future.

Check out the trailer for the movie here.

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Holiday Weekend Escape

Crap. Did I forget to mention that I'd be taking a May hiatus?

In full disclosure, the break from blogging wasn't planned... Ever since I started this space for musing about my travels and daydreaming about someday journeys, I've squeezed the writing and photo-taking into the tiny corners of my evenings and weekend mornings. And then May rolled around. And with it, all the forlorn feelings of last May - which saw the loss of my mom - and the pang of Mother's Day, and the hopeful green of springtime grass. It was, and continues to be, an odd jumble of tears and deep longing and hope... and a chilled glass of wine or two on the patio.

So, coming to the end of May feels part relief and part exhaustion. It turned out that what my mind and heart were craving was some quiet, judgement-free down time in between the commitments of everyday life. Thanks for helping me see that through.

Part of that plan also includes a return to water.

A huge chunk of my childhood and transition to adulthood (not to suggest that I've made it there yet...) took place beside a lake in northern Michigan. And when my family sold it a year and a half ago, it was almost like a piece of my heart went with it, not to be overly dramatic or anything. Being near the water, removed from "home" and legitimately checked out was therapeutic beyond belief.

This weekend, we're crossing the border - which sounds far more exciting than it is, given that we live a few miles from it - to Canada, for a bit o' R&R in a tiny coastal town called Leamington in Ontario. It's fish taco shacks and wineries and a tiny cottage on the water. It's a short drive or bike ride to Point Pelee National Park, which stretches out into a pin-prick of Lake Erie. It's relaxation.

I'm nearly giddy. Expect some photos when we return... and after that, a return to regularly scheduled programming. For now, though, I'll leave you with some snaps from last summer's visit to Point Pelee. Enjoy your holiday weekend in whatever way nourishes you most.


Point Pelee National Park, Ontario, Canada / Copyright: GreenGlobetrotter.com

Point Pelee National Park, Ontario, Canada / Copyright: GreenGlobetrotter.com

Point Pelee National Park, Ontario, Canada / Copyright: GreenGlobetrotter.com

Point Pelee National Park, Ontario, Canada / Copyright: GreenGlobetrotter.com

Point Pelee National Park, Ontario, Canada / Copyright: GreenGlobetrotter.com

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A New Podcast + A Few Other Things

One of my new favorite finds; Brooke McAlary's podcast on slow living

Oh, but isn't it lovely? Packing my makeup just became an indulgence with this
springy Kate Spade bag

A snapshot of Cincinnati skies (and a good bar) on a picture perfect spring day
On a recent solo road trip, I found the recently launched Slow Home podcast by Slow Your Home blogger, Brooke McAlery (see the top photo, above). Once you listen, you'll come to understand the appeal not only of her message, but of her melt-worthy and zen like Australian accent.

In a hectic world, there's an extremely soul soothing quality in acknowledging and adhering to a slower pace of living. It's not for everyone, but for those who can step outside of the rat race and embrace a simpler life, there are significant benefits to reap.

Enjoy your week, everyone. (You're nearly half-way to the weekend!)

A Portuguese Hotel Turns into a Serene Retreat (Design Milk)
A peek into the new Hotel Minho (and it's lovely pool!) - an oasis for the e yes

On Traveling Alone (Channeling Contessa)
Thoughts on solo travel + some gorgeous photos from France by Clara Persis

Five Things: A Travel Guide to Houston (Hither & Thither)
A quick and simple guide to where to stay, what to eat + where to shop
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