Tuesday, May 28, 2024


We just arrived home from a birthday trip for PH.  His birthday always falls on the Memorial Day holiday for us and last year we spent the weekend in Stratford on Avon in Ontario, Canada and had such a wonderful time, he wanted for this birthday this year to go back.  It's a big one for him so we wanted to do something we knew was a guaranteed fun time.  But if you go to Stratford, you have to like going to plays, because that's what the city dedicated itself to - theater.  It's not a big city, about 30,000 people so it's very navigable.  The theaters, shops, restaurants and beautiful riverfront parks are all right in the center and walkable. And walk we did.  

I won't do a play by play but there are anecdotes and those are shareable.

We left Wednesday afternoon and detoured a bit to go to our grandson's lacrosse game.  He is a senior and if they lost this game it would have been his last high school game (he was recruited to a small college for their lacrosse team so he will continue.)  Well, they did lose, it was a hard loss because they are such a good team they've won way more than they've lost. 

Next morning we headed to Canada and our motel.  The hotel experiences we had on our trip to Williamsburg  were such that I implored PH to please be careful about the accommodations for this trip since we'd be there several nights.
He found this charming little motel and it turns out we stayed there on our first trip to Stratford 40 years ago.  As soon as we pulled in I remembered the farm fields right out back.  40 years ago it was a pasture for cows, this time it's planted.  The room was spotlessly clean, the setting charming.
You can see from the bedroom window how close the field was to the back of the motel. I walked it, 50 paces of my feet.  I'm not sure which came first, the motel or the farm but they've been neighbors a long, long time.

And then.
As we were leaving to go to dinner I noticed this tractor passing by.  It didn't quite hit me what they were spreading but when we got home it was obviously apparent. Pig manure.  
Now, I like cow and horse, their deposits are, to me, not offensive. But pig s**t is a whole other thing. 
And the entire place, the area around the motel, inside the rooms, everywhere smelled STRONGLY of freshly spread pig poo. OMG.  
There was nothing to do but laugh.  We couldn't 1) complain to the motel.  What could they do?  We couldn't 2) tell the farmer to stop. It's not done and anyway, how dare us?  We couldn't 3) move to another hotel/motel. We just didn't want to pack up and move to someplace bigger, more expensive and without the charm.  
We knew this would be something we would talk about for a long time so we zipped our suitcases shut to protect them, even kept the windows open at night, and stayed. I drew the line at sitting outside in the evenings to read. 

Sunday was a day that the city of Stratford takes a break from the plays.  We took the day and drove down to Niagara Falls.  Now, we were not born yesterday.  We knew it would be busy, we knew it was a huge tourist destination and we knew the main street was tacky, tacky shops.  But we were there to view the falls, we didn't have children with us, we could call the shots as we saw them and do what and how much we wanted.  
I don't care how tacky it is to say you are going to Niagara Falls, they are still a spectacular natural wonder and it's impossible not to be impressed.

That boat is filled with people wearing red rain slickers to stay dry as they rode so very close to the falls
It does get scarily close.  Forty years ago we did this with the kids and while we entertained the thought of going again, we didn't because the line to go was A MILE long.  No exaggeration.  We don't have that much time left to us to stay in like that long for anything.  

I told PH I would rather spend the money that ride would take and get a nice birthday lunch for him
We were advised to go to this place, it's right at the top of the falls, the view was stunning and the lunch delicious.  
There must have been 100,000 people in town that day.  I even asked the waittress "do you think there could be 100,000 people out there today?"  She said, "oh, yes. More than that."  
They were from everywhere, India, Pakistan, Korea, China, Japan, the Arab countries, Spanish countries,  you could hear every language on the street. 

 As we walked along I can't tell you how many times I asked people who were trying to take selfies and group shots without the person holding the camerain them, "Do you want me to take a photo of all of you together?"  Lots of hand signs but they gratefully accepted the offer.  PH asked me if I was having fun.  "Yes!" I said, "now they can go home and be IN the photo they are showing." 
Do you see the rainbow?   The boat is at the horseshoe falls, what we call the Canadian side.  The smaller one in front of this boat is what we call the American side.  They were sending boat loads of people wearing blue slickers.  Their line wound up the hill and all the way back to that building on top of the hill way in the back.
We had a great day, it was beautiful weather, we walked from one end to the far end where the restaurant was, had lunch, walked back and returned to Stratford.  We saw the falls, were glad we weren't dragging tired, hungry, bored children like SO many were, marvelled at the size of the crowd and realized why people smiled politely when we said we were "going to take a ride to Niagara Falls."

More later.


  1. What a wonderful trip - tacky or not I would love to see Niagara Falls. Hubby did years ago and does not want to go back! Great photos of you two.

  2. what great way to celebrate hubby's birthday.
    I'm sure the folk were pleased you offered to take some photos for them.

  3. Lovely photos Denice, looks like a special place to go too, not tacky at all