Hiking: Thousand Islands National Park #Canada150 #DiscoveryPass #hiking

I realized that we’ve been having a ton of movie reviews lately. So, for my sake and anyone else who drops by here not for reviews, we’re having a review-free day! During my vacation, we headed off to Thousand Islands National Park to take advantage of the Canada 150 Discovery Pass to do some hiking.

Thousand Islands is wildly known for its cruise around the beautiful Thousand Islands area to see all the lovely residences on the different islands scattered about and eventually for the longer cruises and those with passports can head on to see the castle. We’ve never been to the castle but its on our bucket list however, Thousand Islands National Park was somewhere that popped up on our radar to check out. We ended up heading into the park and while one of the three locations to go hiking were closed, we ended up going to check out the other two trails locations.

The Visitor’s Centre is located at the Mallorytown Landing Trail area which is kind of like walking around in someone’s backyard as a good bit of the beginning and end rounds around some houses in proximity. However, the trail is pretty nice and easy. Its mostly flat and goes up a small hill in the back roads.

Thousand Islands National Park

It turns out I did take some pictures but nothing was quite as memorable as finally seeing the toilets here which were in little cabins like this and had this Phoenix composting system or something. It said to close the lids on the toilets when people were done but of course, no one does so as I was in there, I kept imagining that the whole Snakes in the Plane scenario would happen or some frog would hop out at me. Stupid since its crazy deep but hey, overactive imagination can be a curse sometimes.

Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park

Here are two shots that I liked of the Mallorytown Landing trail.

Just down the road for about a five minute drive was our next location with a network of over 2 hours worth of trails if you really wanted to do it and it was the Jones Creek Trail. We headed over there and figured out a way to at least reach the other side of their boardwalk and the lookout spot and then head back. The trails have all these animal names and it was pretty cool. For those looking for those trails, you can find the map HERE. we started on the eel and kept going right to follow Turtle which keeping right lead to Heron which leads to the Boardwalk and we did a part of Snipe to the lookout point and headed back. The trails are marked pretty well with the colors of the trails on the map so its easy to just spot where the trail is by looking for those little tags hung on the trees. The trails were relatively easy and its mostly lookout points at marshlands.

Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park

As much as it was a flat course, it was still really comfortable to walk in. The trails were nice and it still had the nature trail that the trails weren’t always really defined so the hunt for those colored signs happened at times. Some of the lookouts aren’t exactly great but its still a milder walk which turned out for the better since we don’t get the chance to hike as much as we’d like.

Thousand Islands National Park is a decent spot. There are some nice scenery around. Although, you should definitely go for the cruise if you are in the area. As for us, we’ll probably see if the leaves are still around and hunt down another location to hike up in the mountains to catch some leaves before the weather gets cooler and we only go hiking in the spring after the snow has melted and/or when the parks open up again.

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Pumpkinferno 2017

We went back to Pumpkinferno this year at Upper Canada Village. This year, we had a pretty decent group with a lot of family and friends. Our group ended up being 6 adults and 6 kids which is a pretty sizable group. One advice I do have is that if you have a choice to not go during Thanksgiving weekend. It goes without saying but there’s traffic to go into the parking lot and the parking is packed solid so its a great distance to walk to the entrance. Second, is to buy tickets online before going because you won’t have to do the incredible line-up just to buy tickets to go in. My husband and I ended up buying the combo package for the winter event called Alight at Night also, so look out for that in December. We already planned out tentative days to go with some friends who are also interested. They didn’t come with our group for Pumpkinferno but apparently, they did a LONG traffic line-up to get in (like an hour or something).

This week is our vacation as we’ve taken last year also because its our wedding anniversary and we like to spend time together. This event came at a great time also since this is one of those events we discovered together as a couple back in 2012 or something. I posted that one back then and it is one of my posts that did the best and still get views every year. Its pretty sweet!

Anyways, this one was great. They had dragons and windmills. witches brewing, and Jailhouse Rock, and Coins from around the world and historical events as well as astronauts and snow activities as well as Dia de los muertos (if I spelled that wrong, I’m sorry).  Check it out and yet again, my Samsung Galaxy S6 does a great job at taking pictures but it still doesn’t do the exhibit justice…keep that in mind if you think it looks meh.

Pumpkinferno

Let’s start!!

Pumpkinferno

Heading to the start of the trail

Pumpkinferno

After some funky pumpkins (not shown here), its time for some dragons…

Pumpkinferno

And migratory birds

Pumpkinferno

Witches are brewing

Pumpkinferno

And Dia de los Muertos is also happening

Pumpkinferno

Jailhouse Rock is going on with Elvis and Marilyn and Audrey (see below for Instagram video)

Pumpkinferno

And we see coins of the world..its Canada 150 so here’s some Canadian coins

Pumpkinferno

Then we get to test our knowledge of Canadian provinces with their trees and provincial flowers.

Pumpkinferno

There’s even an art gallery and Mona Lisa is of course there.

Pumpkinferno

Not pumpkins but near these windmills, we get a nice shot of the beautiful bright moon

Pumpkinferno

Astronauts floating in space

Pumpkinferno

And one of the most beautiful exhibits of snowflakes in the trees

Pumpkinferno

Ending with some iconic snow activities like hockey games and dog sledding!

This is really just a fraction of  Pumpkinferno. If I added more pictures, it might take a millions years for anything to load on the page. I’ll probably post some other photos over at Avenue of Daydreams later in October. Before you go, as promised from above, here’s the Instagram video of the Jailhouse Rock exhibit. Its pretty awesome!

That’s it for today’s Halloween post!
It felt a little inappropriate to talk about the Saw franchise today with the wedding anniversary!
Everything resumes tomorrow and man, do I have a ton of reviews to write up!

Vacation 2017 Day 3: Prince Edward Island Drive

And we continue our journey of Day 3 recap of our Vacation 2017.

Today’s itinerary includes mostly a drive around Prince Edward Island. One of my husband’s request for the trip was to cross the Confederation Bridge so that’s what we are doing today. Hopefully, we’ll manage to get a hike in and see some nice scenery. We had a sudden change in our plans halfway through the day as we stopped for lunch to meet up with one of my good friends currently undergoing training in Charlottetown, which was pretty cool.

Let’s see Day 3!

Shediac, New Brunswick
World’s Largest Lobster

Shediac

In the words of my fantastic Game Warp Podcast cohost when I sent this picture to him, he wondered why and who thinks of these things. But then, why not, right? The Atlantic Canada is known for their seafood and PEI for their lobsters. I visited this when I was 12 probably (or younger) and it doesn’t look as menacingly large anymore although still very sizable.

Crossing the Confederation Bridge to PEI

We had a gloomy morning heading into Prince Edward Island. What can we do, right? Breakfast was included at the Days Inn in Moncton so that was pretty awesome. It took one headache off our hands and gave us time to hit the road faster and cross bridge which takes over 10 minutes to cross, I think. The speed can’t be too fast and its about 13kms long.

Lots of Lighthouses Along the Way

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island

Not weird for an island to have plenty of lighthouses and Prince Edward Island had a whole lot. We obviously didn’t stop at all of them, because we are under a time crunch, much more than we even imagined. You’ll see… However, these lighthouses are different just from where they are located and how they are taken care of really seems like they have their own story behind each one.

Port-La-Joye-Fort Amherst

 

Port La Joye Fort Amherst

Port La Joye Fort Amherst

A last minute decision to turn into this National Historic Site to check it out! Port-La-Joye-Fort Amherst is a pretty location. It has several walking trails spanning out of the main trail. There is some history to learn from this land during war and still seeing a part of the formation/trenches. It was a gloomy day and the rain was going to hit any time so we did the main trail, took a general look around, borrowed their washrooms before getting back on the road.

Lunch at Charlottetown

Swiss Chalet

Swiss Chalet

This trip has marked both a lunch and a dinner experience at two different Swiss Chalet restaurants. Funny, because both of us haven’t eaten there before and we wanted to see how it was. The dinner in Moncton wasn’t so good but this lunch at Charlottetown was much better. A nice and relaxing meal to catch up with our friend about what is going on and his upcoming plans.

Prince Edward Island National Park

PEI National Park

PEI National Park

PEI National Park

PEI National Park

Cavendish Beach

PEI National Park

Green Gables House

Prince Edward Island National Park spans over the top part of the island with three areas to visit. We visit maybe two of the areas as we drove along the scenic routes. The highlight is to visit Green Gables House and the Cavendish Beach’s sand dunes. Our little last minute detour did cost us more time than anticipated however we did see these beautiful sceneries, plus at two parts, we actually saw a fox. You see one of them here, right in the middle of the road. It did break my heart a little to see it so skinny. I think it was looking for food which we don’t have and I don’t believe we should give food to wildlife anyways.

This was the final stop before exiting the National Park. For us, it was getting late and we still had to get to Summerside and exit the island and head further up to our next hotel. At this point, we were certain that we were immensely behind schedule.

Dinner at Summerside, PEI: Five Eleven West

Five Eleven West

Five Eleven West

Five Eleven West

Five Eleven West was the best meal on our trip. While we were behind schedule, we still took time to relax for a nice meal and just enjoy ourselves. My husband loved the burger, and I was pretty happy with my mussels. However, the show stopper here is the sweet potato fries. They were awesomely delicious.

Last stretch to Miramichi, New Brunswick

Prince Edward Island

Sunset

Prince Edward Island

Confederation Bridge from afar

Crossing back to New Brunswick on Confederation Bridge

We ended up getting to Days Inn Miramichi past 10pm. It wasn’t bad but we pretty much got to showering and resting right away as we have a long day on the final day and pretty much our trip back home for another 9 hours. And we do recommend Day Inn Miramichi if you ever decide to go there. Really nice service, the rooms are comfortable and spacious and breakfast is included.

That wraps up Day 3 of Vacation! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun! 🙂

Have you been to Prince Edward Island?
Did you visit the red sand beaches and the sand dunes or even Green Gables House?

Vacation 2017 Day 2: Fundy Bay Coastal Drive, New Brunswick

Moving onto Day 2 of our vacation!

To compensate for the incredibly long drive on the first day, we decided to take it a little easier on the driving department and instead of the 900+ kilometres of the first day, we actually only have about 400 kilometres in the second day. However, we do have some time sensitive spot to hit and also want to get some hiking in so its going to be a time trial all on its own. Good thing that we are great with working on tentative schedules and don’t mind missing out on things if we need to. The second day works mostly along the Fundy Bay Coastal Drive.

Let’s go!

Breakfast at Mix Resto-Bar

Mix Resto-Bar Mix Resto-Bar

Seeing as we were tight on time, we decided to just eat at the hotel restaurant and went back to Mix Resto-Bar. The selection was pretty good. My husband had the belgian waffles and I had the classic breakfast with 2 eggs and bacon. It was very good and really enjoyable.

We took a quick walk to our first stop…

First Stop: Saint John’s City Market, New Brunswick

Saint John's City Market

Saint John’s City Market

Our first stop was a quick walk to Saint John’s City Market which was open pretty early so it fit our schedule. We picked up some apples for the road and also some souvenirs for the family. I’ll have a haul post in a few days. My family reads this and I’d like them to get their gifts before I post it up here to ruin the surprise.

And back on the road after check-out!

Fundy National Park

Viewpoint in Fundy National Park

Second stop: Fundy National Park – Dickson Falls Trail

Fundy National Park

Dickson Falls Trail

Fundy National  Park

Dickson Falls Trail

Fundy National Park

Dickson Falls Trail

Fundy National Park

Dickson Falls Trail

Dickson Falls Trail in Fundy National Park is a really nice short trail. Its a pretty easy trail and for us needing to do a quick but pretty one, it fit perfectly. Along most of the hike is walking next to the flowing stream of water that came from the waterfall. If you don’t know, I love waterfalls. A major sucker for them. A lot of times, its really the treat of hiking on certain trails. If you need, just flashback to a Saguenay hiking where we did the Sentiers des Chutes.

 At this point, we were getting incredibly close to missing out on walking the ocean floor at Hopewell Rocks so its time to press on…

New Brunswick

Stop on the way…

Third Stop: Hopewell Rocks

Hopewell Rocks

Hopewell Rocks

Hopewell Rocks

Hopewell Rocks

We made it with about 30 minutes to actually walk around on the ocean floor. I had been here before but last time, we came on tour so it wasn’t as much time so this time, we actually walked across the entire length. We made it to one viewpoint as we walked back which is about a 15 minute from the entrance to the ocean floor access. I actually took a few pretty cool macro shots however those shots will be over on Avenue of Daydreams. I’m going to have that up and running back to normal again.

As the thunderstorms caught up with us, we sat down for a late lunch at the restaurant at the Hopewell Rocks area.

Fourth stop: Magnetic Hill, Moncton, New Brunswick

Magnetic Hill

Magnetic Hill has changed a lot from my memory of it. My husband and I decided to try out the Magnetic Hill experience, which is pretty much an optical illusion made by the rolling hills next to it to create the effect that it is pulling your car uphill and all you have to do is steer. Here’s a little video of our experience. Its mostly my husband talking. He’s only steering and for him, that is a strange experience.

Moncton was where we made our stay for the second day at the Days Inn.
We had dinner for the first time at Swiss Chalet and also went to New Brunswick Liquor to find some local wines.

Check back this weekend for the haul and next week for Day 3!

Vacation 2017 Day 1: Montreal to Saint John, New Brunswick

Wednesday marked the start of our vacation! After postponing the Eastern Canada trip for almost six years (if not more), we finally managed to get a part of it fitted into this upcoming trip. As usual, I will be showing it day by day over the next two weeks. With events coming up, I have to keep it released a little tighter than usual. However, we actually spent most of our time driving than spending a lot of time sightseeing. Hopefully you will still enjoy it as we still had a lot of time. With our job schedules, we don’t usually spend a lot of time together so its nice to take a vacation where we can spend 24/7 together.

The first day was all about heading to our first hotel in Saint John. Going to New Brunswick takes a good few hours from Montreal. Our first day mapped out to be 9.5 hours without any stops. Suffice to say, we wouldn’t make a drive that had no stops. The good part however is that New Brunswick can be traveled in scenic routes and our first leg was all about the River Valley Scenic Route.

Let’s go on Day 1!

On the way over, we passed a county called Saint-Louis-du-Ha!Ha!. Suffice to say that it was pretty fun to say the name and entertained us for a little while.

First Stop: Grand Falls – Grand Sault, New Brunswick

Ron Turcotte

Ron Turcotte Statue

We know nothing about horse racing but Ron Turcotte is a horse racing legend. Another tourist there from Alberta told us that he had met Ron Turcotte and that he was a stellar man, also that he is one of the best before he had to retire.

Grand Falls Gorge

Grand Falls Gorge

Grand Falls Gorge was our main goal of this stop. The gorge is really beautiful. There are a few walking trails around however, the day was all about the thunderstorm chasing us down so we walked down one path a little while out before we say the storm getting incredibly close so we decided to just get back on the road and stay safe in the car and maybe beat the rain again as we headed to our next stop.

Second stop: World’s Longest Covered Bridge – Hartland, New Brunswick

World's Largest Covered Bridge

World’s Largest Covered Bridge

I’ve never actually really seen a whole lot of covered bridges and this one is the world’s largest covered bridge and so incredibly cool to drive through. It was a game of taking turns with the other people on the other side. A little dangerous but everything worked out.

Third Stop: World’s Largest Axe, Nackawic, New Brunswick

World’s Largest Axe

We are on fire on checking off our non-existent bucket list of visiting the world’s largest stuff in Canada. My darling co-host Elwood Jones actually shared a list of the world’s largest objects when we shared the image on our Game Warp Instagram feed and my personal Facebook feed and I’ve actually went to a few of them across Canada. This was way more awesome than we had anticipated. Other than the thunderstorm threatening us to leave, we had a lot of fun there. Plus, there was some nice scenery by the river.

Saint John’s  & Dinner

Here’s a shot before getting into Saint John, New Brunswick where we had our first hotel stay at Delta. While the amenities were pretty cool, my main thing about this hotel is that unless you pay extra for valet parking which is like $5 more or something than normal parking next door, the parking lot next door is actually pretty inconvenient because you need to walk from one end of the mall to the next to get into the hotels and have access to the rooms. However, the room is pretty neat and it was spacious and very clean.

We went to the restaurant located in the mall called Mix Resto-Bar.

Mix Resto-Bar

My husband took the Fish & Chips. And I took the Maple glazed Salmon with Basmati rice and vegetables.Mix Resto-Bar

Mix Resto-Bar was okay. The food tasted good. We both enjoyed our meals quite a bit. However, the service is not too good. Our waitress was friendly however, while she suggested a drink to me, she never brought it to me. The good thing is it wasn’t even charged but then she also forgot to charge my husband’s drink and I had to remind her to add it back on. It was late at night and I guess everyone makes mistakes and forgets stuff. I wasn’t really desperate for a drink either so it didn’t matter too much. We had decent food and that is what really counted at that moment.

That’s the end of Day 1! A long drive but a few interesting stops!
Day 2 will be on Thursday!
Have you been to New Brunswick before?

Unboxing & Recap: Miss Fresh #7

Two months has gone by since I’ve ordered a Miss Fresh box! Wow!

We are working on cooking meals more and totally enjoying it. There’s also the factor of having meals that appealed to us. This box really worked for that. Let’s take a look!

Kung Pao Shrimps
with Calrose Rice

Miss Fresh

Kung Pao Shrimps

Kung Pao Shrimps was good. I’m not exactly sure about using Calrose Rice. Its okay, not my favorite. However, it is a simple and balanced meal even if it lacked a bit of spice. There is quite a bit of preparation for this one with a lot of cooking. Anything with a lot of chopping usually takes more time for myself just because I’m incredibly clumsy so take much more time to do it.

Chicken Marbella
served with couscous and spinach

Miss Fresh

Chicken Marbella 

Chicken Marbella is an interesting recipe. I mean this in the best way. While I’m not a huge fan of the couscous and I cooked the spinach which was supposed to be a salad, the highlight is the chicken itself being paired with dried prunes and green olives. I’m not exactly a fan of olives but this combination worked together really well. It takes a little longer, and was listed as more than 30 minutes to make and that is because the chicken needs to go into the oven for thirty minutes or something. I can’t remember as I don’t have the recipe in front of me.

Ginger Turkey Meatballs
on a bed of Sesame Noodles

Miss Fresh

Ginger Turkey Meatballs 

I love sesame noodles. The sauce they make here is very delicious. The meatballs have turmeric and curry spices so it has a spicy taste to it, along with some veggies, this ginger turkey meatballs is really good and quite easy to make. It has sparked a desire to stock up on sesame noodles. Beware for smelling like curry and onions though. I cooked this one morning and I had to change afterwards.

Zucchini and Corn Quesadillas
with Pesto

Miss Fresh

Zucchini and Corn Quesadillas 

The meal in the box that only my husband could eat, however was quite the blast to make except its crazy with all the chopping. Its chopping up jalapeno and green peppers and then there is an ear of corn to strip off the kernels. Aside from the chopping, its easy to put together and a vegetarian meal solution. Even with that, my husband enjoyed it.

Overall…Ginger Turkey Meatballs and Chicken Marbella are the stars of this box. I loved those two recipes a lot. I’m hoping to see more sesame noodles added into the meals eventually. There’s not much to say because everything was fresh and the box was delivered safely and securely as usual.

Chesterfield’s Gastro Diner (Ottawa, Canada)

Lots of eating posts lately, eh? Expect a few more! Actually this one is rather timely!

While I normally would be sitting at home on the last weekend of NaNoWriMo doing word sprints and just in small, writing till my wrists hurt and ending this thing, I’ve been oddly relaxed about the whole thing. I’ll talk about it further in the recap post whether I finish it or not. However, I ended up having a little brunch date with a friend! It was a fantastic day where I drove two hours in the morning to get to her place, had a little time to hang out before heading out to breakfast at this little joint she took me to called Chesterfield’s Gastro Diner.

Chesterfield’s Gastro Diner

Chesterfield’s Gastro Diner is definitely a little cozy joint. There aren’t a whole lot of seating and it was bustling with line-ups at the front door. We ended up waiting for maybe about fifteen to twenty minutes before getting a seat, which is pretty good. The kitchen is open in the middle and you can see the chefs and staff walking around doing their stuff. The seating is pretty original with odd pieces of one thing or another to sit on. Some look like rather rustic yet elegant pieces but with some antique-ish feeling to them. The waitress we had was friendly and the service was pretty fast.

Tea

Chesterfield's Gastro Diner

They had a pretty nice selection of tea choices. I took the green tea. It isn’t any fancy brand but it was a good tasting one. What I’d like to show here is the cute little tea cups and the tea pot that they used. It has a pretty older style to it.

Breakfast/Brunch Meals

Chesterfield Gastro Diner

Traditional: Two Eggs (over easy) with bacon and a side of roasted beets

Chesterfield's Gastro Diner

Classic Benny’s with a side of roasted beets and pita chips

I took the traditional eggs since I wasn’t too hungry and can’t be too full to head back on the road later on. Mine actually also comes with toast and homemade jam. I have to say that the jam is pretty good. The flavor was raspberry. My friend took the classic benedict which came with two sides. She told me about how this was super delicious even before she ordered it. Unfortunately, hollandaise sauce, I believe, has milk so its a big nono for me. (I’ll have to research that later on.)

Overall, a pretty nice little breakfast joint. I’d recommend a visit. The menu is pretty extensive unexpectedly and I’d probably eventually come back to give something else a try. However, maybe earlier hours going would be better than when we went at busy breakfast/brunch time on the weekend. Still, we had a nice chat and it was a delicious meal and the portions were great.