13 March 2013

Getting Away From It All in Lovely Niagara-On-The-Lake

This past weekend Daryn and I escaped together for a glorious, desperately-needed 44-hour weekend away in Niagara-on-the-Lake, our first in two years. It was heaven.

Way back in the dark ages when we were very young... and stupid... and really, really naive... Daryn and I committed to each other that we would take a weekend of "us" time every three months. We even managed to stick to that promise for a while, too, despite having one small child who needed to be farmed out for those weekends away. But when that one child turned into two (and the second one was a bit of an infant she-devil), the babysitting well dried up considerably, and has continued to dehydrate as the years pass and our schedules become more and more dominated by the kid's activities.

But to realize (in the midst of mild nervous breakdown stemming from said hectic schedule) that we hadn't actually been away alone together in two years... TWO YEARS (wtf?!)... was mind-blowing, and definitely a situation that needed to be rectified immediately.

So our leaving was sort of a spontaneous affair. We booked the cheapest hotel deal we could find in NOTL which, in the off-season, is pretty cheap. We filled the tank with gas, came to a rolling stop in front of the house after swim practice on Friday night and basically dumped the kids out on the sidewalk, then took off with no other plans than to spend a lot of time eating, sleeping and... let's call it canoodling. Rawr.

By noon the next day we were bored. Well, not bored, exactly. Not of each other. But what started as a plan not to leave the hotel room AT ALL during the weekend transformed pretty quickly into, "Well, maybe do you want to take just a quick walk downtown? See what's what?" Which we did.

Beyond our favourite haunts ~ Irish Design, The Scottish Loft and Maple Leaf Fudge, of course ~ two shops caught our collective eye that we've never explored before.


~ PANDAYA GALLERY ~







Nearly everything in the store is individually sourced by the owner and her artist husband from Africa, India and Indonesia; architectural pieces (such as carved antique doors) sit alongside vibrant, jewel-toned textiles and contemporary accessories. It's a magpie's dream: I could have spent a great deal of money in there and held back only by the thinnest threads of self-restraint (and a husband who had a firm grip on my wallet while I snapped photos). We did purchase the cutest little pouf for A's room that I'll (hopefully) be sharing next week once we've got her room painted (this weekend? fingers crossed) and it no longer clashes with her too-pink walls.

The second shop caters to the theatrical and the morbid. I, being both, fell in love. Daryn, being neither, suffered it gladly because I was so stoked about it. He's a good husband.


~ The Haunted Shop ~










The Haunted Shop capitalizes on NOTL's ghostly history as Canada's most haunted town, offering daily ghost walks June through October. I totally made puppy-dog eyes at Daryn because I sooooo wanted to go, and he initially agreed. Once mid-afternoon set in, however, and the awsmazing burger and flight of beer we inhaled at Cork's Winebar and Eatery settled in our tummies, we were too tired to traipse around town being scared. Plus, we forgot to bring jackets. Instead, we'll head back at Hallowe'en ~ with the appropriate outdoor gear ~ so I can truly terrorize myself.

Speaking of puppy-dog eyes, I can't mention The Haunted Shop without highlighting this little beauty:



No, not Daryn, though he's cute too (obviously).

Let me draw your attention to Shia the rescue dog.


~ Shia Le Woof ~



Is she cute, or what??! She and Daryn made fast friends; the two of them hung out (as pictured above) the entire 25 minutes I was yapping at the owner and shutter-bugging the store. If I could have smuggled her back to the car and brought her home with me, I would have.

Outside of this little bit of shopping and much fabulous eating, we watched this



which I can't recommend. Then this



which I totally can. I laughed until I nearly peed my pants which a) I wouldn't admit to if it actually happened - I would totally downplay; and b) am copping to it almost happening because I trust you and I know lots of you have had babies too and totally get why this nearly happened. Suffice to say: if you haven't watched it and you're ANYWHERE in the neighborhood of 40-slash-married-slash-with-kids, you need to watch it. It's your life, only funnier.

And then... we came home. We missed the kids, sure, and the Shih Tsu, but I'll tell you: there's nothing like a weekend away from it all to make you want another weekend away from it all.

Signing off now to surf around Expedia.ca... :)