We were in Kingston for the weekend! We drove up to the city where Jon and I first met, and where I certainly had many formative experiences in university. Kingston is about a two hour drive from Toronto, so not a place we visit very often, but it's a beautiful place to live in or to visit. But the nicest part about visiting Kingston is that it's a familiar place for us, even though we haven't been for years - we know the downtown streets close to the campus, and we know a few places to eat or to visit. I guess the nature of being a university student and not having a car is that you walk everywhere you need to go, and so you get to know the streets in your immediate neighbourhood very well.
We had terrible weather at the beginning - chilly and rainy. In typical Liz fashion, I only wore my Birkenstock sandals, so my feet were cold for basically two days straight. Jon offered to buy me a new pair of rainboots, but that would be ridiculous, since I already own a pair of rainboots, and what would I do with two pairs? But luckily for us, the sun came out soon enough.
Of course we had to visit the Queen's University campus! We stayed right downtown - our place overlooked the square - so we were about a fifteen minute walk from campus.
We tried to ambush one of our longest-time customers who is a professor at Queen's, but luckily for her, she wasn't there when we stopped in. I guess looking back on it, we would've been quite the visit - tornado Caleb in his yellow jacket, me in my sandals and wet hair dripping all over essay papers and Jon trying to stop Caleb from grabbing all the books off the shelves. Next time, right? ;) Over the three days we were there, we went to a few cafes, wrote some postcards, got Cambodian take-out, did some browsing in some of our old favourite shops like Novel Idea, ate some noodle salad from Pan Chancho (go figure we go to a bakery and get noodles). We also went on the ferry to Wolfe Island. The ferry is free and is right downtown, and you can either walk onto the boat or you can drive your car on. At Wolfe Island we had got some pecan tarts to bring home from the bakery, and also had a few slices of pizza while waiting for the ferry back.
However, the only thing you have
to do when you're in Kingston is try Bubba's poutine.
I'm serious about this. Since moving to Toronto, I've tried many, many poutines, but not one has been quite the same, or even close. On our final night in Kingston, Jon picked up some poutine after Caleb was tucked in. I was a bit worried that I had hyped it up too much and it wouldn't be as good as I remembered it to be, but it was possibly even better. I can't quite put my finger on what it is about Bubba's poutine. I'm pretty sure it's the gravy - there's kind of a smokey flavour to it - but what do I know. It doesn't hurt that they put a lot of cheese. Jon wants to take the train to Montreal, and while I normally would love to do that, how are we going to stop in Kingston en route for Bubba's? While we were there, we stayed in an AirBnB so we could have the flexibility of cooking, or eating take-out, at our own pace and without worrying as much about the mess and noise disturbing other restaurant-goers.
This was the view from our apartment! It was beautiful. And the location meant we could walk everywhere. Caleb is almost 20 months now, but he's a real trooper when it comes to walking or anything physical. We brought the stroller just in case, and actually it might have been a good idea when we walked all the way to campus, and walked in and out and around the buildings, but he turned out to be just fine. In fact, I think I was more tired than him when we got back... Staying at an AirBnB meant we could put Caleb to sleep in the bedroom and then relax a bit in the living room and kitchen. Funnily enough, we put Caleb to sleep in the middle of the queen-sized bed, and when I went in to check on him - he was gone! I seriously almost had a heart attack because I was shining a small light to try and locate him and all of a sudden it seemed there was no baby to be found.. But it turns out he had rolled off the bed, and was sleeping on the futon mattress we had put on the floor. At home we all sleep together on a mattress on the floor, so there's never been a concern about him rolling off. Caleb was half on and half off the futon mattress, sound asleep. I guess even in his sleep, he knew which way to roll to continuing achieve a sound sleep, as the other side of the bed was just a few pillows on the floor.
This was actually our very first time leaving the shop in the hands of our very capable wonder team, even for just one day.
I cannot say there were not some moments of writhing in pain, particularly on Jon's part, at the thought of some impending disaster and his own body not being on site to manage the whole thing, but this was a pretty big milestone for us!
And we had a great time. We've been blessed with a pretty easy-going toddler to travel with - we drove up during his nap time in the afternoon and drove back during the same time, so he slept both ways. Caleb loved exploring the new apartment and the hallways and walking around town.
Caleb seemed to have a lot of fun, and we got to see some places from our past that held a lot of good memories for us. Not only that, for the first time, after putting Caleb to the bed, we didn't have any work to do! No packing, no re-stocking, no counting shipments. I will admit Jon answered a few emails, but we spent a few hours child-free and work-free!
That all being said, of course there really is no place like home, where the sofa is all soft and familiar, and all of your things are all around you, and your favourite snacks and teas are in the cupboard, and you have a washing machine and Caleb knows where all of his toys are.
And of course, you're right behind the shop.