Sunday, August 10, 2008

Vacation - Day 4

Wednesday - Day 4 - was spent primarily at Henley Island. Most of our rowers had events today, so time was spent in St. Catherines. It was an absolutely stunning day - bright, a few white puffy clouds, a gentle breeze, temperature of around 75F.

St. Catherines is a nice community about 15 minutes to the northwest from Niagara. It is a typical upper midwest bedroom community. The largest employer in the region is General Motors, which has a plant in St. Catherines. All of the normal comforts of home are available here - Costco, Home Depot, Staples, etc. In the summer months, the breeze off the lake can keep things comfortable.

The rowing venue is a lake that is an offshoot of the St. Catherines canal between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The closest that those of us in California would relate to would be Lake Natomas in Sacramento. Organization for this regatta is top notch, and things run smoothly considering all of the rowers and all of the boats.

I still couldn't keep my phone quiet today, so I was back at the hotel by 1PM to field calls. My youngest had to stay on the island for afternoon practice, so he got back to the hotel around 1PM. I cleared my calls and headed back to the island for the afternoon.

Wednesday afternoon we decided to do a little sightseeing on our way back to the hotel. Instead of taking the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way - the main freeway in the area), we drove the lakeshore back from St. Catherines through Niagara-on-the-Lake. I call it the La Jolla of the Great North! A quaint little town with a ton of boutiques, restaurants, coffee houses and b&bs. All of the buildings are out of the late 1800's which provides character. Now, imagine La Jolla mixed with Napa! That's right! The southern shore of Lake Ontario has a climate that is conducive to fruit orchards and vineyards (the heat from the water keeps the southern shore area warmer than the north). Drive along any road in the area for winery tours and tasting, fruit orchards, and farmer's markets!

We spent the rest of our day driving through this very interesting area and back to the hotel. Wednesday nights is fireworks night, so we enjoyed the fireworks from the comfort of our hotel room!

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