This article is from my monthly Hyperlocal Travel column in The Community Edition (August 2019).
Overtourism sucks. So what to do when you need to travel to a city like Amsterdam?
New year, new column! I present, "Waterloo Region Through a Traveller's Eye."
Sometimes it pays to follow niche Instagram accounts, like the Stratford Writers Festival. I spotted a post in mid-August that mentioned a “Museum of the Moon” installation in Stratford, Ontario. Stratford is a 40-minute drive from my home in Kitchener and the photos alone were enough to convince me that I needed to visit the moon.
Even travels close to home can be exciting!
I discovered the installation was up for 10 days, until Sunday August 26. I had very few evenings available when I could go see it. Happily, both my husband and I found ourselves available on a Monday evening and it became an impromptu date night!
We grabbed a pizza from Pazzo Taverna + Pizzeria for a picnic by the Avon River, then crossed the footbridge to Tom Patterson Island to wait for darkness to settle.
As it grew dark, the 23′ diameter moon began to glow. The surface of the earth-bound moon is an exact reproduction of the celestial moon based on photos from NASA cameras. Artist Luke Jerram assembled the images into this stunning work that draws an admiring crowd, just like a spectacular full moon does. The Museum of the Moon was part of the brilliant programming for the Stratford Summer Music 2018 festival.
Everyone could take a 360-degree walk around the suspended moon to catch a glimpse of the sides we normally can’t see from earth.
My date, who always travels with a sketchbook, pen, ink and watercolours, had time for some night sketches.
I spent my time people watching, photographing the moon and writing “Moon Messages,” which visitors were invited to share with everyone. Reading all of the messages was entertaining and insightful! The Stratford Writers Festival encouraged sharing the messages on social media for a chance to win tickets and prize packages to their October Writers Festival events. Did I? Of course, I did.
A Silent Disco took over the Tom Patterson Island to close out the night; a pretty perfect way to host a dance party, without all the noise issues!
The Museum of the Moon reminded me of an upcoming exhibit at Kitchener’s Homer Watson House & Gallery by Royal Astronomical Society of Canada: Science and Art: 150 Years of Astronomical Imagery.
I’m looking forward to the opening reception on Sunday September 16, 2018 from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm…. more moon, more stars, more night sky.
As children, my two sisters and I lived for the annual summer “family beach day” on Lake Huon, one of three Great Lakes we can flee to in south western Ontario. Aunts, uncles and a rowdy contingent of cousins made it an extended family affair.
Being rural farm families, our parents pre-planned the much anticipated excursion date, typically, the first Sunday in August. With one chance for a beach day each summer, we packed the car with coolers of hamburgers and hotdogs on ice, BBQ grills, bathing suits, every inflatable toy imaginable leaving barely enough room for passengers.
“But, don’t you remember shivering in the wind, wrapped in towels?” my middle sister asked recently. I do remember, all too well. Beach day was never, ever cancelled due to less than ideal weather.
We went to the beach, regardless of the weather.
Now, in my adult life and fully in charge of my own schedule, I relish the freedom of a last minute weekend at the beach when the forecast boasts sun, hot temperatures, the promise of a world-famous sunset and not a hint of rain.
The beaches of Lake Huron are the best place to relive summer memories, without the regrettable weather.
I wrote a guide to Lake Huron Beaches for The Globe and Mail, which appeared in the Pursuits section of the paper on Saturday August 4, 2018.
Stop over planning your travels. I dare you to take a weekend away, without an itinerary!
I have this on my ‘list of things to do in life’.