I am home from camping. I went canoeing at Sandbanks and saw swans with their babies, and a baby turtle sitting on a lily pad. Plus I made a brand new friend named Chloe.
What a glorious week! To think our post last week—just a few days into our week away—spoke of the great place we were in as though our week together could not get any better. And yet, it did.
By the time we packed up the site on Friday morning getting ready to move down the road to the island where Wolfie got her name we were already full with enough experience for us all that the week away could have ended right there and we would have been satisfied with the trip. But it wasn’t done yet! We were headed down the road an hour and a bit for one our favourite festivals aside from our very own Home County Music & Arts Festival. Yes, we were again off to the Wolfe Island Music Festival! But more on that in a bit…
We were – without a doubt – completely and utterly won over by Sandbanks Provincial Park. It had the perfect mix of everything we want: a beautiful sandy beach; plenty of nature trails; tree-filled camping areas that provide canopy from too much sun or rain; and, more stuff to do in a week than we have time for. We absolutely will return next year provided one cold morning in February the internet gods smile on us like they did this year. It is easily our favourite camping memory to date in Wolfie!
One of the best things about the week was of course the friendship that Emelia struck up with Chloe through the help of their Mom’s. We’ve already kept contact with them through Facebook and Emelia has already started planning what she is going to mail off in her first letter to her. And Chloe’s Mom, Christa has let us know that they’re going to try and have a week at Sandbanks next year at this time so that the girls can get more play time together, and so they can enjoy more of the park that we got to experience.
So, it’s safe to say that Wolfie’s second birthday will be celebrated at the same place we did her first!
When it came time early Friday morning to pack up the site there was a slight twinge of not wanting it to be over. But in the same breath we knew we were packing up not to head back home and be done vacation – we were headed down the road for the whole reason the vacation was booked: our yearly pilgrimage to Wolfe Island Music Festival. This year marks our fifth year going and second time talking Wolfie. To say we have camping in our beautiful lil’ egg trailer sorted out much better than last year, would be the understatement of the year. We rolled into the festival site and had Camp Teeter set up in about an hour flat. The addition of our awning and outdoor rug pretty much transformed us from being the people with the cute trailer to being the people with sweet traveling living room. We were comfortable, set up and ready to enjoy some music!
The weather all week was pretty fabulous but the weather on the island all weekend was nothing short of perfect. 26º Celsius, not a cloud or drop of rain in the sky all weekend long. The setting – the largest of the thousand islands at the mouth of Lake Ontario is absolutely stunning in its own right, but with the weather we had, out of this world. And the music that our friend Virginia had programmed was the weather’s twin. It was a cataclysmic marriage not unlike peanut butter and chocolate.
The bands I was most excited to see were Harlan Pepper, Luther Wright & The Wrongs (reuniting after not playing together for ten years), Grey Lands, Mozart’s Sister, Thus Owls, Etiquette (featuring our friend Julie Fader and her hubby Graham Walsh), Alvvays, Bry Webb and most of all Young Galaxy. And to a band, every last one of them delivered performances that made me so very happy. But the best part was dancing to a lot of them with Emelia who seems to have the same affinity for live music that Danielle and I do.
But the best part of the weekend as much as I love the music is all the friends we get to connect with there. We got to see Ben and Meagan and play with their beautiful daughter Audrey. We got see and hang out with Julie and Graham and give Julie crap for not bringing her daughter who is Emelia’s buddy as far as Emelia is concerned. We ran into all sorts of people that we’ve run into over our years there. I finally got to meet Stacey someone whom I’ve known online for probably as long as I’ve been going to the festival but finally we managed to cross paths at the same thing that connected us: music (and CBC). And we got to see Virginia and thank her for all that she does. And, of course I got to say hello to Sarah! (I love that is becoming a yearly thing)
And that is the thing I think I love most about the festival. While Emelia may be off in the number of friends she thinks I have (for the record it’s 8,000), but what she is learning and seeing is just how music can bring people together. And that people are just like songs—all with something different to say. And I hope with all of my heart that these experiences she’s having as a festival kid are what inform her as an adult. And that she one day passes that music love forward to those she comes in contact with. That’s all I could hope for.
What a perfect week for the Teeter Pod!
I am not sure how to put into words how amazing this week was. Both John and I work in jobs that are constant noise, mine is a mix of amazing kid laughter and well kid tears and tantrums. John is in a job that is constant noise, customers, music, the hum of computers, and co-workers. We both love what we do but it is a lot of chaos at times. So what we love about camping and especially when we find the perfect campsite is the calm, the forced slower pace of the entire experience. Sandbanks was that in a perfect nutshell.
When we pulled up to the site we just instantly relaxed after a long drive up. Even with about an hour or so of full set up time to create our own home away from home it was still relaxing from the second we arrived. Well not the second, Emelia was still punchy after being trapped in the car for 6 hours but who could blame her. Once we had the hammock set up she was a happy camper and John and I were well on our way to getting it all set for our week away.
The site was pure camping bliss for us, it was the perfect blend of nature and necessity. Across from our little forested area was the water source and the public comfort station. But more than any other site we have ever been on in a campground was the sense of being in the middle of nature. Our site was tucked back from the road on a mini driveway and we were surrounded by a canopy of trees. What this meant is that we were in constant protection from the sun and it made the evenings wonderfully cool and comfortable to sleep without being cold.
In our limited time with our trailer this has hands down been the most unique campground set ups. We were in the Woodlands campground which was surrounded by trees in the forested area, there were many other campgrounds and they were all unique in their own right, you would be driving over looking the lake and a small little site would pop out, around another corner would be another site. You never felt once that you were being jammed in to maximize profit but more to create an experience with the world around you.
Hands down this has been our favourite campsite and we will hopefully be back if we can manage to get another site. The campground like all other popular campgrounds in Ontario book very early and we had to book this one back at the end of February to secure our week.
The week was full of highlights, we did everything from hiking the trails, to spending the early afternoons at the many beaches, trips to the store to get ice cream, canoeing a couple times in the week down the path, but one of Emelia’s favourite highlights was the extra events they had through out the week. She loved the fashion show telling the history of the early years of the park and the hotel that once flourished there, she loved the night we went to sing camp songs and roast marshmallows with the camp leaders. All in all she just about loved every moment of it. What I love is that she loves the same things we do, she loves to disconnect (other than the morning watch of a bit of her movie while mommy and daddy slept in a bit) she loved going out for bike rides while I did my daily run, she loved learning about everything around her.
All in all it was exactly what we needed, to take the time to appreciate everything we have and each other. Add in some new friendships, a beautiful natural setting and you had two very happy parents and a very happy little girl. Being able to stay up past her bedtime certainly helped too.
By Thursday evening John and I started to plan the next day and take down what we could before heading to bed. The next morning we got up when our bodies were ready and started packing up the trailer for the next leg of our journey. The annual pilgrimage to Wolfe Island. I know John and I love it but I know that each year this is a trip that Emelia just loves. She kept telling me all weekend she wanted to move there and was sad that we were only really there for two days. She would have loved to stay longer.
On that note it is close to midnight and well we are tired after a long drive home, getting life back in order here and knowing we both have to work in the morning. So good night, I am going to enjoy a deep and restful sleep in our own bed. And some snuggle time with Skylar who really missed us while we were gone.