I had the most fun this week! We went to Ottawa. I got to see my friends in Stittsville. And we went to Wolfe Island Music Festival.
As I sit down to write my part of the post I am still in need of a shave, shower and a full night sleep in our bed.
I am feeling equal parts tired and satisfied with our big week out in Wolfie at Bon Echo and Wolfe Island Muci Festival. It is the best and quite frankly, the only way to return home!
From where we left off in last week’s post having just gotten settled in at Bon Echo it is hard to believe all that happened only took place in the span of a week! On Sunday night we had a good rain that carried over into Monday. We settled on plans to make the two-hour trek into Ottawa to take Emelia to the nation’s capital. Unbeknownst to her there was also an American Girl Store in the Indigo, right downtown by the parliament buildings in the Rideau Centre. Special bonus for me was getting a chance to see our Apple Store there too.
After the mall side of the visit to our nation’s capital was complete, we got out and wandered all over the downtown area exploring the Parliament buildings, the Rideau Canal and even took in some amazing performances in the street as part of the Ottawa Busker Festival. And, about halfway through the day, we were invited for dinner in Stittsville on our way back to Bon Echo to see Emelia’s camp besties: Chloe and Courtney. Emelia didn’t need a nanosecond to further consider the invite.
The visit was fantastic, a home cooked meal in a house after living in a trailer was a nice change as well as getting a good visit with Chris and Crista while the girls played for what was not enough time we were told when we got back on the road for the two hour drive to the campground. We got back to our site at 11pm, but the day was a rousing success and a great break in the camp life.
The rest of our week at Bon Echo was in beautiful, sun shiny weather, more moderate temperatures than the sweat locker we’d been experiencing back home. We swam, we camp fired, we rode our bikes all over. In short, it was a perfect week in the trailer in the park that has quickly launched itself to the top of our list. They had new shows for their morning and evening programs, and Emelia managed to make some more new friends with a couple families that were next to our site. The whole week there was as delightful as the last time.
Friday morning first thing we were packed and out of the park by 9am as we had heard about some backups with the ferry to Wolfe Island given the big, main ferry was out of commission. We made amazing time to Kingston (about an hour and a half) and managed to arrive at the dock and be ushered immediately onto the ferry as it was just leaving. We literally had zero minutes to wait and were on the Island a mere twenty minute ride across the water.
After some confusion with new festival volunteers as to the where about of the camping sites, we eventually had the Camp Teeter compound all set up in the place that has been ours for the past four years. And the best part is the family that we had got to know over those last four years as they camp next to us, were back too—their daughter old enough to be entertained by Emelia!
Midway through the day, our friend Dawn made it over by ferry and got settled in with us. From that point forward the only marching orders were to enjoy each other’s company and to have a great festival. And that we did! The lineup was absolutely stelar – there was something in it for all of us. The only real challenge – as always – is the Friday night lineup that slots bands you want to see, at the same time at different venues. But, there isn’t a festival out there that doesn’t run into that problem.
Emelia was a trooper through all of it. Honestly I think she was as excited (if not more) to be on the island in that idyllic outdoor setting under the stars taking in some fantastic music. Both nights we let her stay up entirely too late so that she could be with us at the main stage, all together to dance and enjoy the music that threads us together. And both nights we ended up carting her back to Wolfie, in a deep sleep crammed inside Danielle’s daycare wagon.
There was a point on Saturday night when I was standing right at the edge of the stage enjoying Hayden when I felt a tap on my shoulder which was Emelia who wanted me to pick her up and hold her while we both just soaked in that moment. And that was where it occurred to me that these memories we’re leaving her right now will be ones that are deep in the DNA of who she becomes and will help her identify with what her family was and is. And that long after I am gone, these will be the memories that carry her on, and help her generate her own as she creates her own version of family.
And in that realization, with the music I love playing and the stars starting to come out in the night sky, I could not have been any more content. As much as we didn’t really want to wake up, pack the trailer and head home this morning, coming back with the volume of moments and memories that we collected, made it all the more easier. It was the perfect vacation that will be something not a single one of us will ever forget.
What a glorious week!
The weather was almost perfect, the park was stunning, the music festival was perfection and we got lots of time as a family and time with great friends.
What else could we possibly ask for?
As John mentioned we had some questionable weather on Sunday evening, some pretty heavy rain that kept us up until the wee hours assuring that it didn’t turn to something more serious. With the weather moving on and rain settling down we finally got to sleep well after past what we would have liked. After of course, keeping the awning drained of the rainwater collecting on more than a few occasions.
The weather on Monday was the only day that was really going to be bad for the week during the day so we decided to head into Ottawa to show Emelia the capital. Since this was our family vacation we decided to give Emelia a little splurge with a trip to the American girl store. We however made the mistake to tell her that we had something special if she was on her best behaviour. Well that turned into 3 days of asking us every 10 minutes what the surprise was.
Finally after what seemed like the 100000x asking where we were going we arrived at the American Girl store. And we proceeded to spend the next almost 2 hours wandering around choosing carefully what she wanted for her dolls. In the end the splurge was done and we had one happy girl. She happily brought the girls all over the capital in their new outfits and hairdos showing them all the sites.
I have not been in Ottawa in years and I was once again in love. I just adore being around all the history of the core of the city. I was loving even more that Emelia had a million questions about everything we were seeing. We went to the canal, around Parliament Hill and puttered around downtown taking in the busker fest. The day was no where long enough but we know we will be up again for another visit hopefully soon and get more time to explore.
By the end of the afternoon we had to rush off as we had another special plan for Emelia (and us too). I had been texting our friend Crista trying to figure out how to squeeze in a visit. She invited us for dinner so we could have more time together.
At the dinner hour we arrived and in seconds the girls were off and playing happily. We spent the next couple hours catching up with Chris and Crista hearing all about their trip out east. We started planning our next trip together which we are hoping is going to be over the winter for a mid-winter break. We have really hit it off with their family it just sucks that we live 6 hours away from each other.
The next day the weather was calling for some warm temperatures. We had the wonderful blend for temperatures for the rest of the week. It was sunny and warm in the day in the sunshine and cool enough on our site because of all the forest covered shade. It made for just warm enough days and nice cool nights.
By the end of Tuesday Emelia had made some friends. While we were in Ottawa a family had moved into the campsite beside us, it was three moms and their combined 6 children. Three of the children were girls, one girl just older than Emelia and two a couple years younger. The girls hit it off instantly and they spent the rest of our week running back and forth between the two sites.
It wasn’t long before we were invited for drinks and music at their campsite that night and we had a chance to hang out with the huge fun group. The girls had a ball and were singing and dancing until long after the sun went down.
The next day the children had hatched a plan that we would all go together for the hike up Mazinaw Rock. The other family had their fishing boats and we had to rent canoes but we managed to coordinate time together and meet up across the lake to the hike. The kids were bounds of energy and before we knew it we were at the top of the rock watching down and enjoying the beautiful view of the entire park. We had a snack and the kids ventured over to make their own inukshuk at the top pf the overlook over the lake. After we made our way back down the rock we climbed in our respective canoes/boats and went to the middle of the lake so the children could put on their lifejackets and jump in the water.
This was one of my true highlights of the trip, seeing Emelia tentative but getting over her fear to take a chance and jump into the unknown. She admitted after she was scared but wanted to try. I was beyond proud of her for taking a scary risk to enjoy life to its fullest. I could not stop smiling from ear to ear seeing her splash away in the water with her new friends without a care in the world.
The rest of the week camping was a combination of family time, Emelia playing with the friends she had made and lots of family memories. Once again Bon Echo did not disappoint. It has quickly moved to the top of our list of favourite provincial parks.
Right after an early breakfast we were packed and off to our annual trip to Wolfe Island. Hands down this is one of our highlight weekends of the summer. This year was our 6th year at the festival and I know this will be a festival we will be back year after year and be ingrained in Emelia’s childhood memories.
This year was even more special as we got to see one of our favourite people and John’s concert wife, Dawn. With John’s job and the funky hours we are not able to sneak up to Toronto as often as we used to be able to so this means we have not seen Dawn and our other music loving friends nearly as much as we once did. So this made this weekend even more special as we got to spend the entire time with Dawn.
We made quick order getting on the ferry right away so we could get our mini campsite set up and just wait for Dawn to arrive. Emelia was over the moon that her buddy was coming and spending the entire weekend with us. Long gone is the girl who wouldn’t say boo to anyone, she spent the entire weekend talking Dawn’s ear off about just about everything.
The festival was incredible, Emelia had a blast and the music was one of the best line-ups we have ever seen. I saw acts that I had never heard of before and we also got to see some of my favourite musicians. It is a festival like no other for sure.
The two days flew by and we were all sad to say good-bye to the island. Emelia at one time was refusing to get out of the trailer because she was NOT leaving and she was moving to Wolfe Island and that was that. We did convince her that she would miss everything she loved at home and she agreed that maybe going home was a good idea after all.
So we are home now, and as sad as I am that our vacation is done and I am happy to be home and even happier to sleep in our own bed tonight.