Quite some time ago when we were thinking about things we’d like to do to celebrate our sixteenth year of marriage (and twenty-seventh year of being together), a little music festival and one of our favourite provincial parks we’ve been to, combined in one all-too-alluring-for-us event called Sandbanks New Waves festival. Quite frankly something that combines camping, music, Wolfie and our little family and you pretty much have the most wonderful way to encapsulate our relationship, marriage, and the family Danielle & I have made together. So I booked the weekend off, we bought tickets for the festival and we made it a date!
But before we get into that, this week saw Emelia fully immersed into her new class at school, with new chums and a new teacher. She’s gotten over the cataclysmic news that her bestie, Anna is in the different Grade Three class and now she seems to be surviving on her own! (gasp) She even went so far as to join the Cross Country team for the school! Chalk that up to another weekly activity we need to be mindful of on the calendar. But, suffice it to say we are much happier and more so, relieved for her, that things are going well and getting in to a routine for her.
For work this week we had a bit of resetting to do to the store so on Thursday night, rather than my regular close shift I actually worked from four until one in the morning—working on changing over some stuff after the store closed. We managed to get everything done in whirlwind time and I was actually home, sanding and varnishing my wood cabinet for the Marantz stereo by one in the morning on the front porch.
And before we could get out of town Friday morning for our weekend away there was one last thing for me to take care of: Friday Morning Hockey! Despite not getting to bed until well after two in the morning, I was up and off to hockey shortly after six am. With that out of the way, the trailer packed by Danielle, and my stereo cabinet put together and in its place under the television, there was nothing left to do but hitch up and hit the road for our weekend together. While we may have gotten on the road a little later than we would have liked, the good news was there wasn’t really a rush to be down there either.
After travelling back and forth from Wolfe Island for six years and having never stopped, we decided that this time we would finally stop at the Big Apple just off highway 401 in Colborne. It’s quite the place and has way more than just apple pies. We had lunch and looked around and spent over an hour checking out the place. Despite having eaten way too much, I am pretty certain that this won’t be the only time that we will stop there when we’re in that neck of the woods.
As for Sandbanks… We arrived about an hour after check in time and made short order of getting set up. We opted for a different campground this time—one that features much more unique dune-filled sites near the beach and very close to the amphitheatre where the festival would take place. While it took a bit of math to figure our how to dock Wolfie, when the site was all set up, I was quite happy with the setting and the location. Even better that the back side of our site featured a hilly, lush forest that Emelia could play in to her heart’s content. We were close to the comfort station and really only had one site that was near enough that we could see. We will definitely come back to this campground again… and we’ve already scouted some other sites on the beach, without hydro that are beautiful and we will want to try once we have camping off the grid sorted out.
The festival itself ran from one in the afternoon until nine at night. They had a wonderful mix of music, food, kid’s activities and the right setting in an amphitheatre just off the beach. While the weather didn’t cooperate, even the one rain shower and then the torrential downpour couldn’t prevent us from enjoying ourselves. And the best part was poetically the clouds parted, the skies cleared and stars came out just as the act we were very excited to see headlining, Sarah Harmer took the stage. It was an amazing way to spend the day and I can’t think of a more appropriate representation of our relationship and the joy I have gotten from it than the love of nature and music that threads Danielle, I and now, Emelia together. We retired to the campsite for one last campfire evening and I went to bed and slept a deep, peaceful sleep. It was perfect.
Today we got up and took the day at a very slow pace. As we pulled out exactly at the checkout time of two pm, Danielle remarked that this was the latest we have ever left a campsite. And it was. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to leave and it wasn’t that we didn’t want to be back home—it was the perfect mix of going at the pace befitting a Sunday off together. We made it home at a leisurely pace too having just gotten into the driveway about an hour ago at 7:30 pm.
When I sit down and think about it now, the weekend couldn’t have been more perfect. Sure not everything went the way we wanted – Emelia had a big meltdown today, the rain kind of sucked yesterday – but at the end of it all there is no better representation of our relationship. We have been through some amazing highs, and equalling jarring lows, but through it all, there has always been me, Danielle and the rock solid foundation of knowing I wouldn’t want any other person there at my side enjoying this journey with me. Everything in my life has been made better by her presence, and this weekend was no exception. Thank you for what we have done, and what we will continue to do: Just be us.
What an incredible weekend! Around this time last year John and I had heard about a smallish music festival in Sandbanks Provincial Park and both remarked how amazing it would be to head down the next year to the festival. Before we even knew the lineup we had the weekend booked and campsite chosen.
The festival was timed perfectly with our 16th wedding anniversary and we knew it would be the perfect way to celebrate our life together. Out in nature, under the big Prince Edward County skies, listening to music and being together as a family of three. Perfection really!
The week leading up flew by in a flash and I spent much of my evenings getting things in order so we could be ready for the weekend. The meals were planned, the trailer was organized and packed and I had Emelia and I ready for the weekend. When John got home Friday morning all he needed to do was pack his suitcase and hitch up the trailer and we could be off.
The trip down and completely uneventful, to avoid the dreaded Toronto traffic we opted again to take the 407 toll road and bypass the city entirely. We made incredible time and this allowed us for one and for all to make a top at the Big Apple. We have driven by the big red apple on the side of the 401 every year a couple times a year for over 6 years and never stopped. So we decided to time lunch and stretch of our legs to check things out. Emelia was in her glory, the first area we went into was a kids happy place – candy wall to wall! Mommy and Daddy got to pick up some wine at the winery section and all were happy. We then went over to the lunch area, there was little for me to choose from since everything seemed to be full of gluten but I did find a salad and John and Emelia picked out their lunch. We could have easily been there for few more hours as there was tons to do but we had to get on the road and off to Sandbanks.
We finally arrived at Sandbanks around 3 and found our campsite. The site was smaller than we had last time but it was quiet, had a beautiful setting of a hilled area behind us a perfect area for Emelia to use the full scope of her imagination in. She spent a good part of the day running around the hilled forest making up an elaborate world and game. It kept her quiet happy while John and I got camp set up. Before we knew it our little home away from home was all ready to go.
After getting a few supplies in Picton we came back to camp for supper and a campfire. All in all the absolute best way to spend our anniversary. After Emelia went to sleep John and I finally had a chance to sit around the fire, have a couple of drinks and enjoy spending a quiet night together.
The morning we took at a perfectly slow pace, just as you should being camping. We had breakfast, took the bikes out for a bike ride and then got things together for the festival. The weather wasn’t looking very promising so we opted to drive down. When we arrived Emelia immediately wanted to head to the kids tent. This is where she and I spent much of the first half of the festival. They had set up a creative area where children could take all sorts of materials and make their own costumes. Emelia was in her creative glory. In the end she had made a cape/coat with her initial on the back, complete with a lace collar and sequin clasp. She later added a pair of fingerless gloves with lace trimming and a flower headband. Needless to say Emelia wants to start collecting loose materials and a glue gun so she can make her own creative costumes.
I finally persuaded Emelia to break away from the craft area so we could watch a bit of the music before heading out between acts so we could head to the campsite to get supper. After supper we got back to the festival but it was about then the skies opened up and the rain came down and hard. Everyone took a mad dash to find shelter. We headed to the truck to take safe haven for a bit. The rain continued for a while and then as it was settling down to a sprinkle we headed back in to listen to the last two acts. The grounds were flooded in sections but it didn’t dampen anyones spirits.
Today we came home, we took the morning at one of our laziest last day of camping paces. We finally got on the road after 2 and are home now with a house that needs to be put back together and a pile of laundry but more importantly a weekend full of great memories and the best way we could imagine celebrating our anniversary, camping, music and family!