Stratford-not-upon-Avon but Almost as Wonderful

Stratford-upon-AvonAlthough Stratford-upon-Avon has a good 750-year head start on Stratford, ON, Shakespeare's birthplaceand certain decided advantages,
most importantly (at least to me) the birthplaces of Shakespeare Anne Hathaway Cottage & Anne Hathaway, with all the quintessential charm of ancient thatched roovesBirthplace of Shakespeare  and half-timbered buildings brightened by many tiny, paned-glass windows Avon River, ON …still, the Stratford that resides upon the Avon River in Ontario, Canada, Perth County Courthouse. Stratford. ON is a city of many charms and gardens, and when Alan and I visited last weekend, Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon we found that even the Shakespearean plays were as creatively re-enacted as any we’ve seen in England (such as the one we saw at The Swan a few years ago). Muse at Festival Theater We visited during “Culture Days,” Sign on Park Benchand so there was not only art in the park along the Avon River, Gallery Stratford  but the Gallery Stratford (and other venues) were free to the public, Listening in The Gallery along with many special events, Alan in Garden by Normal School such as a free Scottish dance class at the Normal School. The Old Rectory, Stratford We stayed at a gorgeous B’n’B called The Old Rectory Kim and Alan at the Old Rectory where Kevin (professionally trained chef from the U.K.) and Kim Creamy Eggs and Salmon at The Old Rectory. Stratford have been dazzling guests with their gourmet breakfasts Garden behind the Old Rectory and the warm ambiance of their historic home for the past 19 years. Shakespearean Gardens. Stratford, ON We spent our days wandering through Stratford’s many gardens and shops, Salmon Salad feasting at their restaurants Butternut Soup and Shepherd's Pie(Bentley’s had [relatively] great prices and good food; their butternut soup
with maple syrup and traditional Shepherd’s pie were both exceptional), Feeding waterfowl along Avon River and meandering among the waterfowl who live along the Avon River. Swan on Avon River. 9.25.15+15 At last count, Lots of Ducks on the Avon RiverI think their numbers may rival that of Stratford’s voting population! Festival Theater, Stratford We spent our evenings enjoying brilliantly acted plays and musicals. Sound-of-Music-Stratford-Festival My favorite was a flawless performance of The Sound of MusicBust of Shakespeare along Avon River although The Taming of the Shrew
showcased a husband-wife team in the leading roles,
which somehow lent the mad comedy even more tongue-in-cheek levity. Swirls in Avon River However funny the premise
that a woman can be tamed through severity in the name of love, Jesus Knocking I have to say that my Lord, Jesus Christ, conquered this wild-hearted Kate, Canoeing at Sunset on Avon River not through severity, but through unending, patient kindness. Sunset on the Avon River Has your heart been conquered by love? Stratford, ONOr, are you waiting for a severe mercy to overcome you?Avon River“Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip” (Psalm 18:35-36). Stratford City Hall

(All pictures were taken during our stay in Stratford last weekend, except for the first 4, which were taken in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, several years ago [when I also took the picture of the Swan Theatre].)

The Armstrong Archives (35): The World’s Longest Freshwater Beaches

Monday, July 11, 1977 Dear Mom and Dad,IMG_1483Wednesday we left for Canada, crossed the Blue Water Bridge at Port Huron and traveled up Highway 21 to Sauble Beach, a seven-mile sandy stretch known as IMG_7666“The Daytona of Canada.” It was rainy and cold most of our stay there, but we enjoyed having the beach to ourselves and exploring Sauble Falls, Owen Sound (on the Georgian Bay) and resting. Friday we came back as far as Grand Bend and stayed until Saturday afternoon. It was sunny, warm, and wavy there, and IMG_7677we really enjoyed swimming and playing in the sand. Aaron came back with a much expanded vocabulary…”donuts, beach, Burger King (with much emphasis!!), sand, sea gull, fries, chocolate (ice cream)…junk, trash, chips…” you can tell he was exposed to many unusual taste treats. In fact, we were all ready for some non-greasy home cooking when we got back.IMG_1607Aaron now says about 530 works, and I’m having trouble keeping track! He also can count to five, but never on request, and announced “Poot…pot” the other night, giving me enough advance warning to get his diapers off before he sat on the pot. He was just as pleased as we were with his first successful attempt at using the potty chair!

Well, got to go. Thank for letting us visit this summer. It seems to create more havoc than pleasure with little ones involved, but maybe we can get you to visit some down here too, which might be more restful for everyone. Alan’s next real break won’t be until Christmas: December 24-January 1st (just a week). Maybe someday we’ll be “rich” enough to stay at motels instead of descending in a wave of commotion!

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June 1, 2013 commentary on this entry: If you’re interested in a great place to have a family-friendly summer beach vacation and don’t live too far from Ontario, Canada…think about Sauble Beach! It is still a warm and very beautiful place to visit!

Sauble_Sign“At over seven miles long (11 km), Sauble Beach is said to be the second longest freshwater beach in the world after Wasaga Beach. A unique phenomenon of sandbar deposits building out along the Huron shore keep the beach at Sauble very shallow and warm.” (Wikipedia)

“Welcome to Sauble Beach! Voted the #1 beach in Ontario, it is one of the crown jewels of Bruce County.” (Sauble Beach website)