The Perks

via rail train out of toronto
Over the past decade we have become big fans of VIA Rail. We don’t travel much – but when we do it tends to be along their tracks. It means we just need to drive down to the city (Kingston) and that’s the extent of our ‘responsibility’.
inside train
What would have been six to eight hours of driving … becomes one hour of driving and seven hours of chatting, reading and working on my laptop. The wireless service on the trains now is tops. I have the ability to drop down the rabbit hole when I indulge in ‘free surfing’. That type of mind space can make the hours disappear. We did have a good chuckle at one point as our train seemed to lean awfully far to the right … and then the same to the left. At one point, on our second train, Ede was gripping my arm to keep herself from falling out to the aisle. That train also had a LOUD!!! rattle just below our window. I figured out that if I jammed my elbow against it I could deaden the racket. We didn’t have a train like that on the way home. Phew!
via train
It is still expensive … but has become a line in our budget book … well worth the saving. When we would drive distances I would often find that as we hit our destination I needed a few hours of sleep to regain my balance before I was much good for visiting. Coming off a train ride that doesn’t happen.
lamplighter
It’s a good thing! ‘Cause we had some serious vacationing and visiting to do! Family had flown in from BC and from Florida, driven out from Barrie and Toronto and rode the rails from farther east. Most of the ‘out of towners’ stayed at the Lamplighter Inn. It had an AMAZING atrium filled with a big pool, a lighthouse waterslide, koi ponds, waterfalls and live tropical trees and gardens.
slide lamplighterI was SO GLAD that our nephew, Tyrek, was one of the early arrivals. He and his grandparents had flown in on Friday from Port Coquitlam, BC. With a few deftly placed ‘dares and double dares’ we ended up both racing up the lighthouse stairs and down the most ‘spinny’ slide I’ve ever been on. I couldn’t help ‘whooping’ it up as I kept flipping up the sides of the slide through the corkscrew turns!! And then – pooosh – I’d fly out over the pond at the bottom.

There were three big company Christmas parties going on there this weekend.
best-western-plus-lamplighterOn Saturday night, after our family Carol Sing, we were gathering the ‘survivors’ for a room party. At one point I found myself scooting through a corporate photo shoot in a fluffy white housecoat over my bathing suit, accompanied by a ‘niece-in-law’ in her pj’s. We lined up with one of the black tie groups getting their shot taken … Only they were only too willing to scoop us for their team picture! 😉 This Christmas tree is made of tiers of poinsettias. Someone has some major watering to do in that atrium! It was beautiful. Neat to have such a gorgeous collection of flowers and tropical plants swallowed by the echoes of laughing kids and adults rocketing down the slide or enjoying the pool and hot tub below.bar lamplighterWe gathered at the Goodall’s home for the Carol Sing on Saturday night. And then on Sunday the family plus friends regrouped at the Lamplighter’s Ball Room for a brunch to celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary. Bracketing those two great get togethers different combinations of family met up for breakfasts, lunches and dinners at ‘Shelley’s Bar and Grill’. Food! A weekend FULL of amazing food! What a great place to meet up with people. So many chances to catch up. Chances to meet new family members – young and old. Chances to watch moms and dads and aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents… It really was a special weekend. Kudos to the Crooks ‘kids’ for making it all happen. Great memories!

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