We just returned from a wonderful visit to Canada, to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving at my parents’ cottage on Lake Huron in Bayfield, Ontario. The leaves were ablaze with gold, red and bronze, the nearby farmer had grown a tall crop of corn, and the weather was alternately warm enough to play on the beach, yet cool enough to sit in the rocker by the fireplace. My children had a constant sense of wonder about them, examining for hours my father’s antique toys, rowing out on the lake in a little boat, and running through rows of corn, or crunching dry leaves underfoot in the woods.
Bayfield is one of those hidden treasures which soon becomes a retreat for couples seeking a quiet yet luxurious getaway, or families peaking in and out of quaint little shops and chatting with friendly locals. Some treasured memories for us were Noah playing an old harmonica and dancing along with his own music, Joseph obsessed with his “chine” (machine), lifting and maneuvering toy cars with its mechanized lever, hanging out with Casey and Melanie, my brother’s fun, affectionate and infinitely patient children, and trying our hand at horseshoes.
You never know what might capture a child’s imagination. There was a set of magnets that became miniature modern art sculptures, and a border collie, Jacques, who faithfully kept us all closeknit. We walked the long, narrow bridge over the gorge in Goderich, (Canada’s “Prettiest Town”—I would say there are plenty that give it a run for its money), and our children played happily alongside one another for the entire visit, no need for a referee!
Living in California, it was especially a treat to watch the kids interact with their Canadian grandparents. Eager to show them collected rocks or sit in a lap for cuddles, the miles of distance became insignificant.
Travel with children is often a struggle. For this trip we have only blessings to count, thankful for Thanksgiving.