Great Days Out

April 22, 2010 — Hello, Readers and Friends. Welcome to my world. The world of Valerie Pring. Many of you may know me through my stories in Lake Simcoe Living magazine; and those of you who live in Georgina, a monthly paper called Georgina This Month. Unfortunately, Georgina This Month followed the path of the dinosaurs, and to some degree, I went with it; but, Johanna Powell, the editor of LSL, offered me an opportunity to start again and here I am.

     Writing a blog is a whole new experience for me. Almost weird. I feel like I am interviewing myself, and it’s strange being able to use the word “I.” I thought I would tell you about the adventures I go on each month with a group of women I met through the Newmarket camera club (Country Images Camera Club), and just maybe, you might want to check out these places.

There are five of us in our group; Ann, Wendy, Linda, Mary and, of course, me. Wendy is proud of being the oldest, and even though she has some snow on the roof, she sure has some fire in her shoes. According to Wii fit, Wendy has bragging rights of being 46. She is a fabulous woodcarver and some of the birds she has made are world-class. Mary is a retired horse vet; she makes me smile with her brilliant use of the English language and will have pet sayings like, “Oh, that is totally exquisite.” Ann’s nursing skills are a part of who she is, a very caring practical person; and Linda is an excellent artisan. Linda has just started making jewellery. Her creations are wonderful.

We’re all somewhat retired — well not me, although my husband may differ — and once a month we get together for what we call “Ladies Day Out.” A sort of red hat event but without the hats, although I do like red coats. We always meet at Mary’s house in Newmarket and squeeze into Mary’s Honda Civic to visit interesting places. Linda gets the front seat due to her long legs and Ann, Wendy and I sit in the back. We’ve been doing this for about two years now, and I’ve got to tell you, there are some fabulous things to do in the Golden Horseshoe. Our only criteria in planning a trip is that it has to be within a 90-minute drive of Newmarket.

On our trip in March, we set off for Aurora, coffee in hand. Ann and Mary wanted to visit a stained-glass shop so that they could buy different pieces of frosted glass. They cajoled Wendy into making a frame to place the glass in. The idea is to shoot photographs through the glass. At the camera club, they had a workshop on this technique, and it does create some unique effects.

Next stop was the Bruce Mills Sugar Bush located at 3291 Stouffville Rd., Stouffville, just east of Highway 404. None of us had visited a sugar bush in years. Mary had been lusting for pancakes, so we felt a visit to a sugar bush was both cultural and satisfying. I should mention at this point we all love food.

The entry fee was reasonable, and we were all smiles until we arrived at the parking lot. There was a sea of school buses. We all gasped, said a few negative words about sharing, but actually it added to the excitement. Kids certainly do energize spaces, and we were there for the food!

Not surprisingly, we must have looked out of place because an elderly man who was involved in running the establishment asked us if we were single. Ann pretended to look rather shocked and responded with: “Now, is that the proper thing to ask a lady.” The poor fellow looked gob-smacked. Fumbling for words, we all broke into laughter. He then directed us to the pancake house.

The food was great. It was crazy busy, but we loved it. We then took a walk around the trees, read all cutsie signs describing how maple syrup is made. Snapped off a few photos and checked out the petting zoo. Mary wanted desperately to fix the harness on the donkey, but for some reason it chose not to come near us. Probably a wise old donkey.

Bellies full, our next stop was Port Perry — AKA Potpourri, with an accent on the "o." I think the name gives the place a sense of snootiness. Actually, it is very charming and I love it. If you haven’t been to Port Perry it is a great Canadian small town. There are a variety of shops that line the main street and they are all unique. They sell giftware, collectables, fashion, and there is a lovely department store, which has really nice stuff. Of course, we had to check them all out. Our favourite store was the chocolatier. The main street ends at Lake Scugog. It really is picturesque. There is a nice waterfront park and a great place to eat ice cream. Across the street from the park is a small café, which, of course we had to visit for tea, scones and clotted cream. I highly recommend it.

Towards the end of the day we set off to go home, but our LDO (Ladies Day Out) was not complete without one more stop. Located at 9899 Regional Road 1, Uxbridge Township, is the Thomas Foster Memorial. Built 1935-36, it is a gorgeous building and very photogenic. Foster erected the memorial for himself, his wife Elizabeth, and their daughter Ruby. He was a prominent businessman and served as the Mayor of Toronto in the 1920s. Inspired by a visit to the Taj Mahal in India, Foster employed the services of H.H. Madhil to create this building based on Byzantine architecture. Unfortunately, the building was closed when we arrived, but we would all agree that it should be put on the list of great places to visit during our Ladies Day Out.

If you have any suggestions about places that we should visit, or have stories you would like to share about your adventures, I would love to hear from you.