Too often we tend to forget that when visiting family or friends during a holiday it is also a chance for a different kind of vacation or, in my case, another opportunity to be a traveller and learn more about the place I am at. I started my day by venturing out.
Yes, the sidewalks are icy and the temperature was -7c when I headed out. We are expected to be feeling below 0 in double digits! Oh, the weather out there is frightful… I am happy to say that although it was cold I kept pretty snug, so glad I dragged along my snow boots! First on my list of getting reacquainted with downtown Kingston was to find breakfast. There are more restaurants in the city, for its size, than anywhere else in Canada. (I believe I gave that statistic last year) Lower Princess Street, finally having Phase 3 of reconstruction completed summer 2016 – budget was 13 million.
It was dreadful to navigate last winter. Too bad the sidewalks are still not treated for well enough for safe walking, particularly the corners where there are little crossing signal posts, surround by ice and snow, just out of reach of pedestrians already slip sliding along.
I am pleased to have made my way to a coffeehouse that opened last winter and is still running strong (pun intended). Students seem to be the niche Crave has carved for itself, lots of seating, at least one shared table, plug ins for the inevitable computers, tables sturdy enough for textbooks, decent prices, and of course lots of choices of coffee and far too many of food, particularly of the baked variety.
I had planned to be very good after too much bread on my day of travel, but the pastries, muffins, all sorts of cinnamon buns, croissants (in a category of their own in my opinion) and bagels, which I first turned away from, drew me in again when I glimpsed the board. So I had a breakfast sandwich – whole wheat bagel with an egg, bacon and cheddar cheese. Plus an Americano.
I love university students, especially during exam time, there is such earnestness and determination in the air, along with the tip tapping of keyboards, flipping of pages, scratching of pens or pencils (still in use, usually on index cards). I might have been the only person there not using some form of electronic device.
Good coffeehouses are fantastic for people watching, and I was only near the front of the place – it is such a favourite I was lucky to have found a seat at all. I stayed for an hour or more, reading, listening and watching before grabbing a muffin and coffee, and my uneaten yogurt, for my daughter. This is where travelling and visiting so nicely meet.
I then sought out a little art studio I had found the year before, Martello Alley, where I had found two prints of places I had been to while in Kingston. I wanted a third one, and was very happy to discover they are still in business selling the work of local artists.
I did find another print, same artist, of the bakery my SIL works at. Although I have not actually been inside the bakery/deli, I have been the delighted recipient of their delicious baked goods. I thought that would be a perfect addition for my collection.
My walk back to the house was a little perilous, I finally walked part of the way on the road, they are clear, the sidewalks are not. I even have a kitty I can cuddle with, he is new to the family, an adorable 7 month old grey with a bushy tail. He discovered snowflakes and was trying to catch them as they fell – the window kept deceiving him. An excellent way to view winter, from inside!