We dragged ourselves back up from the river and over to Sparks Street mall taking advantage of the various air conditioned tourist shops and had lunch in a bakery/cafe. We met up with Ken and Lorraine at the appointed time but they decided to have a cold beer at the hotel bar first. Sounds good! We had a quick one and then i checked out of the hotel and we were on the road. It's about a 2 hour drive to Kingston, Ontario, Canada's first capitol city on Lake Ontario. There is an old fort, Fort Henry there that looks to be very interesting. I must have a look there if i get to come back again. The hotel we booked was the Queen's Inn on Brock street. The hotel is in a heritage building, dating to 1839 and has 17 rooms, some doubles, some singles. There is a sports bar in the building and a restaurant / bar as well. There is no elevator however so isn't wheelchair accessible. The room we had was on the corner of the first floor (the one above the ground floor, "second floor" in North Americanese!) and had two double beds and blessed air conditioning. All rooms have en suite facilities. The rooms on the second floor (third) have sloped ceilings and the windows are smaller, and go from the floor to about knee high under the eaves.
This "sail ping" weekend has reached it's fourth anniversary and
has grown each year. A few people got together to go sailing and had a
ping at the pub owned by the organizer's (Sue) brother Mark. Sue owns a
boat and a few of her friends hospitably offered a few people seats for
a sail amid the tall ships in Kingston Harbour. Each year, more and more
people have traveled to Kingston for this event and this year there were
nearly 60 people signed up to go, although the final number was about 45.
This year, instead of individual sailboats, a "tall ship", the St. Lawrence
II was booked for 30 people. A sailboat also took out two families that
brought their kids as well. Friday night, the early arrivals were to meet
at the Irish pub, Tir N'an Og which is just beside Kingston's city hall
near the waterfront in the (Prince ?) George Hotel. There were probably
25 of us by the end of the evening. Food again was great and company even
better. An Irish band played later on though the general consensus was
that they weren't very good overall. Still we had a laugh and lots of fun
singing ourselves hoarse.
We walked around the little cove to the Tall Ship, St. Lawrence II, a brigantine which is also a teaching vessel. We had a group photo in front of her and a quick safety talk from Captain Bob (who won the hearts of more than a few of the female passengers! LOL!) There was no gangplank or ramp, just a row if tires on a pole to step on between the dock and boat but the crew were there to help. We scattered and found places to perch or stand and away we went!
The weather is overcast and a bit foggy. It would have been nice if it had been bright and sunny but then it would have been quite warm so perhaps this is better. As long as it doesn't rain! We were out nearly three hours and came back once the clouds started to look threatening. Another private sailboat, the Owera, brought out two families with kids and we saw them a couple of times and our hostess Sue was hijacked and taken out in a motorboat for a break. We sailed up and down the Kingston waterfront with a good view of Fort Henry on Wolfe Island. That looks to be an interesting place to go explore some time. We were served tea and cookies as a snack later in the voyage too. Somehow strong tea out of plastic cups and cookies tasted wonderful out on the water!
We had been told that we would be able to climb the mast if we wanted but the only one brave enough to give it a go was Tracey. She got strapped up and up she went, accompanied by a crew member. She was hooked onto the rigging at all times, shifting it as she went higher. Everyone watched in amazement at her bravery and asked me if this was out of the ordinary for her to do something so adventurous. I just laughed and said, no, not Tracey! She loves to do things like that and she later said it was a bit scary going up but a real charge once up on the cross-spar. What a view! She took photos up there too down at the boat at us looking up at her and waving! Well done!
We came back the last 45 minutes under engine power as the wind had died down some and as i said, the clouds were threatening and the captain wanted to get back before a storm. Back to the Queen's Inn to get cleaned up and changed. We thought we would probably walk to the yacht club as it wasn't too far but when it came time to leave the sun was coming out and we decided to book a couple of taxis and ride.
Sue had got the upstairs function room for free and her brother Mark and his wife did all the food. We ended up chipping in a bit more as there were fewer people, about 45, than the 60 that were expected. What a spread! Lasagna, hot pot (sort of a beef/lamb stew), cold meats, salads, cheese, fruit and a trifle. There was a large watermelon sliced and carved into a little brigantine for the occasion and the fruit in that was stewed in vodka but there was a large plate of "non toxic" fruit as well. It was a non-smoking venue with a balcony for those who wanted to indulge. A few more people arrived, our lovely Jacqueline and her husband Rick, Mary Sue who had driven down this afternoon, feeling much better, Christine and then there was Betty who flew all the way from Edmonton just for the party! She flew back the next day!
The evening was great. We had background music but mostly we visited and talked and laughed a lot. We had a Bingo like game with Corrie related things in the squares and a quiz which Phil wrote at the last minute, having left his original quiz at home in Liverpool Connie won the quiz but i did get a Boddington's scarf and dear Jacqueline gave me a box of her famous home made chocolates! Phil presented Sue with a large posterboard and a thank you message with a hubcap attached. Hubcaps and the somewhat illegal disappearance thereof are his claim to fame on the chat line ;) We all signed the back of it for her with all our thanks for all her hard work and one or two others gave her little presents. I had painted a ceramic tile in a corrie theme for her.
I came back to the hotel with Betty and Christine, oh must have been after midnight i guess. They hadn't checked in and weren't entirely sure of how to get there so i directed. Once they were sorted with the desk we decided to have a nightcap on the patio bar and were shortly joined by most of the others who were staying at the hotel so the party must have been breaking up by then. I went to bed about 1: 30 and Tracey continued to party on a bit later with Alex and Gerry and one or two others.
One last arrival, Lori Anne and her brand new husband showed up just near the end of the show. They got married the day before!! That's dedication to the cause , i say! Jacqueline and Rick never made it either, seems they got locked in the bedroom of their camper van when the dog dislodged the sliding door!!!! That could only happen to Rjaq! Rick had to break down the door!
We checked out of the hotel and stashed our luggage in Ken and Lorraine's car and then had to say good bye to everyone. I was ok until i got to Phil! After that i just cried on everyone's shoulder! We weren't leaving for a couple of hours so Tracey and i wanted to walk around and see a little of Kingston so we set off.
In front of the city hall not far away there was an antiques market set up so we spent an hour or so poking through that. We checked out the tourist bureau for postcards and fridge magnets and then walked along the waterfront a ways, stopping for home made ice cream. Kingston is very pretty and an old city and has lots of old stone houses and buildings. On the waterfront too, is an old coast guard ship, the .. Alexander McKenzie? And it rents out rooms as a Bed and breakfast! One of our group stayed there and several have before.
We met back at the Inn and Ken and Lorraine drove us back to Ottawa. The drive went quickly and we got checked in to the Capitol Inn Hotel on O'Connor street in downtown Ottawa quickly. We sat around for a bit just chilling out and eating Jacqueline's chocolates. We are going to use our boat cruise tickets tonight for the 7:30 trip and will get a bite to eat first.
We walked into the Byward Market where there was a good choice of
restaurants and we decided on a wine bar on the lower level of a seafood
restaurant. It's called Vineyard and we had a really good steak. They have
an extensive wine and beer menu. I tried a German lager, Grolsh which i
enjoyed. The boat tour was an Ottawa river cruise. The dock is down on
the river beneath Parliament Hill. It was nice and cool on the river and
quite scenic. We sailed up past Parliament then back down to the Rideau
Falls coming quite close to them and then across and along the Quebec side
near Gatineau. It was a nice cap on the weekend. We didn't stay out late
tonight, being tired from the weekend.
What a great week! I hope i'll be able to go back for another Kingston Sail soon!
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