Sunday, April 11, 2010

Michigan & Canada Trip

Dan's spring break started last week, and never wanting to waste an opportunity to travel, we headed to Michigan and Toronto. My brother, Steve, has been working on his PhD at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for the past few years, and it was high time we paid him a visit! Since he works during the week, we spent our first few days touring Toronto. Toronto is a huge city, and yet somehow they've managed to keep it clean, well-maintained, and safe. We decided that they must kill all the lawbreakers, but hey whatever - it's working for them. Nobody even jaywalked there, except of course the man I love with all my heart who will never quite get New York out of his blood. :)

The weather was surprisingly beautiful during our visit, which we took full advantage of since our hotel was within walking distance of most of the sights we wanted to see. We hiked a lot, but it was tons better than fighting traffic and paying for parking everywhere. We fit a lot into our three days there, and then took a quick 24-hour trip to the Niagara Falls/Buffalo area so we could squeeze in a Sabres hockey game. We spent the night at Niagara Falls, and I tried my darndest to get one of those rooms with the heart-shaped tubs, but the honeymooners were too quick for me.

We finally met up with Steve and his sweet girlfriend, Sheila, on Wed. night to see the Red Wings game and then drove back to Ann Arbor to spend the rest of the week with them. It was great to see where Steve's been living and working, and Ann Arbor seems like the perfect college town for him. The town is small but very cute, and the college is great about bringing quality entertainment to the students on campus. While Steve was working one day, Dan and I took a few hours to drive around the surrounding area to see the countryside and a couple of other small towns. Michigan is truly a lovely state, and I imagine that it's breathtaking in the summer and fall when the trees are at their peak.

We had a great time at all the places we visited, but the highlight was getting to spend time with Steve in his home town and getting to know him & Sheila as a couple. Well, Dan would say the highlight was the Hockey Hall of Fame, so I'll throw that in for good measure. Below are some of our favorite pictures - enjoy!

A view of downtown Toronto from the Harbourfront, where we stayed. I loved being within walking distance of the major sights!
First things first - we went straight to the Air Canada Centre to buy tickets for the hockey game that night!

At the Maple Leafs vs. Bruins game

Our second night in Toronto, we saw a comedy show at The Second City, which helped some famous Canadians launch their careers, including Mike Myers, Dan Aykroyd, and Martin Short.

Dan's favorite shrine - the Hockey Hall of Fame

This is my favorite photo of the trip - look how excited he is! He probably could've spent all day gazing at the Stanley Cup, but there was always a line of people waiting to take pictures.

They had a life-size game where you shot against a virtual goalie. Debby=2, Goalie=3. Stupid goalie.

The NY Islanders' championship corner - and their #1 fan

Casa Loma - a huge castle that was built by a rich guy in the heart of the city, and then he went broke and it became a museum.

The Royal Ontario Museum

The historic Distillery District - where an abandoned distillery was renovated into fancy shops & restaurants

On the warmest day, we drove to beautiful Scarborough Bluffs

On our last morning in Toronto, we visited St. Lawrence Market, which is a vegan's nightmare. Meat & cheese shops everywhere!! mmmm...meat.

We bought breakfast at the Carousel Bakery, home of the "famous peameal bacon sandwiches".

So delicious!

After Toronto, we drove to Buffalo, NY and ate dinner at this cute place before the hockey game

We tried "beef on weck" - a northern NY tradition. Incredible roast beef on a kummelweck roll. The roll is topped by kosher salt, and the sandwich is surrounded by side items soaked in as much vinegar as you can tolerate. My blood pressure is rising just thinking about it.

Heading into the Sabres vs. Rangers game. We weren't as much Sabres fans as we were Rangers-haters that night.

A quick photo of Niagara Falls during our 15 minutes of clear weather! It was a rainy, foggy day.

We also took a drive to charming Niagara-on-the-Lake

We met Steve and Sheila at the Detroit vs. Blue Jackets game before heading to Ann Arbor for the next few days

The University of Michigan campus is beautiful! This is the Philosophy building where Steve works.

My little brother is a professor. weird.

Cubicle with a view

Meeting up for a hearty breakfast. Man, we ate well on this trip!

University of Michigan has lots of art around campus - but this sculpture is also a giant swing! Abstract, yet functional.