Work progresses here, slowly but surely. It is a pleasant place to stay and most evenings we have time to ourselves after playing “dental assistant’ to the primary upgrade technicians or doing boat chores.
We usually go for a walk along the town pier – we have watched the sun set from there. Sometimes we see Toronto and sometimes we don’t. We always look. At night we see the lights gleam and disappear in the haze or mist of distance over the lake. We see the CN tower intermittently. We almost feel that we can wave or call across the lake to our friends and family.
We are really not very far away. Just under 2.5 hour drive, a 5 hour sail in decent winds. And yet it feels much further. We are in a different country, as the flags and rosettes adorning most houses and buildings testify. We are surrounded by Trump supporters here in small town Upper New York State. In answer to my befuddled look – trying hard not to look too horrified – they explain that they are for “real people – not career politicians”.
Our day starts differently – we don’t get CBC radio news here, and we miss it. We can only find bad talk shows and ad-filled music stations. We are docked in Wilson Boatyard Marina – near Tuscarora Yacht Club, which is on an island – their boats across the channel from us. In this marina we are the only sailboat – surrounded by large sports fishing boats with gazillion poles, lines and fishing bazookas (that’s what they look like to this fishing ignoramus anyway).
We went for a pleasant dingy ride along 12 mile creek as the sun set the other night – setting to flight lots of red-wing blackbirds from the reeds as we chugged by. A swan eyed us suspiciously from her nest among the weeds.
There are some similarities. Being less than 30 miles away as the crow flies, the climate is similar here. Nasty winters. But we have been basking in fantastic late spring weather. It seems this year that winter extended to mid-May and then it was suddenly summer with temperatures in the high 20’s Celcius.
Our home port of QCYC is on the Wards Island, which has a lovely community of quaint homes. Here there is a similar, smaller, car-less community or colony as it is called – Sunset Island. It has a lovely beach overlooking Toronto and we have seen family bonfires in the evening when we walk along the pier. The properties are cute too – mostly seasonal cottages. Running down the middle of the island, and fish-boning at intervals to the beach or inlet sides is a public pathway. The middle of the island has a communal grassy area with picnic tables, horseshoe pit, badminton, tennis court and playground. There is a small unmanned fire station which doubles and book and video library/exchange, and has a fridge full of ice-creams for purchase. There is a colony hall with a large deck for the regular pot-lucks and other events. There are only a couple of people who live here year round – it is a 3-season island really even though it is a stones throw from the mainland. There is no bridge for cars or ferry….the islanders have their own version of water transport. …from pontoon boats, to runabouts, to fancy boats. And you can buy a nice 3 bedroomed house here for around $130K (pontoon boat included)!
House prices here are much cheaper in general….for instance a small but pretty 2-bedroomed house on ¼ acre lot on Lake Ontario with rose garden, waterfall and fireplace is listed at US$109,000! In Toronto you could only get a garage for that – a studio condo is over $280K. Last Monday was Memorial Day, and we were surprised by all the huge lawn sales around here – each house is on a large lot and most looked like flea markets. It seems that shopping and selling is a common pastime here.
Talking of which, the shopping experience is another thing that reminds us we are in a different country….our dollar doesn’t go as far, but I still enjoy grocery shopping in the better supermarkets in the US. Wegmans, for instance is great! Like Longos on steroids. So many different foods, beer and stuff. It took me forever to buy our weekly provisions….payback to bored Steve for the time I’ve spent at West Marine. Wine and liquor stores are also fun to visit as you get a much better selection of all US, especially Napa and Sonoma wines, for significantly lower prices that we get them at home.
Even the dining out experience differs substantially. We ate out on the patio of the Sunset Bar and Grill which specializes in steamers – little neck clams and crab dinners served in enamel roast pans! The food was great and the ambience pleasant – sitting on the patio under tall shady trees on a pleasantly hot evening. The local restaurant next to us is more upmarket, but we were entertained by popular bands three nights in a row over the long weekend – the bar was hopping and everyone seemed to be having a good time.
People are friendly, helpful and welcoming. Chatty, pleasant people stop by, admiring our boat. Our boat neighbour was playing the trumpet (very well we thought) to a jazz accompaniment the other night. I stopped by to tell him I enjoyed his playing and asked him if he knew of Chase Sanborn (friend and father to my daughter-in-law).…”Of course”, he said, “he is internationally renowned”. We’re on good terms now. Thanks, Chase.
Our new Wind cell plan, bought primarily for its US roaming deal, is not working here. Luckily we have wifi, and can Skype or email our friends and family to stay connected. We are so near, and yet so far away.
P.S. I posted this yesterday morning but somehow it was accidentally deleted so I am reposting it now. Apologies if you received this twice.