A spark of hope, rescued from Haida Gwaii, grows in Norfolk County's Whistling Gardens.
Strolling through the grounds of Whistling Gardens early on a sunny autumn day, I was dazzled by the brilliant colors of the cheerful flowers bobbing in the breeze. Leaves of all shapes and sizes rippled from the trees and a hearty selection of wild grasses created velvety swaths, undulating and twinkling in the sun.
Little did I realize that Whistling Gardens' most extraordinary plant would be a small, scruffy, rabbit-nibbled shrub.
I found an incredible bargain at London's most expensive attraction.
The Tower of London was the first famous tourist attraction I ever set my eyes on. Studying in nearby East Sussex for a semester meant weekly field trips into London for the purpose of visiting galleries, museums, and other historic sites, with plenty of free time on the side. Rolling into London for my very first time, the gloomy and atmospheric Tower loomed in the distance, beckoning me to investigate its secrets and scandals.
So why did it take me over 12 years to visit?
What hidden gems are buried in Montreal? I discovered a charming church - and some hockey heritage.
Inspired by our past success with the $200 Challenge, I was eager to take on a new travel trial. For those new to the concept, the $200 Challenge was built on a simple premise: can two people travel for two days on just $200? The answer was a resounding yes! We've had two very successful trips, in Vermont and in Algonquin Park, and even more planned for the future. It’s been so exciting to prove that wonderful, enriching, luxurious travel can be achieved on a shoestring budget. Chalk one up to great value!
Taking On A New Challenge
But there’s more to great travel value than money and I am just as passionate about getting the best possible value for my time. I want to enjoy every experience, I never want a to waste a minute (I’m looking at you, long lines!) and I want to squeeze a lot of enjoyment out of a short trip, while never feeling rushed, overwhelmed, or missing out. I want to see beyond the most popular attractions and step a few feet off the beaten path.
History buffs will love this stop on the York Durham Heritage Railway
The small community of Uxbridge, in Central Counties, makes for a perfect stop for those driving through southern Ontario. This picturesque town is pretty, friendly, and filled with amenities (including great cafes and restaurants), but one of its most interesting attractions is the former railway station.
It's amazing to think of how this community must have once bustled with activity with passengers and cargo trains rolling in and out of town. The York Durham Heritage Railway, opened in 1996, is a tourist train operating between Stouffville, Goodwood, and Uxbridge.
Uxbridge is just a short drive from Toronto and is an affordable day trip that can be enjoyed by all ages - and especially history and train enthusiasts.
A touch of the Caribbean in Norfolk County
201 years ago, Port Dover (or Dover Mills, as it was then known) was at the heart of the action in the war of 1812. Fortunately, modern visitors receive a much warmer welcome than the American troops experienced all those years ago! Today, Port Dover is an affordable, diverse, beautiful place to spend a weekend or even a whole week. The town has a fun, funky, young, vibrant edge to it and, between the sandy beaches, the public art, and the neat shops, it's possible to enjoy a value packed visit without ever feeling a budgetary pinch.
There are a lot of beautiful hotels in Toronto. What sets the Royal York apart?
After a long journey and arduous travel, there is nothing like a beautiful hotel to greet you at the end of the day. There’s something so soothing about having your needs anticipated and indulging yourself in a special retreat. This is exactly what I had in mind when we splurged on a stay at the Fairmont Royal York in the heart of Toronto. I’m a huge believer that you can find great value at all points of the price spectrum and, even though the Fairmont is a well-known luxury hotel, I wanted to examine it for value. After all, in the heart of Toronto, there are many beautiful hotels – what makes the Royal York worth the splurge?
There's something special about Traverse City's State Theatre.
It’s not very often I have the opportunity to visit something acknowledged to be the best in the world. I have to admit I wasn't expecting to find anything with that stamp on it in a small city in Michigan. And even more unexpectedly – it’s practically free!
The State Theatre on Front Street, Traverse City, Michigan, is a movie theatre and film festival site whose roots go back nearly 100 years. Citing it's location, architecture, and diversity of spirit, the State Theatre, TheCredits.org (a film industry news site operated by the Motion Picture Association of America) declared it to be the best theatre in the world.
Over time, this beautiful building has gone through many incarnations, most recently in 2005 when filmmaker Michael Moore threw his support behind the theatre and the Traverse City Film Festival. Today, the State Theatre is the heart of Traverse City, leading the way in keeping the downtown core lively and the arts scene flourishing.
Bikes are everywhere in Ireland.
Ireland is such a beautiful country; you can find photographic inspiration on every corner. We loved capturing bicycles against so many different backdrops - from modern, bustling street corners in central Dublin, to the outside decor of County Limerick's most famous pub, to the centuries-old stone walls of tiny Bunratty village. We hope you enjoy Ireland's beauty as much as we did!
The Montreal Tower Observatory is a world record holder...
Move over, Leaning Tower of Pisa. Step aside, Towers of Bologna. I tackled the Guinness Book of World Records holder for the tallest inclined tower – and I won!
At 165 meters high, and angled at 45 degrees, the Montreal Tower Observatory is indeed a world record holder, and by quite a bit. Its more famous cousin, in Pisa, is only a paltry 3.99 degrees. Designed as part of the 1967 Olympic Park, the Tower is now at the center of a large recreation and tourism complex whose neighbours include the Montreal Botanical Gardens, the Insectarium, the Biodome, and the Plantarium.
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