Wow, November, you totally blew me away.
Take a look at this photo that I took last year, on November 19, 2014.
Yuck. That was the start of the Winter That Would Not End.
Now let’s look at this November.
What a difference from one year to the next. Not that I’m complaining – the November weather was brilliant. Actually, November overall was pretty brilliant.
As I mentioned previously, we’ve had a bit of a break – we were only open on weekends in November. That meant there was time for one of my beloved road trips, walks around Niagara-on-the-Lake (which I never get tired of), some running, some reading, some winetasting, some cooking. Yes, the dreaded cooking, which you know I don’t like. We even had some social time, and I’m looking forward to some more of that this month.
So here’s what I’ve been up to – just my everyday life. Get a coffee, tea, or heck, – a glass of wine – and let’s get caught up.
I think we have had – hmmm – maybe 2 grey days this November? So on every sunny day that I could, I walked around my gorgeous town. Here’s some of my final pics of this autumn’s gloriousness.
This tree below was just stunning. Such a vibrant yellow, and pretty much in full leaf while the other trees were already bare.
Spent some time people-watching at Queen’s Royal Park.
There’s something so peaceful about being down by the water. The views over Lake Ontario are always beautiful.
The view of my hometown across the water never gets old.
The shot below I took in mid-November. Can you believe that flowers were still blooming? In mid-November? Unheard of, really, for this time of year.
The vineyards have also been stunning in their golden-ness. The ones at Konzelmann are always beautiful, with their view straight down to the lake. I think the autumn view just might be my favourite.
Personally, I breathe a sigh of relief at this glorious autumn we have had. I am no fan of the weather for the months of November through to March, so this reprieve has been a special blessing. Actually, I’m thinking a lot about my blessings lately.
Today is the two year anniversary of our move to Highbrook. Living in Niagara has provided me with many terrific things – new experiences, new friends, a new business, new adventures. Thanks for sharing them with me here.
Speaking of new adventures, we put up our Christmas decorations. Honestly, it was way too early for me. One of my dearest friends was down for a visit, and as she is the Christmas Queen, I convinced her to do it with me. She did a great job.
Ken and I have an ongoing debate about tree placement. I like it by the fireplace, he’s not so sure. We are new to all of this Christmasy-ness though. In the city, we used to just put up what I call a “Charlie Brown tree”. You know, like in A Charlie Brown Christmas – a small little tree that needs some love. Ken and I actually aren’t known for large doses of Christmas spirit (shocking, I know!) so that suited us just fine. Now, however, visitors to Niagara-on-the-Lake during the holidays want the Christmas thing. So Ken and I are learning.
It is really pretty though. Perhaps all this Christmas stuff is growing on me.
So we put garlands up in the hall foyer.
And this is Ken’s minimlaistic, avant-garde, Christmas-inspired thingy for the hall table. I like it.
Of course, the usual outdoor stuff is out too.
But one of the things that I’ve really been enjoying lately is just getting out to places “I’ve been meaning to get to”. For example, I really wanted to visit the Craft Arts Market in St. Catharines, and just hadn’t been able to get there. So last Saturday, I did.
I love wandering around downtown St. Catharines, looking at all those gorgeous old buildings….the old stores on St. Paul, and the Yates Street Heritage District. There’s something I just really like about it. So Ken and I went for a bit of a wander. On our way to the Craft Arts Market, I stopped in at Gwen’s Teas. I have always been a hardcore coffee drinker, but find it makes me a tad jittery these days. So I am venturing into the world of tea.
And if you love tea, you really should drop by Gwen’s.
Oh yeah, another thing to catch up on before you see the pic below. I’ve gone back to blonde. Red was fun, but after a few weeks, I missed my blondeness. I guess some things shouldn’t be tampered with.
And here I am, smelling the heavenly Creamy Earl Grey. It’s something else. Pamela asked me what smell I got from it (and by now you all know my nose is a bit lacking), and I blurted out “Grand Marnier!” I don’t think anyone has ever said that to her. It says something when the first thing I think of is an alcoholic beverage, I guess.
Please ignore the dorky back view of my hair too. Another thing to catch up on – I think I’m going to grow it a bit, so it’s in a rather awkward stage.
I’ve really been loving that Creamy Earl Grey though.
Then we got to Craft Arts Market.
Craft Arts Market describes themselves as similar to a handmade travelling market. They rent display and retail space to artists and crafters, and as a result have some very interesting products on offer. They also have a great Espresso Bar.
By the way, the Cowgirl Candy and Whiskey Brine Pickles from The Wandering Locavore are amazing. I put Cowgirl Candy on practically everything, as I adore jalapenos.
I was really glad to meet the lovely ladies from Scratch Bakery while I was there. I was especially glad to taste their scrumptious cookies too.
The Salted Chocolate Chip Shortbreads were my favourite, but the Crinkle Cookies were really good too. As it is the season for oodles of cookies, I think I will be giving them a call. Perhaps you should too. I am no baker, I prefer to leave it to the experts.
Now, we’re heading into December. Niagara-on-the-Lake is getting very festive, and I’m looking forward to some of the merriment. I’ll be starting off the season by attending our Candlelight Stroll this Friday – I missed it last year cause I was sick, so this will be my first time.
At Highbrook, we’re back on a bit of a schedule. We’re taking guests for the whole month of December, and I have lots of events and outings pencilled into my calendar – which I’m sure you will hear about.
Well, that was quite a varied bit of stuff to get caught up on! I haven’t even touched on my running (which has been going really well, thanks) or my cooking (which honestly, still isn’t going very well – but I will persevere)
How has your month been? Any fun plans coming up?