Monday, July 16, 2007

Elora/Guelph/St. Jacobs

For no real reason, Andrea and I decided to go away for the weekend. Well, not for the whole weekend; we left Saturday (after getting my car back), and came back Sunday. We didn’t really have any particular reason for going, and nor did we have any particular destination in mind; we just looked for someplace within easy driving distance. A couple of people had suggested Elora Gorge, so that’s where we decided to go.

Unfortunately, when we looked for a place to stay, we could only find bed & breakfast places; no hotels, or inns, or motels, or anything. So we decided to stay in Guelph, instead, at a hotel. It’s within easy driving distance of Elora, so it was fairly win-win. Also, if we wanted to do anything Saturday night, there would be a better chance of someplace in Guelph being open than someplace in Elora.

We drove down on Saturday, and, unfortunately, it was raining. We decided to drop by the gorge anyway, just to orient ourselves and figure out where it was, and then we dropped into the main town of Elora. It’s a very touristy place, with old fashioned-style shops. Although it was still raining, we decided to walk around for a bit, and look in the shops. It was mostly touristy stuff, that I would never bother with, although we did find some really nice leather chairs in one particular store; it was a store with stuff from artisans, and the chairs were made of some nice soft, comfortable, seemingly well-worn leather. (For anyone reading this who’s seen my leather jacket, you will probably understand why I would like chairs made out of seemingly well-worn leather.) From what I know of leather furniture—which is very little—they seemed like the same price as any other leather chairs, but I liked them a lot more. I would have been tempted to buy them, except that:

  • I have no need for them, nor a place to put them
  • With the type of leather that was used, I would have no idea how to care for a chair like that.
Anyway, we eventually headed back to Guelph, to check into our hotel. Luckily, they provide free wifi internet, so we got on the web, and started looking for a place we could have supper.

And, before I continue, let me just praise the people who built the website, for their very cool usage of Google Maps! They have a section on where you can go in Guelph for eating and drinking, and they have a link to an online map; if you click it, it brings up Guelph in Google Maps, and they’ve highlighted all of the restaurants they’re listing!

They also used Google for their bus routes; for any of the bus routes listed on their maps page, they have a PDF version of the map, but they also have a link to Google Maps, where they’ve mapped out all of the bus stops, and show the bus route along those stops. (They used a technology called GPS Visualizer for this.)

Anyway, back to the story. We found a place called the Babel Fish Bistro, which was ironic, because Andrea had just seen that restaurant on Restaurant Makeover! So we went there, and had a very nice dinner. I think Andrea found it kind of neat to actually be in one of the restaurants she’d seen on the show. (I didn’t see the episode, so it had no effect on me…)

The next day was sunny, so we went back to Elora Gorge. (I have pictures, but I haven’t uploaded them yet. I’m putting it off, a bit, because of Yahoo! Photos closing down; I’ll have to do a bunch of moving around, at some point.) We then decided to stop by St. Jacobs Farmer’s Market, since it wasn’t too far away. They actually have two farmer’s markets: one that’s open on Thursdays and Saturdays, and one that’s open on Saturdays and Sundays. So of course we had to go to the only one open on Sundays, even though the other one is, I think, better. (That is, it has more shops to choose from.)

We didn’t buy much—some fresh blueberries and some cheap John le Carré novels for me—but it was fun. And then on into St. Jacobs itself, which, like Elora, is very touristy. If I remember correctly, Andrea bought some books there, too, but other than that, I don’t think we bought anything.

Overall, it was a fun trip, but, in retrospect, it probably would have been better if we’d gone to St. Jacobs Market on Saturday, and left Elora for Sunday. Since the “better” farmer’s market is open Saturday, we could have gone there when it was raining, and then gone to Elora’s shops and the gorge when it was sunny.