I’m back in Minnesota for the rest of the year! After enjoying a peaceful month in coastal Maine, I made the return trip to Minnesota a five-day adventure—spending nights in Boston, Syracuse, Cleveland, and Chicago. I stopped in Buffalo, New York to check out the Peace Bridge to Canada. I was very tempted to drive over that bridge and continue 1.5 hours to Toronto to begin my 3-month adventure again, but it’s great to be back with family in Minnesota.
Acadia National Park is only 15 minutes from the place I’m staying in Maine this month, and I’ve visited the park several times. It’s one of the country’s most popular national parks but is very quiet in November. Perfect! With 26 mountains, 32 historic bridges, and 45 miles of rustic carriage roads, there is always something new to explore in Acadia.
I’m enjoying November staying at a beautiful loft apartment in the woods of Trenton, Maine, a few blocks from the ocean and only 15 minutes from Acadia National Park. Most of the tourists have left until next May—which means a lot of stores and restaurants are closed—but it’s been so peaceful and quiet for those of us who are still here.
I’ve been wanting to get to Vermont for a long time because it combines two things I love but don’t usually find at the same time: rural and liberal. Vermont also tops lists of states with the best fall colors, so I knew I had to get here this autumn. As my time in Vermont comes to an end, I’m reflecting on another wonderful month on the road.
I’m spending the month enjoying autumn’s changing colors and daily sunsets over Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont—the state’s largest city, with only 45,000 residents. Each evening, I walk two blocks from my apartment to the waterfront to watch the sunset over the Adirondack Mountains of New York across the lake.
I’m back in the United States! My October can’t get much better than this: spending prime fall color month in beautiful Burlington, Vermont, another new-to-me state. I need to get through a full weekend of photo excursions before I post anything from here. (Spoiler alert: everywhere I look the views are unreal.) On my way from Toronto to Burlington, I spent an incredible weekend hanging out with a new friend in Montréal.
As I wrap up my time in Ontario, I crossed the last item off my bucket list and was in full tourist mode on Tuesday. Looking for the perfect day in the Niagara Falls area? Follow what I did, and you won’t be disappointed. Pro tip: bring your passport. I walked over the bridge to the USA for an hour, and it’s much better here on the Canadian side.
I have played two of the largest pipe organs in Canada in the past two days! I haven’t talked about my music lately, but I’ve been playing piano and pipe organ since elementary and middle school. As I’ve been traveling, I haven’t played either much—in fact, it had been 13 months since I last played an organ. When I arrived in Toronto at the beginning of the month, I looked online for the largest organs in town, and over the past three Sundays I attended services at those churches.
Yesterday I took a step back in time to a period of European splendor and visited North America’s only full-sized castle, Casa Loma. Considered one of the grandest residential buildings ever constructed in Canada, it has 98 rooms, opulent bathrooms, secret passageways, an 800-foot tunnel, beautiful gardens, and much more. Not surprisingly, Casa Loma is a popular filming location for movies and TV shows.
Friday was a perfect weather day here in Toronto, so my boss gave me the afternoon off. I took a ferry to the Toronto Islands, a chain of 15 small islands on Lake Ontario just offshore from mainland Toronto—with amazing views of the Toronto skyline.