Three generations of Britain’s “Royals” have stayed in the Royal Suite at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. I thought it was interesting to note that in 1929 a room there cost $2.00 a person and guests could enjoy a grilled Lake Ontario trout for $ .85 or a filet mignon for $1.75 in the dining room.
Part of the York’s hospitality to us included a gift package of fruit, cheese, bread and crackers plus a bottle of wine. We were also guests for a sumptuous 4 course dinner at their 5 star Epic Restaurant. The “Amuse” was dried beef with a kumquat compote followed by sliced tomatoes with a Saint Maure goat cheese tower and balsamic vinegar; I chose the pistachio-crusted Rack of Lamb with an eggplant puree and tomato chutney chutney for my entree.
Since I believe that “Life is short, eat dessert first:, I was delighted to savor a Hot Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake with spiced Tulle on top and presented with almond pralines and Caramel Anglaise. Since our visit coincided with the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, a traditional turkey dinner was also available with pumpkin pie.
Nothing can beat the scenario of spending a weekend in Toronto, Ontario. In fact, just staying at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel was worth the whole trip.
As a guests of Ontario Tourism, my friend and I were treated to one of the beautifully appointed suites outfitted in period furniture. The Royal York was originally built by the Canadian Pacific Railway Co. as part of their chain of luxury hotels across Canada to provide lavish rest stops for train passengers from St. John’s Newfoundland to Victoria, B.C. When the Toronto hotel was officially opened in 1929, it was the tallest and largest building in the British Empire with 28 floors of architectural splendor and opulence topped by a glass-enclosed roof garden and a hand-painted 176′ ceiling in the loobby.
We’ve already taken a ride on the Skunk Train and looked for glass on Glass Beach. One morning we revisited the Little River Inn on the Mendocino coast for some of their famous Swedish pancakes that Paul remembered having twenty years ago. Since I’m partial to sweets, I had the house specialty – Ollalaberry Cobbler with yogurt – delicious!
Originally Little River Inn was built in 1853 by Silas Coombs, a lumberman from Maine, as a family residence. Now the facilities bordering Van Damme State Park have expanded into 225 acres which include Ocean view lodging, golf and tennis.
I am definitely anticipating our next coastal adventure at Fort Bragg.
There are a variety of things to do and places to eat in Fort Bragg. We usually drive down to Noyo Harbor for some fresh fish served at Cap’n Flint’s or The Wharf. If you want to catch your own seafood, outstanding year-round deep sea fishing is advertised by numerous party boats.
Life isn’t complete without a bakery and there’s one in the middle of town. The North Coast Brewing Company, voted one of the top ten breweries in the world, is also a good place to dine.
One afternoon we went to the Laguna Point Seal Watch, only a .3 mile stroll via the boardwalk. At various points there were turnouts with interpretive signs about the following:
*The San Andreas Fault is only 10 miles off shore.
*Inter-tidal pools have a kaleidoscope of colorful sea anemones, sea stars (not star fish), bat stars, California mussels and Gooseneck Barnacles when the tide goes out.
*Harbor Seals are the “Big Attraction” where they lounge on the ocean-sprayed rocks and occasionally deign to flip into the churning surf for a brief swim.
Paul’s sister, Jane, and I decided to visit MacKerricher State Park. 3 miles north on Highway 1. On the way to the beach we passed equestrian riders and sand dunes overgrown with red and green ice plants. When we pulled into the parking lot, there were several women sitting in lawn chairs. covered with blankets to protect themselves from the sun and wind while a few teen-agers darted in and out of the frigid water and one man was flying a kite.
Since Paul is an avid birder, we took long walks on the beach front road, just a few steps from our room, to observe mallards in an algae-covered pond, several varieties of gulls, immature White Crowned and Savannah sparrows, plus Stilts, sandpipers, Sanderlings and a few Avocets stalking on the sand and rocks. Almost every hour a squadron of brown pelicans flew by skimming the ocean.
When it rained, I could still see the edge of the ocean on the horizon. I can understand why early sailors thought that the world is flat and were afraid they would said off the edge of the world. I think that there are still “flat landers” – people who believe that the earth isn’t round!
Ever since we moved to Chico from Mobile, Alabama, my family and I have enjoyed going to Fort Bragg in the summertime when Chico is so hot. In 2001 Paul and I were the official tour guides for his sister, Jane, who was visiting from Kentucky.
Just breathing the ionized Pacific Ocean air is a major treat, so we always have chosen a motel overlooking the pounding waves. This time it was the Surf ‘n Sand Lodge north of Fort Bragg. It’s very calming for me to know that no matter what else is going on in the world. the tide continues to come in and go out.
Selby Gardens which specializes in epiphytic plants and bromeliads hosted our Wednesday meetings for the American Theatre Conference. As we strolled through the Tropical Display greenhouse with orchids hanging overhead, I was reminded of some of the lush forests my husband, Paul, and I hiked through in Brazil and Ecuador.
One of the perks for these conferences was the number of excellent plays we saw from the Asolo Theatre and Florida Studio Theatre’s Cabaret and Improv as original oplays by children in the lower six grades which were very insightful and the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre which is the longest running equity dinner theatre in the U.S.
The “icing on the cake” was sharing all of this with my college toommate (Miami U., Oxford, OH 1950) and celebrating our 80th birthdays together.
The Ringling Museum of the American Circus includes rare handbills and all sorts of circus equipment including artfully carved parade wagons.
” The World’s Largest Miniature Circus”, an authentic replica of Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, when the tented circus was in its prime ( circa 1919 – 1938) was created by Howard Tibbals. Comprised of 8 main tents, 152 wagons, 1,300 circus performers and workers, more than 800 animals and a 57 car train. The model is a 33/4 inch to the foot scale replica and is housed in the Tibbal’s Learning Center.