My day trips to Stratford always start the night before by getting my fluids ready – a travel mug with my personal mix of cranberry juice, coffee, & water – for drinking on the way there. For the drive home – A water bottle that is about 1/3 cranberry juice & the rest is water – plus a couple of snacks: a granola bar & a banana. I pick out a cd to listen to in the car – something that’ll amuse me & my partner. Last trip it was a compilation of Eartha Kitt, Ella Fitzgerald etc.
Before we leave in the morning around 9 a.m. I’ve already had breakfast, checked my email, meditated some, showered. We’ve taken the same route for decades – up the DonValley into the 401. Some days there are so many big rigs we can’t see the overhead signs :-(. Around 10:20 I’ll start in on my travel mug special.
For the last many years that has been a constant expansion of the 401 so traffic often gets funnelled into fewer lanes & there is always a bottle neck just past the airport, & another one as we approach Kitchener/Waterloo. We make our first stop at a Tim Ho’s by the Conestoga Doon Campus – ballers are ready to be emptied to make room for Tim’s. I like their RedEye.
We take the New Dundee Road from there turning to a country road that takes us through Haysville, to another road through Shakespeare – where we stop at the Shakespeare Pie Shoppe for – pies! they made great seasons fruit pies & also excellent meat pies. Next stop lunch Stratford. We usually arrived by 11:30.
Most often we lunch at Features – good, unspectacular, reasonably priced food. Bacon & eggs are my go to there. This past year they changed location by a couple of blocks to bigger, brighter space. Once a season we go to Bentley’s. They do a great grilled cheese.
If there’s time a stroll & a visit to the remaining bookstore before re-parking near the theatre of the day. Usually a visit to the gift shop, where, to be supported, I often force myself to buy a t-shirt lol. The drive home is usually twice as long for the same distance 😦 Traffic getting to Toronto is terrible. Made worse by big rigs that block overhead sign. That’s when the cd of the day does its soothing work.
I usually take lots of photos with my camera & also cell pics to send to friends. They always envy the Pie shop shots.
We’re already planning our shows for the Stratford 2023 season. Spamalot for sure, Richard II – a Shakespeare I’ve never seen, at least one of the other Shakespeare & maybe Frankenstein. I feel a tingle in my bolts just thinking about it:-)
a short piece inspired by Haysville
We had driven through Haysville many times on our way to Stratford. It was one of those small towns with little for tourists to do except maybe stop at the Happy Pie Shop and Family Restaurant. There wasn’t even a service-station with a Tim Horton’s.
The village became a bit of a joke because of the ‘Children of Haysville’ sign on the edge of town:
In the years we’ve driven through we’d never seen a child, or an adult for that matter. Never seen anyone go in or out of the Happy Pie Shop and Family Restaurant. The only car we ever saw in either direction was our own. Once I did notice some clothes drying on the line. All white, gently undulating in the afternoon sun.
We joked that if we stopped we’d never leave. We always stuck to the child-suggested speed limit then floored it when we got past the village limits.
This time there were yellow plastic streamers wrapped around the trees on either side of the road. We drove slower than usual.
Stapled to a plywood board tied to one
of the trees by the Happy Pie Shop and Family Restaurant was a large piece of paper.
We stopped and got out of the car to see what it was.
It was a petition to halt an expansion of the highway to allow for larger trucks. A widening to extend the road on either side that would result in destroying the many hundred-year-old trees which had been marked with yellow.
We signed the petition. The Happy Pie Shop was closed for the day, so we got back in our car.
The car wouldn’t start.