The day was overcast and the humidity was almost as thick as the unwanted swelter back home. I slowly stepped off the bus and began to walk into town. Even a few steps in, I felt as if I were returning to my childhood--a time when the pace was slower and people talked to each other as they passed on the street. Children were riding their bikes and there wasn't a chain business in sight. All local. Very authentic. My style. This Canadian town oozed with charm and delight and I knew there were stories to be discovered with every turn. This preserved 19th-century town in the heart of Ontario wine country, continued weaving its spell of nostalgia and Victorian times past. I lingered past the Royal George Theatre as children gazed in the windows--anticipating the next production. As I proceeded down main street, I started to have a craving for gelato and a cappuccino. Just then, before my eyes, as soon as the thought entered my mind, there was Il Gelato di Carlotta--serving both gelato and cappuccino. Not only that, but there was a perfect window bar seat for me to people watch with my culinary delights, as I returned to Paris and Italy in my mind. To say that I was beginning to fall in love with this Canadian town, was an understatement. It had captured me.
My discovery continued as I peered into local antique shops and galleries--awakening my visual senses to the beauty of paintings, pottery, and interior design. Each home I passed carried a story with historical charm and reverence. The sky began to darken as the clouds rolled in--transforming the playful mood of the day to one of mystery. I decided to make one last stop before returning to my bus. So, I popped in the charming Prince of Wales Hotel. This Victorian hotel carried all the charm and elegance of days past. The attention to detail from the cigar room to the high tea china was exemplary. As I explored the property, my heart ached that I soon had to depart. How I longed to stay and move to the pace of the past. But this, I knew would be a place that I would return to and fall in love with all over again.
As I began to stroll back towards my bus, it began to rain--conveying the feelings of my heart. This was a day of refreshment and I didn't want to leave. I was home--"home away from home" in a town I would never forget--Niagara on the Lake.