Friday, March 18, 2011

The Frozen Thousand Islands

Frozen Pier, Canada Travel by Melissa Ruttanai
A sheet of ice slates over the river.  Little houses dotting the islands look lonely and almost ready to shiver against the wind cutting through the trees.  I'm on the Canadian side of the St. Lawrence River, camera in hand, ear muffs, double-scarves, and thick gloves poorly insulating me against winter thrash.

My fingers gnarl from the cold and the hot tea my cousin Elyse had made for me that morning seems like a pathetic dream.  On the frozen pier, I couldn't even believe Gananoque was only 15 km away.

Her house sat next to an old cathedral.  But it wasn't scary.  It was serene, like the little town with its tea shop and second hard book store.  

Gananoque, Canada Travel by Melissa Ruttanai
Parked on the street, we meandered up one side of town, crossed the street and came back on the opposite sidewalk.  People chattered on their way to wherever they were going and the little town seemed to be just cracking out of hibernation.  Elyse laughed when she showed us the two ethnic food options in town:  a Chinese restaurant right next door to... another Chinese restaurant.  Hysterical.

Heritage Home on The Thousand Islands by Melissa Ruttanai
The tea shop was a warm reprieve from the wind. Black canisters lined the shelve and we sniffed our way through shelves of herbals, oolongs, green teas, and chamomiles.  

Herbal Tea Ball, Canada Travel, by Melissa Ruttanai
Back at the heritage house, Elyse made a flowering tea ball to  wash down fresh salads, salmon, breads, and veggies.  It was a vegetarian feast.

Summertime rentals are popular on this side of the river.  Vacationers flock to the area, setting up holiday homes in buildings like Elyse's. With high ceilings, big windows and the water so close, I can see why.

This is a shot I took 4 years ago, during summer on the American side of the Saint Lawrence River.  What a difference!  But...still both are equally beautiful!

American-side, St. Lawrence River by Melissa Ruttanai

Canadian-Side St. Lawrence River by Neil Friedman

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