Two-Fer: International Edition (Windsor, Canada)
(Hi, it’s me, Christie! The third member of In Cahoots, the one with no kids, aka the one who gets the joy of aunting all over with my siblings!)
One of the perks of having siblings who live in Detroit is that it only takes about twenty minutes to go south of the border into Canada (yes, south! Bet you thought “south of the border” was only Mexico…). When I came up for a visit, I romanticized the idea of trotting across the border for a fun jaunt to another country. Don’t tell the Canadians I said this, but Windsor, Canada, is not hugely different from Detroit – or maybe it’s Detroit that isn’t so different from Canada. Whatever the case may be, I came up as traveling nanny and the Detroit Crew showed me a good time.
The first thing you get to see as you cross into Canada is the lovely Ambassador Bridge, where you pay a $5 toll both ways (credit cards accepted) and, after crossing, go through customs. We timed our visit to avoid the morning and evening rush-hour traffic. If you have similar flexibility, I’d advise doing the same – there was no one ahead of us in the line for customs! Since my sister-in-law Michelle and I took the kids alone, we also brought notarized waivers authorizing the kids to go across with just one parent. While we adults only needed our passports, the waivers are an extra precaution to combat child trafficking as well as household disputes in which one parent flees the country with a child. The border patrol was super nice and let us through after a few security questions.
The next stop was for coffee. If you’re traveling with four kids, you’re gonna need it… and Michelle and I had long hankered to visit Anchor Coffee House, so really the trip was an excuse to mark it off of our respective bucket lists.
It did not disappoint. We got a double chocolate cookie and an Earl Grey shortbread, which were both excellent – especially the chocolate! The kids helped us munch on the cookies while we sipped our coffee. The shop was open and spacious, but definitely had a quiet-studying vibe – thankfully the kiddos did not choose that time to act up (temporarily distracted by sweets, no doubt), or they might have disrupted the several customers who were there working. We didn’t linger too long, though, because we had another stop to make…
McKee Park! We started here with a playground stop for the kids, but only stayed for a while because it was very chilly and the playground was tiny. We relocated to Windsor Sculpture Park and took a walk along the river as there were plenty of interesting modern art statues to see – and we knew that the walk would end with another park to work off the kids’ bug juice before we crossed the border back into America.
The kids’ bug juice? Who am I kidding. I’m just grateful that Michelle puts up with my tomfoolery…
Windsor Sculpture Park was a great stop, though (free parking, convenient bathrooms, great views of Detroit). Centennial Park at the end of the sculpture walk was an awesome playground, and the kids played for about 30 minutes before we started the trek back to our car to return home. As we crossed back into America, the American border guard asked us our reason for going into Canada.
“Coffee,” we said.
He looked at us with disbelief. “You’re trying to tell me that you went into Canada just for coffee?”
Somehow, adding the playground into our explanation did not help. But he eventually let us back through, and we were all glad to be back on American soil again (I’m not saying I blared Lee Greenwood, but yeah I did). Even so, Canada, you were wonderful… we shall see you again soon.