Solo Car Trip with an Infant

We’re going to depart from the standard “fandom” article today because I’m tired and this is relevant to my life.

Last week, I drove with Pegasus to Kitchener from Ottawa. Granted, there was another adult (my dad) with me on the way to Toronto, but we were by ourselves for the entire return trip.

Recommendations for travelling with a four month old:

  • hope that the infant sleeps well for long periods of time in a moving vehicle
  • feed baby and change baby right before you leave (in our case, Pegasus usually has 2-3 giant poops right after waking up in the morning. I didn’t leave the house until after these were done)
  • wait until baby is drowsy before leaving
  • bring more diapers than you think you’ll need
  • wipes, too
  • ask in advance if you have access to a washer and dryer at the other end of your trip; if not, bring 2x as many clothes for both of you than you think you’ll need (I did have access, thankfully!)
  • bring a change mat that wipes clean, not a cloth one

Things that I did that worked when driving solo:

  • got gas when arriving at the onroutes – baby was still sleeping and didn’t get upset at the prolonged wait for food/change/removal from car seat (if he’d been awake, I would have gotten it afterwards)
  • changed baby immediately after arriving – and used the toilet myself because I knew I’d forget otherwise
  • got food for myself right after that – meant that I didn’t have to spread stuff out to feed him, pack it all up to get food for myself, and then spread it all out again
  • found a comfy chair (thank you Port Hope onroute for having comfy chairs!!) and spread my stuff out, fed baby right away
  • changed baby on my lap because packing up stuff seemed like way too much work
  • fed myself while baby played with a toy (chairs are big enough to squeeze baby beside myself!)
  • fed baby again
  • changed baby again
  • baby was getting drowsy so I left right away
  • plan for multiple stops every 2/2.5 hours and hope you don’t need stops in between (I had to make an extra stop at the Mallorytown onroute because Pegasus had a nightmare and woke up – thankfully it was before the onroute; there is nowhere to stop after that other than on the side of the road, and I didn’t want to do that in the dark)
  • do not stop for yourself unless you absolutely have to – taking the baby out of the car means that you have to feed and change them and let them play for a bit before getting back in the car – it extends any trip by at least an hour for every stop you make

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Hocus Pocus, Massachusetts!

We recently introduced the classic Disney movie Hocus Pocus to our 3yo Dragon. She loved it. Obviously.

But it got me thinking…why haven’t I written a post about visiting the sets of Hocus Pocus yet?

Most of the movie was set on a sound stage (kinda hard to rig a flying witch in the real world, I guess!) but the outdoor, daytime sets were in Salem and Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Image of Max’s house in Hocus Pocus. Image from boston.com

With the 25th Anniversary of Hocus Pocus last year, the cities saw an up-tick of Halloween tourists, happy to see the outsides (and some insides) of buildings that made up part of their favourite Halloween movie.

You can too!

References

boston.com
salem.org

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Can-Con 2019

Can-Con 2019 is happening NEXT WEEKEND and I am ridiculously excited about it.

What is Can-Con, you ask?

Only my favourite convention of the year!

Can-Con is short for The Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature, and the guests include Canadian authors, editors, publishers, agents, scientists, artists, and more!

Can-Con logo. Image from can-con.org.

Even better, to my mind, is that these people aren’t hidden away in a green room – they walk the floor with the other attendees, go to panels to broaden their knowledge base just like everyone else, and are generally available for geeking out with.

This year, Can-Con is hosting the Aurora Awards, so the convention will be teaming with nominees and past winners. Our very own Éric Desmarais is one of the nominees!

Oh, and me too, I guess, for the Travelling TARDIS blog. I don’t expect to win, though, because the people I’m up against are incredible.

The vendors room is open to the public, (We have a table if you need coffee or crochet) but the convention itself is sold out for 2019.

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Pippi Longstocking’s House

Sweden is the last place I would think of to look for the house that Pippi Longstocking lived in.

Image from atlasobscura.com

However, Vimmerby, Sweden is exactly where you’ll find this replica of the author’s drawing of Pippi’s house, complete with lopsided shutters and balcony railing.

Astrid Lindgren’s World is a theme park open in the summer (May to August) dedicated to the stories by the author. Pippi’s house, Villa Vallekulla, is the star attraction.

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

The Toronto Umbrella Academy

Fans of The Umbrella Academy (viewable on Netflix) can visit several of the sets in Toronto.

Image from Netflix

As I’m not familiar with this show, I’m going to link you to an article that has more information than I know what to do with. You can find the Narcity article here.

Interested in doing an Umbrella Academy tour while visiting Toronto?

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

The Shire

Do you want to visit The Shire, but New Zealand is too far for you to travel? Do you love the idea of travelling to Ireland, and love Lord of the Rings? (I fall into these categories)

Then you’re going to want to visit Killarney in the Kingdom of Kerry, and stay (or simply eat) at The Shire.

The Shire. Image from theshirekillarney.com

They have minimal accommodations (5 doubles, 1 twin, a 4-bed dorm, and an 8-bed dorm), a bar, and a café.

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Ontario Ice Cream Trail

Looking for a cool way to spend the last half of August? Don’t want to leave Ontario? Look no further than a road trip to taste Canadian dairy ice creams.

While you could easily take day trips if you like in the southwest or central parts of Ontario, or the GTA, the rest of Ontario could have a great road trip.

Ontario Ice Cream Trail map

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Gold Rush Canada

Who shot the boss? is the question that Gold Rush Canada asked several thousand contestants before releasing them to search for the $80,000 dollars buried somewhere in the Nation’s Capital on Saturday July 27th 2019 at 9 am. Armed only with a special map, a video from the website, and smart phones, everyone headed for where they thought the first clue was hidden.

Image from goldrushcanada.com.

Now, days later, most people (if not all) are stuck on the third challenge of ten. Based on the comments on the Facebook page, people are getting very frustrated. (As of July 30th when this post was written.)

Nobody said that it would be easy.

So why am I talking about an event that is currently ongoing?

Because Ottawa is only the first city of six.

On August 10, Edmonton starts. August 17 is Calgary and Montreal, and August 24th Toronto and Vancouver.

Due to Ottawa’s event taking longer than expected, they have rearranged the dates for the other cities.

Montreal is August 24, Vancouver is August 31, Calgary is September 7, Edmonton is September 14, and Toronto is September 21.

Are you ready to reserve your map, solve the mystery, and find the treasure?

Knowledge of Escape Rooms is definitely an advantage.

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Breda, Netherlands

While Fandom Travel is near and dear to my heart, Accessible Travel is supremely important to me as well.

So when an article crossed my path about the city of Breda in the Netherlands and how it is the most accessible city in Europe, I knew I had to share it.

Breda. Image from theguardian.com.

Europe, generally, is NOT built with accessibility in mind. Cobblestones, stairs, narrow doorways, etc are the norm.

Read about how Breda changed all that, and their website, to make them the most accessible city in Europe.

Also, a huge happy birthday to my amazing husband, who is turning six squared today!

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Guest Post: HP Studio Tour

Hello everyone! My name is Rebecca and I’m so happy to be writing a guest post for you today!

I’m turning 28 this year, and like a lot of people my age, I was BIG into Harry Potter as a kid. Midnight releases for books and movies, all the merch, playing Harry Potter games with my sisters, the whole deal.

So when a good friend from University invited me to a conference in London, England, I knew I would have to visit some Harry Potter attractions.

We had a busy trip, and while I didn’t make it to King’s Cross Station (oh look, a great excuse to go back to England!) we did go to the Warner Brother’s Studio Tour to see the sets and props used in the making of the movies.

And it was so worth it.

The Studio Tour is outside of London and the tube doesn’t run there. However, there are lots of travel packages  that offer a bus to and from the tour, departing from convenient places around London (often near major hotels).

The only downside of taking the bus is that you have to catch it to get back to the city! I could have stayed all day! That being said, the timeframe that we had (approx. 3 hours) was reasonable and I never felt like I had to rush by something super fast to be able to make the bus.

The tour is set up a bit like a museum; most of the items are behind railings so you can’t touch, and there are information sheets all over telling you about each item, and fun “behind the scenes” facts. There are also video clips playing –  from the movies, as well as interviews with the cast and crew.

The tour begins in the Great Hall, as if you were a student arriving at Hogwarts for the first time!

One thing I appreciated was that there was no forced Sorting ceremony. While this might be fun for some people, I know that for many adult fans, we know our houses and definitely have strong house loyalty! (Team Ravenclaw here!)

The great hall was amazing, (the whole tour was) but there were two instances in particular that gave me the WOW factor.

Do you remember in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone when Hagrid takes Harry to Diagon Alley for the first time ? That was a magical scene in both the book and the movie, where you really get to experience the magic of the wizarding world.

Walking into the set for Diagon Alley – it all came flooding back. Suddenly I was 8 years old again reading my first Harry Potter book. That magic and pure joy was truly something special.

The second location where I got that feeling was the Hogwarts Castle room. This is where they have the model of the castle that was used for all the external sweeping shots. You can see every tower, all the grounds, Hagrid’s hut. I actually teared up a bit.

Aside from the marvel of all the sets and props, the staff were also amazing. In Ollivander’s wand shop, they’ve written the names of cast and crew on the wand boxes. When I was there, a staff member was sitting with a young child who was asking where all of the character’s wands were. And the staff member knew each one! She was using a laser pointer to indicate the appropriate wand boxes all around the room.  I’m sure that was a special moment for that child, and the staff member sure made an impact on the guests!

I could go on all day, but I don’t want to spoil that magical childhood transportation moment for anyone!

I would highly recommend this tour to any and all Harry Potter fans – no matter your age! I will note that part of the tour does go outside to the Knight Bus, Number Four Privet Drive, and a few other locations, so check the weather and bring a jacket if needed.

Thanks again to Jen, Eric, Dragon, and baby Pegasus for the opportunity to write for you today!

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca