Touring Canada and the US with my sons – priceless

The MasterCard commercials which speak of the cost of various purchases and then conclude with something special you bought with the word “priceless” was defining my week with my two sons. Oldest Son graduated from college in early May and we decided to take the opportunity to pick up Youngest Son from a summer college term in Vermont as a good reason for a tour. So, Oldest Son and I flew into Cleveland and rented a SUV. We had an absolute ball at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which is a must see, spending about four hours there listening and watching.

From Cleveland we drove into Canada through Niagara Falls to see one of the great wonders of the world. Note to US citizens, it is much better viewing from the Canadian side. From there we ventured around Lake Ontario to Toronto, which is one of the great cities on our continent. We did many tourist things, but we capped it off by attending a Second City Comedy show. This stage had been home to Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Bill Murrey, Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles, Mike Myers, Tina Fey and many other comedians.

From there we ventured over to Ottawa, which is a pretty cool city as Canada’s capitol. The architecture is terrific and it has a good vibe. It is also a good walking city. And, before heading down to pick up Youngest Son, we went to Montreal where we had been before. Our trip there was brief, but for US citizens who want to experience a taste of Europe, go to Montreal and Quebec City. The architecture of the churches alone are magnificent in Montreal, but there is so much more to do and see.

Youngest Son goes to college in Burlington, VT which is a very eclectic place. It reminds me of Asheville, NC which is in my home state. Since, Youngest Son is even more eclectic than all of us, he is truly in the right place. He has a favorite tea house which is where we met him before loading up the SUV. If you picture three tall guys being attacked by boxes and luggage, that would be what we looked like in the van.

We ventured south breaking the trip into two days. We went to a wonderful hole in the wall Italian place in New Jersey for dinner and it was terrific respite. Also, we stopped at a German restaurant in the Virginia mountains appropriately named “Edelweiss.” But, the best part of the two-part journey was being with my guys. We traded puns, observed beautiful scenery and just had a great time hanging out. We had some neat conversations on a range of topics.

We went through both sons’ I-Phone music playlists which was neat. Both are very global in their tastes, so we listened to great music from a Blues artist in Israel (Dani Dorchin), a Japanese singer (Yoko Kanno) who sounds like Melissa Etheridge, several rock and roll Irish bands (The Dreadknoughts and Flogging Molly, who is actually from the US, with Irish roots), a very good heavy metal band from Australia called Wolfmother, an instrumental duo with a cellist and guitarist called Montana Skies (very unique sound), and two Scottish folk bands called Old Blind Dogs and The Silly Wizards, both of whom are excellent. We went through some bigger names with Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Billy Joel and Muddy Waters to name a few, plus many others while catching some Big Band/ Ballads from Count Basie and Benny Goodman and some classical stuff on the radio, so we covered the gamut.

The guys loved the fact I liked hearing their music and liked a great deal of it. I had heard some of it before, but this was extra special as we had so much time to go deeper into the playlists. We had a big time and it leaves me with great memories. I get a sense they feel the same. It was definitely worth the expense as what it bought was priceless.