Windsor Ontario Adventure!

Monday, July 8, 2013 0 No tags Permalink

I was off work all last week on vacation. It was awesome. Got up Thursday morning (the 4th of July). Bob asked if I was up for an adventure. He told me to pack an overnight bag and get my passport. And we were off!


If you don’t live in Michigan, perhaps you don’t realize how quickly you can vacate this country and be in Canada. It is quite literally two hours from where we live to the border. Now, I’ve traveled through Windsor a couple of times, but never visited the city itself. It is absolutely a fantastic getaway.

GM Ren Cen

Look, it’s the General Motors RenCen!

Old Mariner's Church

And the Old Mariner’s Church. You know the one. From the Gordon Lightfoot song (“In a musty old hall in Detroit, they prayed in the Maritime Sailors’ Cathedral. The church bell chimed ’til it rang 29 times for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald“).


There are two ways to get to Windsor. You can take the tunnel (formally dedicated on Saturday, November 1, 1930. As you travel almost a mile, 75 feet below the surface of the Detroit River, you’re surrounded by 574 lights, 80,000 cubic yards of concrete, and 750 tons of reinforced steel) or the Ambassador Bridge (more on that, later).

Detroit Windsor Tunnel

I am generally not a fan of tunnels (or caves, thanks to this movie). But we got through in pretty good time, and got through customs.

Canada - Customs
Bob had booked us a room at Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino. It’s a lovely hotel. Also, the floor of the casino and restaurants are smoke-free.

Caesars Palace Windsor

Bob selected the room for it’s fantastic view. It was also very clean and comfortable.

Caesars Palace Windsor

Our view from the room. That’s right, it’s the river-side of the RenCen.

view from hotel room

Windsor has a fantastic walking/biking path along the whole river front. It’s really a series of parks and gardens, going all the way down to the Ambassador Bridge.

Caesars Palace Windsor

The riverwalk park is clean and busy…so many people out enjoying the day!

Windsor river front park

There are many sculptures along the path, including this great UFO.

Windsor river front park

We made our way along towards the Ambassador Bridge.

Windsor river front park

Yolanda Vandergaast’s Penguins on a Waterfall(2000) in Windsor Sculpture Park

Windsor sculpture garden

Michigan Central Railroad Depot

Michigan Central Railroad Station
We made it all the way down to the bridge.

Ambassador Bridge
On the way back, we decided to cut into the town a bit to look around at some of the residential areas. The University of Windsor is right down by the bridge, along with a lot of student housing.

Windsor has a low violent crime rate and one of the lowest murder rates in Canada. For real. Here’s an article discussing the difference between the two cities on opposite sides of the river.

Windsor park bench

In all of the parks, there are plenty of benches to stop and catch your breath. I particularly enjoyed the sentiment on this one.

Detroit River

It was pretty hot out by the time we got back to Caesars. We stopped to re-hydrate and cool off before heading out to dinner. Bob had read reviews for The Cook’s Shop Restaurant. It was about a 20 minute walk.

Cook's Shop Restaurant

The Cook’s Shop gets good reviews on Yelp! And the reviewers are spot-on. We each had pasta with the complementary caesar salad and garlic bread. Fantastic.

Cook's Shop Restaurant

After dinner, we walked down Ouellette Avenue and stopped at a few pubs for a nice drink. Bob had done research and found some fantastic places for us to visit (he planned every detail of our adventure perfectly!). First on the list was the Manchester. Nice environment, good service. We sat inside (there was a brief bit of rain while we were enjoying our beer – I had the Walkerville).

Manchester Pub Windsor

I made sure I took a photo of this sign for Mill Street Brewery. They make an original organic lager which is absolutely the most delicious beer I’ve ever had. Ever. It is so. Awesome. And I don’t think it’s available anywhere in Michigan.

Mill Street Beer Sign

Next, we continued to walk through town. Got a shot of this lovely neon sign.

Lazares Furs Windsor

We stopped at a lovely little place called Vermouth. It was much too warm to sit inside, but we both said we could imagine retreating to the warmth and darkness of the interior on cold days. Vermouth reminded me of something familiar and vaguely smelled like my grandparents’ home on Burgess Street in Detroit. It almost felt like I had been there before.

Vermouth Windsor

However, the night was so lovely, we stayed a long time on their outside patio, watching people go by. It was one of those perfect evenings where your body is the exact right temperature and there’s a nice breeze. I can’t find a website for Vermouth, but here’s their information on Yelp!

outside vermouth

After Vermouth, we stopped by the Kilt & Fiddle Irish Pub. It’s a lovely little place. Again, we sat outside to enjoy the weather, but the interior was very nice as well. The music was perfect, and added to the atmosphere.

Kilt & Fiddle Windsor

Really, every minute was bliss. It’s nice to be able to relax and enjoy a nice drink, and feel safe when it’s time to walk back to the hotel.

Windsor china shop

We took some photos along the way, and retreated back down to the riverfront to watch some fireworks on the Detroit side of the river.

GM Ren Center

If you haven’t been to Windsor, and you’re looking for a little adventure, I can’t recommend it enough. We absolutely had the best time.

Detroit Skyline

Like nearly every place we’ve visited, we could imagine ourselves really living in Windsor. It would be a great place to live and work.

Ambassador Bridge night

It is surprising how many people were still enjoying the riverfront in the evening and when it became dark. There were still people running and biking while we were watching the fireworks.

Detroit skyline at night

The RenCen is lovely at night.

Caesars Palace Windsor

The next morning, we got up to find a bit of rain. We had timed our trip perfectly!

Detroit Skyline

Bob had selected a place to go for breakfast, so we headed out (this time in the truck).


The Taloola Cafe.

Taloola Cafe

It’s a quiet little place, with good food. It seems that most of the customers are regulars.

Taloola Cafe

It’s the sort of place where you can relax and enjoy a nice cup of coffee and a healthy snack. That’s exactly what we did.

Taloola Cafe

I had the spicy coffee and a toasty sandwich (peanut butter, banana and honey) and Bob had a regular coffee and the breakfast burrito (white bean hash, honey, shredded carrots and raisins – it was both sweet and savory). We swapped meals halfway through.

Ambassador Bridge

After breakfast, it was time to head back home. After all, the cats were waiting for us. We decided to go back via the Ambassador Bridge.

Ambassador Bridge

If you’re looking for some unbiased information on the bridge and what’s to come, probably Wikipedia is your best bet.

Ambassador Bridge

If you don’t live in Michigan, you might not know that we had a ballot initiative and a bunch of campaigning and posturing ahead of the vote as well. Here’s a bit if you want to learn more. Also, Matty Moroun also owns the Michigan Central Railroad Station, pictured above.

Detroit Customs

Made it through customs and headed on our way back down I-94.

Uniroyal Tire I-94

It was such a fun trip. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Even better, when we got home, we still had a few days of the long weekend to go! So many people enjoy life when they go on vacation, but aren’t happy with their daily activity. They miss out, because it’s the daily stuff that makes life good. Vacations are just the extra adventure of seeing something different.

downtown Battle Creek

See? Even Battle Creek has a lovely river front area. Our own state motto decrees it: Si Quæris Peninsulam Amœnam Circumspice, “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.”

Hope you also had an enjoyable 4th of July!

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