Summer Vacation: Swimming, Shopping and Farmer’s Markets

Visiting Grand Forks the last week of July was pure heaven. I had three days of pure bliss, relaxation and having a lot of fun. It was exactly what I needed before heading back home to prepare for finals. And the best part? I met up with a former coworker and her family for lunch, as they were in town too! I love Grand Forks!


Friday I was up early and out the door by 7am. Well, not quite, more like 7:30. I’ve learned from past travel mistakes that if it’s a long weekend and you’re heading to the U.S…. you get there bright and early to beat the rush. The first stop was Starbucks – a necessity when you travel. Well, at least I think it is. A venti iced tazo tea was my travel companion. I hit city limits by 8:15 (wait at Starbucks and traffic heading out). Getting to the border was, well, a challenge. Travelers were plagued by construction and speeds topping 60kmh. Yeah, snails pace. I finally arrived at Duty Free by 9am and beelined it for the bathroom. Just as I got there, a tour bus filled with travelers pulled up. It was a 15-20 minute wait for the bathrooms. A few ladies and I were tempted to use the men’s washroom. Yeah, it was that bad. After the bathroom debacle I made a small purchase (this is always suggested as they’ll give you a receipt with your licence plate on it and # of travelers to show when you were at the border) and tailed it to the car. The wait in line at the Pembina Border Crossing wasn’t too bad (I’ve been stuck in line for two hours once) – 15 minutes. After answering the typical travel questions, I was well on my way. Only to be met by more construction. Oi. I finally arrived in Grand Forks at 11am. First stop – Target. I needed some necessities to get me through the weekend (shampoo, a razor, shaving gel and Lactaid). My cousin was waiting for a student to arrive at her house so she can tutor him, but after that we put on our swimming gear and headed to the pool. The humidity made it super hot, so we were glad to be spending the entire afternoon in water. Swimming for an entire afternoon zapped us, so we were all in bed by 10pm. We’re such rock stars on Friday nights.

Saturday I was up bright and early (well, 8am) and headed downtown to check out the Farmer’s Market. I’ve always wanted to check it out since I’ve been traveling there. My cousin warned me that it’s small and nothing compared to what we have here in Winnipeg, but still, I wanted to see what they had. I found it cute and quaint. The gentleman in the left of the picture was so nice… he waited until I got the perfect shot. So much fresh produce, home made products such as jams, jellies, bread, desserts; home goods such as blankets, crafts and much more. I had to buy something. I wanted to try out the local fare (as every traveler should!). My purchases included rhubarb kutchen and a tub of pico de gallo (the best I’ve had so far!). The sounds and smells were wonderful. I’ll definitely be back. After the market I headed out for breakfast – McDonald’s. Not my top choice, but iHop was busy. That afternoon my cousin and me headed on to campus to take graduation announcement photos. They turned out great and I can’t wait to share it with everyone. After that we rented movies, did some grocery shopping for dinner and then headed back home to relax for the remainder of the night. If you’re looking for a good movie to watch, I suggest “Waiting for Forever” with Rachel Bilson. We both loved it.

Sunday. Sunday was fun. I met up with a former coworker and her family for lunch at my favorite Mexican joint – Paradiso. I always find myself overeating here, the food is so good! After lunch I headed to Target, WalMart and Menard’s to pick up groceries and find a tomato cage (they’re all gone here in the city). It was super hot, once again, so I couldn’t spend all my time outside. I was melting and fast. A quick stop at McDonald’s for ice cream was needed. It was the perfect treat! Back at the house I spent the remainder of the day relaxing, calculating my purchases and watching American TV. Both my cousin and me were so wiped that we barely did anything that evening. Well, I did head to the liquor store one last time to pick up more liquor to take back home. The liquor store was so quite Sunday night, compared to Friday afternoon when I went. Holy smokes… between the locals and the fellow Manitoban’s picking up liquor for the weekend. It was like day and night.

Monday. I left Grand Forks around 11am, but I left my cousin’s house at 10. I spent an hour at WalMart picking up last minute things, such as those that were empty when I visited the day before (I love knowing their shelf stocking schedule!). I didn’t have to fuel up because I did that the day before, but I did stop at a gas station for a bag of ice for the cooler and some water. I made it to the Canadian border at noon and it wasn’t a long wait because I beat the rush (at 3pm the wait was 1 hour and 45 minutes; 2 hours and 30 minutes by 6pm). I arrived back in the city at 1pm, unloaded the car and unpacked.

I had a great trip. I always love spending time with my cousin since it’s hard to see each other all the time. She always finds something for us to do, we rarely eat out and hanging out with her, her husband and the kids is always a great time. We always have fun and it always allows me to unwind and relax.

More photos can be viewed at my Flickr page.


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