Tag: chevrolet

Travel Swellness: Road-tripping to Niagara with Chevy Equinox

IMG_1213

Last week, I was invited on a road trip to the Niagara region with Chevy Equinox. It’s an area that I haven’t spent time in for more than 10 years (although I have been to Niagara on the Lake via GO train about two years ago), I think, so I took them up on the chance to explore it for a couple of days.

The trip started by Toronto’s Pearson airport, and it took about an hour to drive from there to our hotel, the Inn on the Twenty. I had no idea that this was so close to Toronto. I’ve had dinner at the Inn many years ago as part of a Niagara on the Lake getaway, and in my mind it was more than a two-hour drive. I didn’t get behind the wheel for the drive up, but instead took advantage of enjoying the view, and Instagramming the drive without fretting about my data plan since the Equinox is equipped with wifi for up to seven devices.

After a lovely lunch at the Inn, we set out on our chosen adventures, and I’d selected the Whirlpool Jet Boat outing–I’d done this many years ago and  loved it so was eager to do it again (although, truth be told, I had envisioned a warm, sunny day). Suited up in about five extra pieces including a jumpsuit, thermal fleece, poncho and a lifejacket, our small group boarded the jetboat and swirled around in the powerful jetboat in Class V rapids in the Niagara Gorge. We also ventured towards the whirlpool. While the cold water swooshing onto the jetboat and soaking us to our skivvies was exciting, for me what I loved most was just the views of the rapids–the swirling water is mesmerizing. I found myself jealous of the hikers we spotted sitting by the Gorge.

The drive to get to the jetboat tour was an adventure in itself. I was driving, and we came across a road closed except for local traffic, as it was basically washed out. We had to go through it, though, to get to our destination, and although I was a little nervous, I took the car straight through it, and it was a splashy little drive but the car drove smoothly through. Nice job, Equinox! (Coincidentally, the Equinox is actually produced in Ontario, not far from where we were, in Ingersoll).

I’ll add a video soon here (once my technical difficulties are sorted out!) that I took of us going through it as we left the jetboat HQ. I was in the back seat when I recorded it and very appreciative of the  heated back seats (yes, the back seats are also heated!) since we’d all caught quite a chill after being drenched on the jetboat. And by the way, the  Equinox also has ventilated seats, and if you know me, I hate the summer’s overwhelming heat and humidity, so ventilated seats are possibly even more of a draw for me than heated seats and heated steering wheel. No pics taken on the jetboat as the Go Pro I had been given didn’t have any space on its memory card, so this is afterwards, once I’d taken four of the five non-waterproof layers off (I don’t know why they provide non-waterproof pieces…!). You can see a pic of us in all of our enormous yellow poncho glory on my Instagram.

IMG_3025

From there, we made a quick pit stop at Niagara Falls. Even though I’ve seen the Falls many times, it has been quite awhile, and I swoon over its power and beauty each and every time.

IMG_1768

For dinner, we were treated to a decadent meal at Redstone Winery, where I ate possibly the most delicious pork loin I’ve ever had. Juicy and so flavourful. You know it’s a good meal when you ask everyone else what they had after the dinner so you can either revel in the deliciousness of the pork (or share a #sorrynotsorry look with those who did not have the pork dish!).

IMG_1832

IMG_1836

On day 2, we did a scenic drive to Ball’s Falls and stumbled across so many fields of the prettiest trees. I loved how well the car (even with me, the infrequent driver) handled the winding roads of the area. I”m also a fan of the size and feel of the car. Car interiors I find can often easily seem flimsy but the Equinox feels luxe, and as someone who always craves natural light (most of us do, except for one of my besties, she may be a vampire…), the enormous sunroof is incredible. And as for the size, when a car is too big for me, I feel nervous about nicking things (and forget about parking!); when it’s too small, I feel like I’m going to be swallowed whole by the big trucks on the roads. But like Goldilocks, I’m looking for the one that is not too big, not too small, but just right, and size-wise, that’s the Equinox.

IMG_1923

At Ball’s Falls, we did the very short “hike” (it’s really more of a short walk) to both the Upper Falls and Lower Falls, and took in the heritage buildings, too. I don’t often get to trails and to hike when I’m home in Toronto, so it was nice to make the quick drive and get in a quick dose of forest bathing.

IMG_1994

Our road trip ended with a phenomenal lunch at Good Earth Food & Wine, and I feel  like a failed foodie as I wasn’t familiar with this resto. I had the prettiest and most delicious salad there, full of bright and beautiful ingredients with a hefty helping of Guernsey Girl cheese, too. This was followed by a decadent tartine that was more of a gourmet open-face gyro, and a gorgeous lemon rhubarb tart. If you’ve noticed a theme here it’s that everything was so, so pretty and beyond satisfying. I will most definitely be back to eat at Good Earth.

One quick drive back to Toronto, and our Chevy Equinox road trip came to an end. We easily unpacked our trunk thanks to the hand-free power life gate feature (another fave feature — I’m forever carrying a ton of packages or groceries and now with my dog, Billie Jean’s leash often occupying one hand, freeing up my hands is always a plus). A slight wave of the leg underneath the back of the car and up (or down) goes the trunk door.

I’ve been living in Toronto since 1999 and I love that, thanks to Chevrolet Equinox, we were able to find new roads pretty much right in the city’s “backyard.” That is what makes me wish I had a car–not so much for living downtown, although it would make certain errands easier–but for the opportunities to venture out and discover the fun adventures that the world has to offer.

IMG_1767

Leave a Comment May 18, 2017

Travel Swellness: Driving to WayHome 2016 with Chevy Cruze

FullSizeRender (94)

I had so much fun at WayHome Music & Arts Festival last year that I made sure to get tickets early to this year’s fest, which took place about two weeks ago.

image

And while I bought tickets months ago, the rest of the trip came together last minute: I’d booked a bed and breakfast near Burl’s Creek (because I just don’t think I’m cut out for music fest camping!) but I had my heart set on Forks in the Trail, which is where we stayed last year but it was all booked when I tried to reserve. But lucky for us, a room opened up about a week prior, huzzah! Tricia and Doug are lovely hosts, the breakfasts are ample and delicious (these pancakes were fluffy and filling, important when fueling for many hours at the fest!), and there’s the gorgeous pool to relax at all morning before driving the 20 minutes to WayHome.

IMG_9040

A few days before WayHome, I also was able to firm up test-driving a Chevy Cruze from GM to get us to the Oro-Medonte. I’ve driven one before (in Nashville in April; you can read about that trip here) but my drive time there was brief so it was good to get more time behind the wheel of a Cruze.

The Cruze feels small enough that it doesn’t feel like I’m taking up a ton of room on the road but yet not so small that it’s intimidating to be driving alongside big trucks (I find when in some very tiny cars you can feel like the big cars will take you out!). There’s plenty of space so it’s definitely comfortable in terms of leg room; we were only two people in the car but if I’d been able to drive up other folks to the fest, there was plenty of space for both more passengers and bags. And that’s even with me packing way too many clothes (yes, I manage to over-pack still despite how regularly I travel).

As always, one of my fave features is the wifi in the car. Although I didn’t get to use it much as the designated driver, it gives me peace of mind to have it. There’s also a spot to place your cell phone (and if you’re like me, your smartphone is your most important tool!), so it’s tucked there safely (there’s wireless charging too, except I personally don’t have the type of battery to use it). With Apple Carplay, my iPhone’s maps, music, messages and phone were easily connected to the vehicle. If I’d had time before our road trip, I could’ve loaded my iTunes with the Killers, Major Lazer, Haim and Beirut to get us excited for the weekend of music to come.

IMG_9199

 

Features I also appreciate? Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keep Assist (although I certainly don’t rely on it, I like knowing the car has his feature especially on trip’s like this one where I’m the only driver and I may be tired), and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, to name just a few. Again, it’s of course important to practice good, safe driving, but having these features to help us be extra safe when driving is helpful and a comfort, especially for someone like me who isn’t driving very regularly.

The Cruze helped us find our WayHome (and our way home, get it? OK, bad joke) smoothly and safely (and in this brilliant blue, it made it easy to find in the fest’s parking lot).

And there’s more finding new roads coming soon!  Later this week, I’ll be Cruze-ing again as I’m doing another  road-trip adventure with a Chevy Cruze! Follow on Instagram and Snapchat (my profile is healthswellness) to find out  more on Thursday!

FullSizeRender (93)

Leave a Comment August 9, 2016

Travel Swellness: Finding new roads in Nashville with Chevy Cruze

I believe in Nashville

Last week, Chevrolet Canada invited me to travel to Nashville to find new roads behind the wheel of a Chevy Cruze. It was a quick trip but with a full itinerary, we managed to fit a fair amount of exploring Nashville and its outskirts. It was my first time in Tennessee, and I was struck by how lush and green it was as the plane was making its descent.

so green Nashville

Another lovely surprise? Everyone is so warm and friendly. Although my hometown of Toronto has some good points, friendly people is not one of them. Nor is good customer service (CS is the pits here). So I was completely caught off guard in Nashville by (gasp) people actually greeting me and even chatting.

Marathon Village

On my first day in Nashville, I took out the Chevy Cruze LT by myself and went to explore Marathon Village. Here, the Marathon Factory building dates back to 1881 and it now is filled with studios and loads of shops selling fun items, such as Antique Archeology, where there was a very creepy mummified boy and other oddities.

The Bang Candy Company

I initially made my way to Marathon Village because Chevy told me The Bang Candy Company had a stash of candy for the crew in town for the Chevy Cruze adventure. There I picked up my homemade marshmallows, and was mighty temped by their simple syrups (which I passed on since I was traveling only with a carry-on).

Chevy Cruze

I don’t drive that regularly and am not fond of driving in a new city, and I’d say in general I’m always stressed about getting lost, but thanks to the Chevy Cruze being the most connected car in its class, I didn’t have to worry. The Cruze  has 4G LTE wifi available on all models, and Apple Carplay and Android Auto standard. And should I need to make a call, I knew I would be able to do so easily and safely thanks to hands-free calling and standard Siri Eyes Free voice recognition (as long as the iPhone is running iOS 6 or later, which would you believe mine is? I’m terrible about updating my operating system…). Oh, and the navigation features 3D  map views for major cities and attractions.

Nashville aka Music City is famous for being storytelling and we were treated to a lovely dinner at Little Octopus (where we ate family style courses including some of the best roast chicken with salsa verde I’ve had, along with some tasty farro cakes, a juicy burger, and more. All while listening to some superb live country music. The four artists who performed during dinner are the songwriters behind some of the top country songs by the who’s who in cuntry (think Kenny Chesney, for example). While I didn’t recognize any of the songs (not a country music fan — I don’t think Taylor Swift counts, right?), the music was mellow and quite moving. Full of good food and in a good mood, we returned to the Hutton Hotel and called it a night (OK, fine, we had one last drink at the hotel first).

Hutton Hotel Nashville

The next day, bright and early, we all partnered up and chose a Chevy Cruze and were given an itinerary for the day. My friend Jonathan of MrCavaliere.com and I piled into our Cruze and set out to find new roads.

Country View Amish Market

 

We met up with the Cruze squad first at a pit stop at Country View Amish Market in Charlotte, where the staff was just lovely, the fried pies irresistible and the bacon dressing (aka a jar of bacon fat) mighty tempting (gd the no-fluids more than 100 mL flight rule!). From there, Jonathan and I got lost (don’t ask — my bad, I misunderstood something in the itinerary), but he maneuvered our Cruze easily on the windy country roads (the 2016 Cruze is 2.7 inches longer, but up to 250 pounds lighter on the L, LS and LT, which makes the car more nimble and feels more controllable, plus this also optimizes the performance and efficiency of the powertrain — so I’m told; I confess: the feature I was most excited about in the Cruze is the wireless phone charging, if only I had the battery that does wireless charging!).

At the Country Boy Diner

Eventually, we made it to The Country Boy in Leiper’s Fork, which is pretty much everything you hope for in a Nashville countryside diner. I mean, check out the adorableness of our server.

chicken sandwich, catfish, fried green tomatoes

Here, I ate what is quite possibly the best fried chicken sandwich of my life. Jonathan and I had agreed to share the entire meal, including some fried green tomatoes, so we could try more menu items, but with my first bite of the sandwich, I wished we had just gone for two chicken sandwiches instead of the catfish plate. The bun is so soft and light (so it doesn’t overwhelm the incredible juicy chicken) and the chicken isn’t too heavily battered, so it’s very chicken-y (can’t you tell that I write for a living!?).

Copper Fox Gallery

 

We slurped up two milkshakes with our lunch and then poked around Leiper’s Fork, where there were a few galleries of great gifts and art. I particularly fell for The Copper Fox Gallery, where I learned that the restored home it’s housed in is from the 1860s and the beautiful yellow door (and some of the floor) is original. I left empty-handed because we were pressed for time, and I must make it back there to spend more time shopping and to check out the other places I didn’t get a chance to pop into, such as Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant.

at the Copper Fox Gallery

We did make a quick stop, though, to take a pic of General Lee (you know, the car from Dukes of Hazzard!)…

Dukes of Hazzard General Lee

this awesome cop car…

vintage cop car

and this vintage Chevy (how appropriate!)…

vintage Chevy in Leiper's Fork

I got behind the wheel here and we made our way to Otis James, whose studio can be found in the “Makers area” in downtown Nashville. Otis is an artisan cap maker (his focus was previously bowties and ties, but now it’s caps that he makes by hand), and the majority of his work is custom work for clients.

Otis James caps and ties

Because I think Jonathan and I got caught up in the magic of finding new roads in Nashville, we completely missed out on the fact we were supposed to get to Otis James’s studio at a certain time. Oops. So we weren’t there when Chevy’s lead designers were there chatting design philosophies (sorry, Chevy!). We did have a lovely visit with Otis, though. He’s passionate about people knowing where their products come from and knowing where or why design elements are made. Mass production can make us all forget that there are actual people behind the design. Take the Chevy Cruze, for example. For Otis, he really wanted to know why, for example, leather was used for a certain element of the car but another material elsewhere. Besides his bespoke work, we also talked a lot about Canada, food, and upon hearing we hadn’t had much time in Nashville to really poke around, he promised me there’s more to Nashville than fried chicken.

Otis James

Oh, and I fell in love with his shy dog, Maple, who I was determined to befriend. She seemed to want some attention but was just a little skittish.

sweet, skittish Maple

Chatting away and taking photos at the studio, Jonathan and I both lost track of time and realized we had to get back to grab our shuttle to the airport. Fortunately, we were close to the Chevy hub and it should’ve only taken 10 minutes. Unfortunately, we got stuck in traffic (wow, Nashville, you’ve got some traffic!), but eventually we made it back and our Chevy Cruze adventure came to an end. We reluctantly handed back our keys and said so long to Nashville. It was an awesome adventure finding new roads with the Chevy Cruze (Thank you Chevrolet Canada!) and I I hope to be back in Music City real soon!

Chevy Cruze finding new roads

 

Leave a Comment April 28, 2016

Previous page


Recent Posts

Twitter Updates

Categories

Recent Comments