Port Huron, Michigan (Or as we call it, Almost Canada)

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My daughter competes in Bible Quizzing. It’s not something that is familiar to a lot of people and it seems to be something that mostly happens in the midwest region… A lot of her quiz meets are local and against local teams. ¬†But she also travels to Invitational events–each year there are two in South Bend, one in Michigan, one local, and one in Canada (that’s next week and Momma is nervous!). My middle child also competes but he is in a ¬†children’s league that is completely local.

We had really wanted to go to Canada with her. We were even going to pay the rush fee on our passports to get them in time. But work schedules didn’t work out in our favor. So we ended up taking time off to go the Michigan Invitational as well. It was held in Port Huron, which we now lovingly call Almost Canada.

Port Huron is the very last exit off the highway before you cross the border. There are warning signs everywhere that if you do not exit NOW, you will end up in a different country. We giggled over the signs that said “Two miles to Canada” and “next left, Canada”. It just seemed so broad. Not Ontario, not the name of the city in Canada. Just “Canada”. I guess Americans aren’t smart enough to know that Ontario isn’t one of the fifty states? I have no idea. But we giggled like children every time we encountered one of these signs.

We had dinner the first night in a cute local diner called Ted’s Coney Island. Eat there. Seriously. The staff was just as friendly as can be (we’ve noted that the closer we got to Canada, the friendlier the people are). The servings were ENORMOUS. Order about half of what you think you can eat. I was amazed by what was considered one ice cream sundae. I swear there was enough ice cream in my bowl to feed the whole table–and everyone ended up sharing it, so I guess it did! I don’t think this picture does justice to how huge this ice cream sundae was. And the hot fudge was actually FUDGE, not watery chocolate syrup so many places use and call it fudge. It was amazing. And all the other items we ordered were extremely large as well. I ended up bring most of my food over to the table full of my daughter’s teammates. Teenagers are never full and they pounded it all down!

Some of our favorite amusing signs from the weekend:

We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express right by the bridge to Canada. From Google maps it had looked like we’d be able to look out our window and be see Canada but that wasn’t quite true. There was water up behind the hotel but it wasn’t actually the St. Clair River, which makes up the border. Plus, our room ended up facing the parking lot. BORING. But the hotel was clean and easily accessible. The pool was FREEZING. There was an entire gymnastics competition staying there the same night, so the pool and breakfast were packed with people. I found that to be a good thing–sometimes picking a random hotel in an unfamiliar city stresses me out because I wonder if I picked a bad neighborhood. But seeing it full of families made me feel better.

Our learning opportunities over the weekend were focused on geography–the Great Lakes, the border between the U.S. and Canada, etc. We also recited our memory work on Canadian history and tried to remember the names of the provinces and territories and their capitals. The great thing with our classical education is that we’ve already learned these things–we just get to put them into action and make them come alive when we travel somewhere new.

Quizzing competitions took up all of our time in Port Huron so unfortunately we did not get to experience anything that the city had to offer, other than a really great diner. But again, the people were all super nice and we really enjoyed our weekend in Almost Canada.


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