Monday, August 22, 2016

To Muskoka and Beyond....

 
It's been awhile, I know, slap on the wrist!
I'm back after a beautiful, but quick weekend away in Muskoka. For those of you who don't know, Muskoka is a district about 2 hours north of Toronto full of lovely small towns and it's considered mainly cottage country to us city folk. Life up north is different, and a much quieter pace, so it's the perfect place to get away from the city for a weekend, and best of all, for me, it means spending time with close friends who spend their Summers there.
Steven and I hit the road early Saturday morning, beating the sure to be terrible traffic, by an hour or two, and arriving in Huntsville by around 10am. It was the perfect day, full of bright sunshine, somewhat overwhelming heat but also a big street fair running right down the main street. They had rolled out grass to cover the pavement and kids played with giant Jenga, bouncy balls and hula hoops up and down in their bare feet. There was music and the entire town was alive, just how I remembered it from being there last time, at least 9 or so years ago.
 
 
I took Steven up and down the high street, and we poked our heads in to all the shops that sell a million versions of Muskoka branded clothing and strange little antiques. We picked up a couple of neat vintage things that we don't have space for at home but wanted to have anyways.
At the bottom of the main street is a pub with tables on the main docks, so we had a drink and some lunch there before deciding to move on to another little town called Bracebridge.
Bracebridge is smaller than Hunstville but also a bit cuter, with a little waterfall and a historic walk that takes you around the falls and into a bit of forest.
 
 
Despite the afternoon heat becoming a bit much, we did the little walk and followed it up with Nanaimo bar ice cream cones. I was feeling increasingly more Canadian as the day went on, as Muskoka really brings out my Canadian pride - it just feels like home no matter what town we stop in.
 
 
To add to the already friendly home town charm, we heard The Tragically Hip playing in so many shops and people everywhere asked if we were planning on watching the final show on Saturday night. It really made me happy to see the support and love that they are getting everywhere.
We were going to be visiting friends at a cottage, but had received a night at the Pine Lodge Inn in Port Sydney, not far from where our friends were staying, so we stopped by our lovely room to have a rest before heading over to dinner.
Pine Lodge is just a quick walk from the main swimming dock on Mary Lake and about 15 minutes walk from the general store, Uncle Larry's, in Port Sydney. It's an older lodge with modern rooms so ended being a great place to stay and we felt totally spoiled.
Our evening was filled with sharing a barbequed meal, with wine and cake to celebrate a friend's birthday, her daughter's imminent departure to university and Steve and I's upcoming wedding. Best of all, we laughed and had a wonderful evening in the best company.
 
 
To top it all off, we watched the Hip's last show and it was emotional like I expected but even more touching was hearing it around the lake when you stepped outside. I think most people in neighbouring cottages were tuned in as well, to spend one last night with Gord Downie. I think I will write a separate post about The Tragically Hip because I know that so many of you are reading this and have no connection to them since they aren't known all around the world - they are a genuine Canadian treasure.
 
 
In true Muskoka fashion, it thunder stormed all through the night on Saturday and we woke up to no power on Sunday morning. We set out to still have a big hot breakfast, making eggs, bacon and toasted bagels on the barbeque, although I have to confess that we cheated slightly when we took the glass coffee pot down to the general store to fill it with hot coffee. To be fair, one can only do so much with a barbeque before they have had coffee.
We spent the remainder of Sunday sitting on the porch in the random moments of sun and shade, and we bravely went for a swim in the lake, despite it being windy and a bit chilly. Being in the lake is so therapeutic mainly because you can float along without worrying about salt water getting in your eyes, which in my opinion makes it more fun than being in the ocean-  but maybe I'm biased, having not grown up close to the ocean.
 
 
 
As per tradition, at least in my family, we made a pit stop at Webers burgers in Gravenhurst before sitting in traffic with the million other people who decided that driving home Sunday night was a good idea too - but hey! What can ya do?! EH?!
 
 
I have to say that after being away from cottage country for so long, I didn't realize just how much I missed it and how much it's a part of who I am. I'm so excited that we are spending more time up there after the wedding in September - I can hardly wait.
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