Adventures to be had, memories to be made...we are committed to exploring and experiencing all that Northern Ontario has to offer us. Our plan is to immerse ourselves in the rugged beauty and vast vistas one step at time.
French River Romp
My girls and I were traveling from Sudbury to Bracebridge last Sunday and felt like an adventure. The north is vast, rugged and beautiful. The air is clean; the sky is blue; and the national parks are plentiful. Hence there are always plenty of activities to satisfy the desire for a new experience. We were in my truck with the windows down and the music turned up loud. The girls were singing. The weather was warm and dry. It was wonderful.
My girlfriend Amy mentioned to me how fondly she remembered spending time at The French River Trading Post as a young girl. We had never been so that was our first stop. The French River Trading Post is 45 minutes south of Sudbury on Highway 69. We pulled in famished and the Hungry Bear Restaurant fit the bill. We ordered a toasted ham and cheese sandwich; a toasted BLT; a Caesar salad; and poutine. Everything was tasty and fresh. The staff was friendly with a sense of humour. We did not have to wait long.
We then wandered over to the gift shop. It is vast, encompassing about 15,000 SF, and has such an interesting array of Canadiana. There were moccasins; indigenous art; blankets; bush hats; pajamas; branded clothing of all kinds; rings; bracelets; earrings; wallets; inlaid wooden boxes; rabbit’s feet and pelts; themed playing cards; and tea sets. There was something for everyone. My youngest purchased an inlaid wooden box with a wolf carved on the front along with a lucky rabbit’s foot that she put inside…predator and prey she explained. My eldest daughter bought two rings and a crystal Suncatcher. We bought half a pound each of maple and vanilla fudge along with some chocolate maple cookies. It was delightful. Before we left, my youngest ordered bubble gum and orange peach ice cream for the road. They must have given her a full pint!
Next on our agenda was Killbear Provincial Park in Parry Sound. We drove just over an hour south to arrive at this immensely busy park. There are over 1,000 campsites in seven different camps, most of them a mere 5 minute walk from the lake, and most were occupied. The park sits on Georgian Bay so the water is clear and cold. We wandered down to the shore at Beaver Dams and admired the sand and surf. Lots of activity but not crowded. There was enough space to spread out and move around comfortably. There are signs posted everywhere warning you are now in Bear Country although we did not encounter any bears. We will return to hike to Lookout Point someday soon. The park is vast and lovely.
Rolling from Killbear we headed southeast 45 minutes to Rosseau. We ended up at Crossroads Restaurant up on the hill overlooking Lake Rosseau. It is a special place, with both indoor and outdoor dining in the natural environment of Muskoka with lots of surrounding flowers and greenery. There is a large gravel parking lot right next door serving the restaurant. The menu is fresh and upscale and the restaurant is lavish, albeit a little pretentious - they have open perfume bottles in the women’s bathroom. On Sunday they were offering homemade focaccia bread, chilled cucumber soup, hand-cut fries and vegetable spring rolls. If that didn’t strike your fancy, there was chicken liver parfait, steamed PEI mussels, tuna tartare and oysters. On to the main courses, featuring a vegan ratatouille, a hand cut pappardelle, oven roasted chicken supreme and Georgian Bay pickerel. Nova Scotia scallops and black tiger shrimp were also on offer along with grilled beef tenderloin, grilled milk-fed veal chop and Chef Richard’s signature cut. Their two salads were either their own Caesar or an Artisanal Green. I did not enquire about dessert.
Our final destination of the night was Maple Lane Farms in Bracebridge, a 40 minute drive. There we met up with Amy and brushed, tacked, saddled up and rode four beautiful horses in the ring. Zara, Lincoln, Harley and Luna accommodated us for an hour. Walking, trotting and cantering at various times, the experience was earthy and rewarding, although my thighs complained for a few days thereafter. The rain came in torrents while we rode and the sound of it hitting the tin roof was like soothing music.
It was a wonderful romp through part of the north…our first of many more to come.
Author: Norma Rawlings
1 of 2 authors on this site. See About The Adventures for more information on the authors.
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“I urge you; go find buildings and mountains and oceans to swallow you whole. They will save you, in a way nothing else can.”