Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dare to Explore: Bruce County, Part Two

Continuing from part one, my daughter and I used our destination of Summer House Park at Miller Lake as a base to explore the Bruce County area. After kayaking on Miller Lake after breakfast one morning, we took the drive up highway #6 to Litle Cove Adventures where I had read about a ropes course we could do. Well, it turns out we couldn't do it after all, because I had only packed flip flops and they require you wear running shoes.  We put it on our list to do next year.

So on to Tobermory we went. Tobermory is a town at the northern peak of the Bruce Peninsula.  From there you have your choice of cruises to see the area, or to get over to Manitoulin Island, on the Chi-Cheemaun ferry, vehicle and all.  The little town itself has many little shops, cafes and restaurants that sit along a road that bends around a marina.

One of our favourite places to eat was Sharky's Grill, located just outside the main tourist marina area.

We loved the homemade veggie burgers and the whitefish sandwiches. 

The Grille is connected to store that covers different levels, full of eclectic and bohemian-inspired clothes, jewellry and garden items, while Bob Marley music plays in the background. A really special place. We would place our order with the friendly owner at what looks like a take-out window located on the second level, spend some time looking around and them come back to a table to eat.

One night we took the sunset cruise from Tobermory, a two hour boat ride along the coast of Georgian Bay. The boat left the dock at 7:40pm, with a sunset scheduled for 8:10pm.  I took so many photos, here are a few of them.

We saw some people here, jumping off the rocks into the water below.  I'm told that it's possible to hike to this spot (the "Grotto") from Highway 6.  Another thing to add to our list of things to do next time.

Do you see the Inukshuk?

And then, as the name of the cruise suggests, the sunset.

Other cruises are available, the most popular being the one to Flower Pot Island.  This too we added to our list of things to do next year (we're going to be busy!). We spent our last night back in Port Elgin, and took in the annual Bruce Nuclear Beach Party the next day before heading home.

I would have to say, the best part of our vacation was: the time we spent together having fun without a schedule, the nice local people we met, the new road signs (thank you!), the perfect beach weather, daring to explore new areas and leaving with some great memories.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dare to Press "Play"

Last night I was reading an exerpt from Roger Ebert's autobiography on his 20 year marriage to Chaz Hammelsmith Ebert.  It is a really a great love story and I enjoyed reading about their vacations to Venice in the winter, as well as her continued love and support towards him during his cancer treatment. But something else he said stuck with me: meeting his wife gave him the ability to move forward, as he had been in a state of "pause" for too long.


It got me thinking - how many of us are living in a state of "pause?" Maybe we were moving forward at one time, and then for whatever reason, we have stopped and have been standing still for far too long.  Maybe we feel stuck, and bound by circumstances or other's opinions of where we should be. Maybe it's a fear of change. Whatever the reason, we are in this state of "pause" with a need to press "play" and keep moving forward.

I know for myself, there have been times when I have pressed the "pause" button and sat.  I have done it in relationships and in jobs. I have found myself stuck, knowing I wanted to go, needed a change, but something has kept me in the same spot. Sometimes it is simply a matter of figuring out how to press the "play" button that keeps us from moving on.

As I contemplate today where I am sitting in "pause," I would encourage you to do the same.  And then, visualize what life would look like if you dared to press "play."  Think about it, daydream about it, fantasize about it. That's a start. Because really, there is nothing good about living in a state of "pause" except to finally dare to press "play" and take off towards what is next.  That's when things get exciting.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dare to Explore: Bruce County, Ontario, Part One

One of the great things about having an eleven-year-old is that they love adventure.  As a parent, you can at times find yourself doing things outside of what you would normally do alone.  Last week my daughter and I embarked on an adventure through Bruce County, an area of Ontario, Canada, located about three hours northwest of Toronto.  Summer is the season we look forward to and every year we spend a week in Port Elgin, on the shores of Lake Huron, but this year, my girl was wanting something a little different and adventurous. She wanted to explore some new terrain.We decided to leave Port Elgin, our first stop, after enjoying three days of pretty much living on the beach.  After packing up the car, we visited the beach one last time, to take in Port Elgin's weekly beach flea market.  With a 25 cent entry fee, there are always interesting things to look at.

Next stop was Wiarton for lunch and then on to Lion's Head, to spend the afternoon by the water. After passing through Wiarton, we made a stop at a handicraft store I remember loving to visit as a child.  I was excited to share it with my little girl and she loved it just as I had all those years ago.  We decided we would stop again on our way back to purchase a few things.

Arriving at Lion's Head, I don't remember seeing a freshwater bay as clear as Georgian Bay was that day.  Forgoing the beach, we decided to walk over to the lighthouse on the other side of the marina and lay out our towels on the large rocks below.  A couple of dips in the cold water were refreshing (and brrrrr!).

From Lion's Head, we were on on way again, travelling north on Highway #6 to Miller Lake, where we were stay at Summer House Park, 84 acres of camping, cottaging and a bed and breakfast house. The weather looked promising for the next few days.

We used as a base, and spent the next day at Singing Sands Beach on Lake Huron, a really interesting beach.  Lake Huron has receded so much in this area, I realized as I was taking the long walk from the car to the lake that I was actually walking on what was once the bottom of the lake.  Once we got to the water, it was another ten minute walk or so to get into the water past our waists.  This beach is perfect for families with small children, since such a huge area of the lake is really shallow.  But walking across the sand felt a bit like what I imagine walking through a desert would be like.

In the second part of this blog, we'll look at Tobermory, and then it's back to Port Elgin.