Do you call it a camp, cabin, or cottage?
An interesting article by John Allemang in The Globe and Mail referred to a survey that showed Ontario’s and other provinces’ preferred name for "a small house in the countryside, often by a lake, where people go on summer weekends." Whatever you call this kind of summer home, there is one place in Ontario that could be considered the home of summer homes.
This place is none other than the District of Muskoka. From a glance, the “Muskokas” feature some of Canada’s best “cottage” country.
While neither of us owns a cottage in the Muskokas, we did our best to experience the area’s famed cottage country life over a three-day trip in August.
It started with a Saturday morning drive to Gravenhurst, where we stopped for a round of golf at none other than Muskoka Bay, rated by Golf Digest as one of the top-ten courses in Canada.
The beautiful design and pristine conditions captured the essence of Muskoka perfectly. Several of the holes featured spectacular views and the entire course had a picturesque feel to it. We can only imagine what a round here is like surrounded by fall colours.
On the topic of golf, we simply couldn’t write this blog without mentioning just how big a golfer’s paradise the entire region is. Courses such as Windermere Golf & Country Club, Deerhurst Highlands, Rocky Crest and Bigwin Island encompass what the Muskokas are known for: lakes, rocky outcrops and heavy forest. Next time we are in the area, we hope to take the boat across the Lake of Bays to Bigwin Island and experience that course in peak summer conditions.
We ended the first day of our trip in Huntsville, where we each enjoyed a “Docks Chicken Club” at the On the Docks Pub. Watching the sun set over the Muskoka River while enjoying a delicious meal made for a perfect ending to the first day.
We started our second day with a trip to Bala to visit Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery, which is part of Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh. Here we sampled a number of wines and cheeses before leaving with a package of their delicious “Cliff Jump Cranberry Cider”, a cider named for the many granite cliffs along the lakes throughout the area. Wine connoisseurs should try the “Bog to Bottle Tour” for a guided walking tour of the area.
Our next stop was in Bracebridge, where we visited Muskoka Brewery for an afternoon beer on the patio. The extensive menu and the unique names of the brews made us want to try them all. We decided we couldn’t go wrong with a mix of light and bold, so we each tried a “Tread Lightly” and a “Mad Tom.” We can honestly say these were some of the best craft brews we ever tried.
We began our third and final day by heading north to the town of Rosseau. We ventured into the famous Rosseau General Store where we purchased some bread, apple pie and butter tarts to bring home.
We decided the most appropriate way to end our trip would be to spend an afternoon at Lake Rosseau, one of Muskoka’s three big lakes (the other two are Lake Joseph and Lake Muskoka). The Rosseau Waterfront Park was the perfect stop for a swim and to get our daily dose of Vitamin D. Before leaving Rosseau, we stopped for an early supper at Crossroads Restaurant, where we enjoyed Caprese Ravioli and Georgian Bay Pickerel from the chef’s seasonally inspired menu.
The Muskokas’ tagline is “once discovered, never forgotten” and it couldn’t be more fitting as our time spent here led us to one conclusion – that a second weekend here is in order.