From Robbins’ Tuktawayin B&B
Muskoka Events this Week
To Jul 6- Chapel Gallery–15 King St Bracebridge
Forest Dwellers – Bonnie Bews & Naomi Brinkhof – Tue-Sat 10a-1p & 2-5p
Thur 7p-8:30p – Bandshell Concerts at Memorial Park Bracebridge
Jun 20 – Jam Sandwich
Rene Caisse Theatre – Bracebridge – 1-877-645-8440 – www.thecaisse.com
Jun 21 – 8p/$20 – The Barrelhouse Poets – popular songs with twists
Jun 22-23 – Toronto Outboard Racing Club Races
Gull Lake Park, Gravenhurst 10a-5p $donation
Peter’s Players – 830 Muskoka Rd S – 705-687-2117 – www.petersplayers.com
Jun 22 – Ike Stubblefield – 8p/$75 – blues
Jun 23 – Garden Party Strawberry Social – 2pm
Gatsby Theme Fascinators and Straw Hats, Entertainment by Sound Bite, Lawn Games, Silent Auction. Fundraiser forwww.newact.ca
Sundays 7:30p – Music on the Barge – Gull Lake – Gravenhurst
Jun 23 – Muskoka Concert Band musiconthebarge.webs.com
Segwun and Wenonah, our resident iconic Muskoka symbols, are all set to ply the three big Muskoka Lakes for the summer season. While there have been a few cruises already, such as the Peter’s Players Blues Cruise, the full spring sailing schedule will be implemented this coming weekend. There will be the full daily roster of sailings on Saturday, and Sunday will feature the annual Father’s Day Cruise. Check out the full schedule at www.realmuskoka.com/muskoka-steamships/cruises.
Tours include 1 and 2 hour, luncheon and Millionaire’s Row and sunset cruises with a variety of specialty cruises offered on a regular basis. For younger sailors there is a Noah’s Ark Cruise on Wednesday mornings and the now famous Pirate Cruise on Sunday mornings throughout the summer.
The “ladies” have a jam packed summer roster and the regular cruise schedule may be changed to accommodate private functions so reservation are highly recommended. Call 705-687-6667 or 1-866-687-6667 to reserve your spot. Don’t be disappointed
This Saturday, June 15 Gull Lake Rotary Park in Gravenhurst is the place to be. The 20th Annual Antique and Classic Car Show, sponsored by Canadian Tire, will run all day from 9 a.m. and enthusiasts will be entertained by award winning Canadian country singer Terri Clark at 7p.m. Over 500 vehicles are expected including modified, antique and classic, race, drag, trucks and motorbikes. There will be free giveaways and prizes and a pulled pork lunch or dinner will be for sale on site. There is something for everyone including a whole playground and park for the kids to play in. All this for $5. Children under 12 are free. Check it out at http://gravenhurstchamber.com/special-events/gravenhurst-classic-car-show.
Do you remember what it was like waiting for Christmas to arrive when you were a kid? Perhaps recalling these memories floods you with a warm, fuzzy feeling or brings a smile to your face. The same things happen to thousands of people who have Muskoka in their blood. While it is a geographical location on a map it is also a world renowned playground and paradise. And it is the water that brings everything and everyone together.
Victoria Day Weekend, May 17-20, 2013, is only a few sleeps away. For those who grew up at cottages here the anticipation of going north to “open the cottage” on the first long weekend of summer is a distinct memory; one that swirls around in your head with images of packing and unpacking the family car, getting the cottage opened up, plumbing functioning, boats in the water, property cleaned up, dock furniture out and barbecues fired up. And while all that was going on kids were begging for the first boat ride, fishing trip or daring swim in the lake. Although the activites might vary, the anticipation of, workload and family time together are all very similar to Christmas in many homes.
This year Muskoka has just gone through one of the biggest floods in a century and for some the results were devastating. For lakes and rivers that are part of the Muskoka River watershed it was a frightening time as many watched helplessly as water levels rose. We had a displaced family who lives on the Muskoka River east of Bracebridge here with us for about 10 days. Many of the lakes are still very high although docks are finally appearing after being completely submerged. Roads collapsed in some places, others flooded. Docks were displaced from their cribs or mooring points. On the Muskoka River I saw staircases leading down to docks, still attached to those docks, floating down the river. The lumber yard at the south end of the main street in Bracebridge, on the shore of the river, was trying to rescue it’s inventory as it was carried away by the floodwaters.
We remained high and dry here at Tuktawayin for 2 reasons. We are elevated and Gull Lake is not fed directly by the Muskoka River. Gull Lake does drain into Lake Muskoka so our normal spring high water level was just an additional outlet into the big lake and one Lake Muskoka could have done without.
Levels are receding and the cleanup is well underway and Muskoka will, as usual, be ready to welcome seasonal visitors on the May long weekend, just a few sleeps from now.
World famous golf clubs like Taboo and Muskoka Bay Club will be open. Marinas throughout the district are ready for business. The Gravenhurst Opera House, the matriarch of Muskoka Theatres, has a full season of live entertainment lined up including a new added feature of afternoon matinees throughout July and August. Check it out at www.gravenhurstoperahouse.ca.
Speaking of theatres, Gravenhurst boasts 2 unique music venues. Peter’s Players, an intimate 88 seat music hall “puts music lovers within arms reach of music legends”. The other unique Gravenhurst music venue is Music on the Barge. It stands right here in Gull Lake as the perfect Sunday night stage. Locals often drift offshore in canoes, kayaks and pontoon boats. For those of us who live nearby, like us, the music can be heard from the dock, but it is best enjoyed from within Gull Lake Rotary Park.
While I’m talking about entertainment on the water I must also mention all the wonderful paddling experiences here in the Muskoka. After all we are a district of waterways. For those just wanting to explore a little bit you can rent canoes or kayaks at Paddle Shack and Swift Canoe, both just south of Gravenhurst on Highway 11. Here at Tuktawayin we have a canoe and the necessary safety equipment available for our guests. On a warm, quiet day exploring by paddleboat is a lovely way to discover the essence of Muskoka.
Cyclists can peddle to their heart’s content either on or off road. When in Gravenhurst visit The Bike Shop to get your copy of the Gravenhurst and Muskoka Cycling Route Map.
Walkers and hikers can march to their own beat on numerous local urban and off road trails. If time permits here at the bed and breakfast I will gladly guide you on an hour long mixed (both trail and road) hike.
And I haven’t even mentioned the world famous Bethune House National Historic Site or the Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre, aka Grace and Speed or our wold famous steamboats, the three star attractions that attract visitors to Gravenhurst by the busload. That will have to wait for another day.
It seems like just a couple of weeks ago that I was praying for spring temperatures to arrive so they would melt away the last of the snow. In actuality it was likely a month ago, and then the record setting spring flood happened here in Muskoka. The newspapers have been full of flood related stories and pictures for two weeks. And while many thought the worst was over in just under a week there are others who are just trying to return to their homes now. The last few days of hot summer-like temperatures have assisted with the drying up process not to mention lifting the hopes and spirits of many in Muskoka, Haliburton and the Kawartha Lakes; all are key cottage areas in Central Ontario. The picture shown here was taken on April 28, 2013. I was standing beside a pontoon boat and 2 canoes which were floating basically where the cottage owner had left them on dry land in October when they closed the cottage.
It’s May 4th today and the hot sun is beating down on us for the 4th or 5th day in a row which is something else we anxiously awaited. Boats are appearing on the lakes with more regularity, albeit many of them will be own by contractors who are working on island properties. Others have taken their first dip in the lake. Some will call it swimming but in all likelihood they got out of the water as fast as they got in. I only managed to dip my foot into the deep water off the dock and I thought that was heart stopping.
I’ve been out in the kayak twice this past week and posted a couple of pictures on Facebook. For those of you who aren’t on FB I can tell you the highlights were discovering an orphaned red canoe that was somehow moved into position to form most of a dam and the beavers have begun to place debris behind it. The other highlight was coming across one of my favourites, a Great Blue Heron, and I managed to photograph him in several poses including take-off.
Now that winter seems to finally be here in Muskoka we have enjoyed some picture perfect days. Early this week we experienced some extremely cold temperatures but now the deep freeze seems to have passed, allowing me to get out and comfortably enjoy wandering through local cottage country forests via snowshoe. The joy of winter here is that you can explore areas that are not easily accessible unless frozen.
Yesterday I got out snowshoeing near Hardy Lake Provincial Park, across the highway actually in an area I refer to as South Hardy. I hadn’t been in there in a couple of years and it didn’t disappoint me. Nobody had been in there yet this winter and I’m happy to say then whenever I have explored those forests and lakes I have always been the only one in there, with the exception of friends and guests who accompany me of course.
The temperature was perfect yesterday, the sun was out, and I soon came across one of my favourite spots, an old trapper cabin, not far off the highway, on a gentle rise of land in a forest between two small bodies of water. When I first discovered it 6 or 7 years ago you could still open the door and peak inside. Now the door won’t open. It appears that some firewood has fallen behind the door. Nevertheless it is a photographic treasure as you can see.
Winter 2013 is finally here to stay in Muskoka. Small lakes have frozen over and the larger lakes are in the process of becoming solid. Outdoor skating rinks are opening as are cross country ski trails. I skied at the Bracebridge Resource Managment Centre today just to check out their conditions and I found their groomed trails to be very good. For those who prefer backcountry skiing and snowshoeing as I do, I can tell you I have been out in the bush on both snowshoes and skis here in Gravenhurst over the past few days and the snow coverage was sufficient to have a great ski. Obviously, more snow will make it even better.
I also spent some time at Arrowhead Park on New Year’s Eve afternoon. They were very busy with skiers, snowshoers and skaters. I was there to skate on their newly expanded skating path which winds it’s way through a couple of big loops of the campground roads. The loop that has been added this year is many times longer than the one they had last year and both are “Zamboni” maintained. There is a fire going and several picnic tables set up at the junction of the two trails. If you like skating but don’t like going around in circles then this is the place to go.
While we don’t have this depth of snow yet here at Tuktawayin here is a sneak peak at what it does look like when winter really gets rolling.
If a winter weekend getaway is in your plans and the idea of staying in a lakefront home suits you then check us out here at Tuktawayin B&B. We would be delighted to introduce you to Muskoka in winter.
Waterfront homes and cottages all over Muskoka are being readied for the coming winter season and it’s no different here at Tuktawayin. The gardens we enjoyed all summer are nearing the end of their cycle. Only the Mums, Asters and Japanese Toad Lilies are still in bloom. In fact this is the season for the Toad Lilies. When everything else is ready to be cut down and raked off it’s just coming into bloom.
I love all 4 seasons here in Muskoka, so as much as I don’t like seeing the colourful summer garden come to an end, I do enjoy the leaf litter covering the ground and the leaves that are still left carefully clinging to branches. Most of the vibrant red maple leaves have floated to earth but we still have quite a bit of orange and yellow painting our landscape and mirrored in the lakes and ponds.
A recent hike in Hardy Lake Provincial Park, about 15 minutes outside of Gravenhurst toward Bala, showed a stunning display of colour in one of my favourite places, a spot I affectionately call “Sarah’s Pond”, named after a young friend of mine who made it just this far the first time she was on the Hardy Lake Trail.
Throughout cottage country docks are being pulled up, set free of ramps, anchored to the bottom or pulled to shore. For others, bubbler systems to keep docks surrounded by water instead of ice, are being prepared for the winter season. At the same time cottages that don’t get used during the winter are being winterized. Water lines are getting drained, fixtures and appliances inside are prepared with anti-freeze and water pumps are being pulled out of the water. This whole procedure gets reversed in about 6 months. For those waterfront dwellers who use their cottages and homes throughout the winter, snowmobiles and snow blowers are readied for the cold weather.
Even though this “changing of the guard” is taking place right now there is still plenty to enjoy here in Muskoka. Shops and restaurants remain open as do our concert halls. Urban hiking trails give you a safe taste of the backcountry during hunting season. Provincial and National Parks like Hardy Lake, Arrowhead and Algonquin provide longer distance hiking opportunities in a “no hunting” zone.
So if a weekend away before the busy Christmas season is on your “to do” list give us a call or send us an email. Find another couple or some friends and bring your own party to Tuktawayin. Let us know what you want to do while you’re here and we will do our very best to make your wishes come true.
Rarely do I recall a Muskoka summer with so many days of unrelenting sunshine and heat. As a child at a Lake Muskoka summer cottage I have wonderful memories of hours of fun in the water, picking berries, rowing my boat, attending parties and regattas….and the list goes on. Part of that list would also include rainy days of reading Nancy Drew mysteries and playing cards and board games. That hasn’t happened in July 2012. Perhaps August will bring us some much needed waterworks. It would certainly give the sprinklers and water pump a break.
For guests here at Tuktawayin being able to cool off in the lake at the end of a day of touring has been a much appreciated break. For others, an early morning swim and coffee on the dock in the quiet that is common at that time of day has been the perfect way to start their day.
We were fortunate to have some paddling guests here at the beginning of July. They brought their kayaks and enjoyed paddling on different Muskoka lakes, as well as here on Gull Lake. One evening, while we were experiencing a full moon, we went out for a paddle on the lake by the light of the moon….and yes we had headlamps with us. It created a lovely Muskoka memory for all of us.
So far we have had the crowd pleasing annual Antique and Classic Boat and Ribfest along with the in-water boat and cottage show. Gravenhurst, and Rotary Gull Lake Park and the waterfront there, hosted the premier Make a Splash event. This opportunity provided all who attended with the chance to try rowing, stand up paddleboards and paddling a dragonboat, just to mention of few the activities that were available throughout the whole day. There were also main street activities for families to enjoy.
We have had several groups of guests staying with us while attending a various weddings, 2 of which either had the ceremony on the Segwun or a 1 hour cruise for the weddings guests following the ceremony. On one occasion wedding guests who were staying here managed to come back here to Tuktawayin to relax in the Muskoka Room with a glass of wine while the wedding party endured their photo session.
Whether you’re an athlete, a tourist, a wedding guest or just someone seeking a couple of days away, Tuktawayin can be your home away from home.
…to plan your Muskoka summer getaway. The summer of 2012 marks the 125th anniversary of the Royal Mail Ship Segwun, the oldest operating steamship in North America. It’s home port is Gravenhurst, Ontario, gateway to Ontario cottage country…Muskoka. Summer in Muskoka means time relaxing and playing by or on the water. Visitors who don’t have their own boats often get “on the water” by way of one of the Muskoka Steamships, the Segwun or the Wenonah II. Check out the sailing schedule at www.realmuskoka.com or call 1-866-687-6667.
Others choose to stay closer to shore or on the dock and are quite content to indulge in an early morning coffee on the dock with a view of a serene lake such as Gull Lake, home of Tuktawayin.
This photo was taken on a June morning while I was out for a pre-breakfast paddle from Tuktawayin. This is available for all our bed and breakfast guests who are comfortable in a canoe. Ours is available for guests to use.
Landlubbers can still enjoy similar idyllic scenery from the dock at Tuktawayin or even from the vantage point of the glassed in Muskoka Room overlooking the lake.
Water babies will love an early morning dip while there is virtually no boat traffic.
As the summer solstice nears our availability calendar is filling up quickly. We still have some mid-week availability in July, one 2 night weekend in the Garden Room and one single night on July 20 in the Lakeside Room. See the calendar by clicking on the availability tab on the navigation bar at the top of a page.
We hope to see you soon.
An early morning sunrise viewed from Tuktawayin is a sight to behold. You might be curled up in your pj’s in the Muskoka Room, doing the crossword puzzle at the breakfast table or lounging on the dock. No matter…the view is the same.
It’s a special time of the day when you rarely encounter anyone else and you feel like the whole world is yours. You can’t help but connect with the earth and be grateful for so many things.
For me this beautiful, wondrous sight is usually what instills in me the need to get onto the water, where I love to start to my day if the conditions are right, such as they were the day I took this photo late in May. When I see this from my bedroom window I know the conditions are perfect for rowing and I quickly get my act together and get down to the dock with my oars. Getting out on to the water is for me, excuse the pun, very grounding. My whole body sighs with gratitude as I take those first few strokes with the oars. I feel the same thing when I step off a road and onto a trail while hiking or walking. It’s like entering another world, a dream world. No traffic or noise. Just complete simplicity. Me and the water or me and the earth.
You too can enjoy this from Tuktawayin. If you are a paddler you can take out the canoe and explore Gull Lake. Paddle across the lake to where it flows out of Gull Lake on its path to Lake Muskoka. This is not a navigable waterway but there is a wonderful bay well worth “putzing” around. You might spot the local otter, scare up a beaver, startle a few turtles off their logs or see a Great Blue Heron on an early morning fishing expedition. There is a family ducks and two families of Canada Geese, all with babies at this time of year of course, cruising the lake every day.
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Once Discovered, Never ForgottenWhile this is the slogan for the District of Muskoka and should be attributed to it, we couldn't find a better way of saying the same thing.
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