Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Life in the Muskokas

Simcoe Shores ended with a nap.  We were pretty exhausted but happy with having conquered the race.  We crawled back to the chalet on Sunday afternoon and collapsed. We emerged from our beds a few hours later and headed out for an early dinner.

I compiled a slideshow of our race pics complete with corny music like Chariots of Fire, The Eye of the Tiger and Waving Flag and we watched and laughed as we drank our mojitos (courtesy of Kate and Carl).

Monday morning, Erika treated us to a delicious breakfast of homemade muffins and egg cups and then we packed up our cars and headed off to whatever was next.  Some people went back to Niagara, others spent the day at a spa.  Doug and I headed to Gravenhurst for a few days.  We were supposed to head back to Niagara but this extended vacation was a birthday gift for me and I was more than happy to pack some extra clothes, books and a bathing suit.  Off to the Muskokas we went!

Gravenhurst is a pretty interesting little town with some fascinating history and amazing food.  We started with the food and had lunch at the Blue Willow Tea Shop.  Sandwiches, pots of tea and butter tarts - all served on blue and white china with chinese-inspired designs including the little men going over the bridge.

After lunch, we explored the Grace and Speed Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre.  We learned all about steamships and were able to see some gorgeous antique wooden boats.  I had no idea that people had boats like that.  It's a whole other world up there in cottage country.

On Tuesday, we got up early for a 13k run that took us from our hotel, through the streets of Gravenhurst and out to the beach.  It was a tough run because everywhere we went there were rolling hills.  Thirteen kilometres of them makes for some angry shins and tired legs but we did it.  I kept my eyes peeled for bears but there were none to be spotted that morning.

After the run (and a shower of course), we headed to the wharf for another part of my birthday present.  A lunch cruise on The Royal Mail Ship Segwun - North America's oldest operating steamship.

It's a beautiful ship - lovingly restored.  Built in 1887, it used to sail the Muskoka lakes from early spring to late fall, carrying passengers, mail and freight to the resorts and villages not served by rail.  Now restored, it began its new career as a cruise ship in 1974

I learned a lot about steamships that day.  I learned that the Segwun is still run on coal and up to three tons a day are shovelled (by hand) to keep the fires going.  I learned that a steamship does not turn on a dime and is therefore pretty hard to take off course.

I also learned that the Segwun is one of the two ships used during the Gravenhurst triathlon.  Swimmers are taken out on the boat and get to jump off the side of the ship to start the race.  How very cool is that?

We spent a lovely afternoon cruising around Lake Muskoka, eating our chicken ceasar salad and oggling the ridiculously luxurious cottages and their equally luxurious boathouses (many of which are bigger than our house).

The day ended with another lesson about life in the Muskokas.

This float plane came roaring in to Gravenhurst.  It landed in the water and pulled up to the wharf.  Out hopped the pilot and he trotted in to Boston Pizza only to emerge a few minutes later with two pizza boxes.  Back in the plane and off he went, over the trees and home for dinner.

1 comment:

  1. Loving reading some uplifting posts from you again. Hope you had a good vacation, looks beautiful.