Oct 162014
 

Book Club “Retreat” at Limberlost Forest Reserve

A couple of weekends ago, Mr. Nice and I headed a few hours north of Toronto to  Muskoka “Cottage Country” to spend time with our book club friends.  I think you will love my photos of the amazing place where we stayed.  It is an idyllic location every autumn lover would dream of.

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Autumn in Muskoka, Ontario

Here in Toronto, the autumn colours are showing their loveliness.  But north of the city, in “cottage country”,  the fall colours have been spectacular since late September.  Friends in our book club rent a cottage / lodge every year the weekend before the Canadian Thanksgiving at the Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve near the lovely town of Huntsville, Ontario.   This 3000 square foot lodge is a very spacious with SEVEN bedrooms and is on Buck Lake!  Buck Lake Lodge is the ONLY cottage on the lake.  Needless to say, the location is spectacular.

(BTW: NO affiliation)

The Good Friday Book Club is comprised of 4 married couples and 3 ladies whose husbands don’t care to participate. So seven bedrooms was just perfect.  The common area is large and spacious and the kitchen is well equipped which is important to this group of literary “foodies”.

The Lodge

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Common area: There is nothing fancy making it oh so homey.

The decor has some very cool lamps made of birch logs and an elk head on the wall.

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One of the fun birch log lamps

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The smiling elk can be a bit creepy

In the common area the dining table is so PERFECT!  And so is the view!

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Don’t you just love this table!

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The pictures are not magazine worthy but there were 11 of us!

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The view from the interior upper balcony. So nice to wake up to!

 

Let’s get outside!

book club retreat limberlost

The main entrance is on the level of the deck. Below the main floor is a sauna and 3 bedrooms as well as an exit outside to the lake.

 Can you spot Chester, my fur baby, and his little nose between the rails, wondering what I am doing?

Around Buck Lake

There is a trail in the woods, near the lake’s edge encompassing the lake.

No more words are needed.

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Winter is coming

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Mirrored silence

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Golden splendor

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Courageous fern

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Morning Mist

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Autumn glory

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Nature’s Mirror

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Alone in the woods

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Brillance at every turn

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View from a lookout close to the lodge

By the way, we really did have a book club meeting and the book we discussed was Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.  In this first book of her trilogy, the world she writes about is as far away from this idyllic setting you could possibly get!

book club retreat limberlost
Oryx & Crake by Margaret Atwood

I hope you enjoyed your visit to Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve and the sampling of photos I have shared.

 

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Joan

Nov 042013
 

Mr. Nice and I have a time-share through Club Intrawast but sadly, for the last couple of years we have not been able to use all our time allotment.   This year as our deadline approached, we offered up our time to our friends but in the end, we were still going to lose a few days.  At the last minute, I TOLD Mr. Nice who is also Mr. Busy, we were going to spend 5 days at the Club Intrawest property in Sandestin, Florida … so get packing!

We hadn’t been to Florida in years and when we did go, we were visiting Disney World with our daughter.  We didn’t know much about this part of Florida.  All we needed to know was there was GOLF!  and we hoped the weather would be warm enough for sitting by the pool and or the beach.

We were so pleasantly surprised!  We LOVED this area and hope to go back many more times!

First of all, the end of October is between busy seasons so it was not crowded at all.

Secondly, we were blessed with PERFECT weather!

Lastly and best of all, we could not get over the WHITE SAND on the beaches!
To us Canadians, it looked like snow!

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When I say it wasn’t busy, I wasn’t kidding!
This is the beach near Seaside.

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These darling little sandpipers kept us company and amused.
They’re so quick and cute!

The golf courses were also not busy and by shopping around on the net, we found fabulous deals on green fees.  BONUS!
We played  four rounds in total and usually around 7:45 and each time, we were the first or one of the first groups to go out.
So these beautiful courses were essentially EMPTY!
I felt like Donald Trump!

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Beautiful, graceful egrets;

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The Raven Golf club was one of our favourites and we played it twice.
There were beautiful ornamental grasses with reddish plumes. Gorgeous.
This egret seemed to be showing off for us.

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The view of the bay and Choctawhatchee Mid-Bay Bridge from Emerald Bay Golf Club in Destin.
The Bridge is a 141-span, 3.6 mile (5.8 km) bridge connecting the mainland to the Destin beaches.

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All the Golf courses had beautiful homes surrounding them. Imagine living on a golf course and a bay like this!

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Looking the opposite way from the bridge.

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Enough touristy stuff! Get back to playing! Mr. Nice teeing off.

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The Links Golf Club has water on almost every hole making it very pretty and not mention, difficult!

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I wonder how long it will take this guy to cross the fairway and reach the water?

Our golf games were finished in two hours so we were home for lunch and had the rest of the days ahead of us.  We checked out the beaches, hung out at the pool, browsed some funky shops in nearby Seaside and of course hit the outlet mall like all good Canadian tourists!

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How inviting is this? Nap anyone?

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Don’t you just hate it when all the lounge chairs are taken?

The nearby town of Seaside had a number of fun shops to browse around.  Sadly, the items I liked were a bit to big and bulky to take home on the plane. The little town is very funky and artsy and it was obvious it must be packed in high season.  There were so many places right on the Gulf.  All that white sand.  Heaven!

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Cute little post office on the main street.
(Why is that pole right in the middle of my picture??)

In the heart of the town are a line of small Vintage Airstream trailers lined up, side by side.  In Seaside’s early days, many of the owners building homes stayed in Airstream trailers—“land yachts”—awaiting completion.  Now, they house independent food vendors.  The  food aromas were enticing!

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Airstream food vendors.

There were so many cute shops and art galleries to browse through.  I particularly liked Amore By The Sea which offered a collection of funky art, unique home accent treasures from around the world, reclaimed wood furniture, jewelry and more.  I snapped a few pics but if you want to see more items, I’ve added the link to their website above.

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I loved these unusual glass and wood / root sculptures. Sadly too bulky to take home on the plane.

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Fabulous carved bowls and unique sculptures.

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Isn’t he a cutey?

On our last full day, just as we were finishing our golf game a the Links, it started to pour.  PERFECT!  Off to the Outlet Mall!  Mr. Nice went a bit crazy and came home with 3 pairs of shoes, 4 golf shirts, 4 sports shirts, 1 dress shirt, 2 pairs of shorts, 2 caps, and God knows what else.  Needless to say, it was not a shopping day for me!

I wish I had more pictures to share!  Maybe that’s a sign I was having a REALLY GOOD TIME!

We can’t wait to visit the Florida Panhandle again!

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Jul 272013
 

So I decided to start a blog on the eve of our family vacations.  Yep plural! A bit about vacation numero uno…

Every year for the past 12 years, we head up to the Northern Ontario cottage country known as “Muskoka”.  We stay at an old lodge / resort called Cleveland’s House.  The best way to describe it is a camp for families, young and old.

muskoka-chairs

Canadian’s call those chairs “Muskoka Chairs”. Our southerly neighbours have a similar type they call “Adirondack Chairs”. Who cares, they’re comfy!

What is cool about this place is most families go the same week every year and stay in the same lodgings if they want or ask to upgrade.  You pre-pay and get three great meals a day (NO COOKING !!!) and we sit in the same table every meal.  Honestly, every year when we arrive we always comment that we feel like we were there yesterday.  It’s so fun to see the same families and get caught up and marvel at how big the children are getting and moan about how old we’re getting 😉

The first year, we met a family with two girls close to my daughter’s age and with the same interest:  competitive dance.  We all became fast friends.  The second year, we joined tables tin the dining room to get the girls to sit down as well as to stop us disturbing neighbours by talking across the room LOL.

This beautiful, historic building is the main lodge and dining room. Beautiful gardens too.

My hubbie and I spend our day time golfing 9 holes and playing tennis.  Or biking and swimming.  Or getting a massage or canoeing.   There’s even live evening entertainment.  The resort is rustic and lovely … not quite Dirty Dancing but a bit like it.  Our accommodations overlook the guest boat dock from which we swim out to “the rock”, a submerged boulder about 50 yards out.

Cottage life without the work!

Time to pack.

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