Northern Get-A-Way to Parry Sound - Sisters' Vacation
September 13 -15, 2016
This is a guest post by Joyce Stankiewicz, who always creates stories describing her travels and agreed to share this one with our blog readers.
Sister Lois and I have not been away overnight for a couple of years – last year, it was day trips as we were both so busy.
This year we decided to explore more of our north country and took the scenic route to our destination of Parry Sound. Lois drove and I navigated – it worked well.
As we neared our destination, we saw various sizes of Inuksuk placed on the rocks beside the highway. They are Inuit Cultural landmarks which tell the direction for travelers.
Since it was too early to check in to our unique bed and breakfast - 40 Bay Street Bed & Breakfast -we drove around, ate the best pickerel bits and calamari at Trappers’ Choice Restaurant which was recommended from staff at the dock when we picked up our tickets for the Island Queen cruise the next day.
We also found Tower Hill, overlooking the bay. Even though my sciatica was acting up, we climbed 108 steps to the top for a panoramic view of the town and harbor.
We met our ‘house mother’ for the next two days – Susan Poole- a caring and friendly host who made us immediately feel at home. Lois had chosen the front bedroom, in advance, so we had a view of the harbor. After we settled in to the bright and comfortable room with flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi and AC, we set out to explore the surrounding area. The cross country train passed overhead quite often but we found it soothing and it lulled us to sleep at night.
First on our list was the Bobby Orr Museum which houses his career highlights with lots of memorabilia. Some of his siblings still live in Parry Sound and he returns for visits from his home in Boston. He has contributed generously to his home town over the years.
“Bistro by the Bay” was our supper destination both evenings. It was a couple of buildings from our Bed & Breakfast. The menu was extensive and tempting – Pickerel and sweet potato fries with curry dipping sauce, Caesar salad, sharing a rack of lamb, and ending with crème brulée – all very tasty.
Breakfast each morning at Susan’s was gourmet – fruit, yogurt, omelets – with herbs cut fresh from her garden - home-made bread, bacon & eggs or French toast with local maple syrup, and the most delicious coffee. She joined us for coffee and a chat about her background, the area and interesting tidbits about the house – part of which was built in the mid – 1800’s. The part we slept in had been added and the decor was tastefully done. We felt like we were visiting with our favorite aunt and would like to return for another visit someday – although she has the facility up for sale and hopes to travel with her sister when she gets the time.
Two other couples from England joined us at the B & B on Wednesday night so Thursday morning breakfast provided some lively conversation about the differences between Britain and the ‘colony’. They were travelling extensively in Canada and it was interesting to hear comparisons from both perspectives.
Lois had booked advance tickets on the Island Queen, for the 30,000 Island tour, so we climbed aboard on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. with a busload of travelers with “Great Canadian Tours” – didn’t recognize anyone though. It is amazing the amount of water, rock, bush and cottages tucked into the trees, accessible only by boat or plane. The sporadic commentary helped to explain the area and the history – we do have a picturesque north country. As we left the harbor and looked back, it was noted that the US Coast Guard Station there is the only one on Lake Superior and Lake Huron.
Thursday morning, after a shower, breakfast and packing, we bade a sad farewell to Susan and the house guests and started on our scenic journey home. We purposely took the secondary highways through Port Carling, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst – following the water and the forests. We stopped for dinner at Mrs. Mitchell’s in Violet Hill, north east of Shelburne, for a delicious meal. The restaurant is a converted heritage school house which also has a gift shop across the lawn. We shared a shrimp curry dish and still brought home enough for Bill the next day. We couldn’t resist the crème brulée there either.
After a sleep in our own beds, we topped off our excursion the next day with a trip to ‘The Walters Dinner Theatre’ near Bright, to enjoy a rolled-rib dinner and the neatest entertainers called “The Piano Men” – who regaled us with music from artists and “sit-com” theme songs from the 1970’s – Billy Joel, Elton John, Berry Manilow plus impersonating Theme songs from the shows of the era. The lead, Bill Witter (a Hamilton Lad) could authentically imitate each singer and played the keyboard and harmonica to perfection. It was one of the best shows I’ve seen there and I hope they come back again.
What a special time with my favorite sister – we do know how to have fun and we not only have a past together but, hopefully a lot of future was well.