This coming October would be three years of my blog. In those three years I have often talked about my love of Algonquin Park. No matter how busy I get or how complicated things would be, I always made a point of de-cluttering my calendar and my treks to Algonquin took precedence. I have no idea why I feel compelled to keep on coming back. Each time I listened for when it beckons and I feel comforted when I visit.
For years now, I still find old and new things to do during our annual trips to Algonquin Park. Every year my friends and I spend three days and two nights at Muskoka, ON. We always stayed at Logging Chain Lodge as this place has such comfortable and affordable cottage rentals and just a short drive from Algonquin Park’s West Gate. Each year, we secure one specific cottage that has become so familiar. It literally felt like coming home.
This year around, I decided that to take Friday off to start driving early. I have been bitten by the antiquing bug lately and I promised myself I’d stop by those little antique shops by Hwy 11. Another new thing I did was make a big production of prepping beef stew dinner for my friends for Friday night. This gave me a perfect excuse to also indulge in another addiction which was baking. The surprise in my friend’s face was so priceless, it made all the toiling over the fondant icing all worth it.
Just like most years, Mother Nature opened up the heavens and gave us real pouring of rain. It rained so much, I cannot even hide under the canopy of the beautiful trees. There was no escaping the splash of the rain that Saturday. Despite this misfortune, I still enjoyed the pitter patter of the rain. The gray skies seemed to make the red and the oranges more vivid. As going through the trails was impractical, we opted to loiter through the streets of Huntsville, checking out the small shops by the Main Street. Our most favorite stop was The Nutty Chocolatier and I walked out with a big slab of fudge and a bag of peanut brittle. Later on, we went to the park to visit the Algonquin Art Centre, Visitor Centre and the Portage Store by Canoe Lake. Not my usual Algonquin agenda indeed but it doesn’t really matter. I was at one of my most favorite places on earth and with the company of good friends, I know how good I have it going.
The following day, Mother Nature was in a better mood, rewarding me of a sun peeking through wispy, cottony clouds. As I randomly chose a road to do my early drives, I found myself by the Dorset Scenic Tower gates. It was unfortunate that they open later in the day. I was hoping for a grand vista view but 7am was just too early. That disappointment was immediately forgotten when I saw signs of the proximity of Dorset’s Main Street. I impulsively started driving that direction and I was surprised at the charm of a small sleepy town that greeted me. With a prominent museum, general store, family restaurant and an ice cream store by the board walk, it was one of those charming towns where you want to spend the day going in and out finding more and more gems along the way. I have to remember this little town and make it a priority for next year. I sure want to get to know Dorset, Ontario.
After a real leisurely pace over breakfast, we finally did our last important stop. That is, grabbing baked favorites off Henrietta’s Bakery. It has been tradition that I indulge on those fluffy Muskoka Clouds. On the way back to Toronto, I made one last stop by a big red barn that also sold antiques. Scouring through treasures of the past, I finally got rewarded with handsome boards that I could use for my photo shoots. Going through piles of knick knacks can give you such an appetite. Good thing that on this year Momma J’s food truck took residence next to the antique store. After checking their menu, I thought fish and chips would be a good idea. Getting it fresh and piping hot, the meal definitely hit the right spot.