#DiscoverON: Your perfect weekend escape to the Canadian Cottage.

“And on the weekend, also because it’s Thanksgiving, we’ll take you up to the cottage … You’ve been to a typical Canadian cottage? No!? Oh, you’ll just love it up there. The Georgian Bay area is very beautiful … Sean’s mum will be delighted to meet you!”

You know you are in the luck when a Canadian suggests you join them to “the cottage”. In our case, Sean, Natalie and their wonderful little son Hudson have decided to take us out to meet Sean’s mum, who lives in a typical, beautiful Canadian countryside house. I have met Natalie back in my home country Austria before, but have never been around her home, the Greater Toronto area. After food-touring Canada’s largest city, the young family picks us up at the train station and casually drives us north for what is a good two-and-a-half, three hour drive: Nothing much for Canadian standards, we learn, where driving distances are either stretched by the immense expanse of the country and / or the odd traffic jam itself.

 

“So where are we exactly?”

A good question from the backseat of our friends’ car against the deepening darkness around. Both the changing colours of the leaves outside as well as the early sunset hour mark the transition from summer to autumn, but the air is still surprisingly warm for the season. “Port Severn“, Sean calls from the front seat, with Hudson happily babbling away in the middle of Daddy’s van. “We’re almost there. Tomorrow morning, we’ll take you out for a boat ride after breakfast. That will give you a good overview of the area ..” – “Oh, it’s so beautiful, especially right now”, Natalie adds with warmth in her voice. “So beautiful, eh buddy? Little Hudsy boy ..?”

🙂

 

Port Severn, or Six Mile Lake, is where the family cottage of “our Canadians” is located. From Toronto, it is easy to choose among a myriad of options for getting out into the countryside. If unlike us you don’t know anyone local, try popular platforms such as AirBnB that will give you a range of options for planning your perfect weekend escape.

Out and about our beautiful family home for the weekend ...

Out and about, visiting our beautiful family home for the weekend in Ontario’s Georgian Bay area …

 

... where we are able to relax ...

… we are able to relax and spend some good quality time with our friends together …

 

... go for a walk ...

… go for a walk …

 

... or even an early morning boat ride ...

… or an early morning boat ride …

 

.... let's go, Daddy, yes?! ...

…. let’s go, Daddy, yes?! …

 

... is just what you do out here.

… it seems to be just what you do out here.

 

Some, of course, do it all the way in style, having their private little float plane parked in the "water yard" ..!

Some, of course, do it all the way in style, having their private little float plane parked in the “water yard” ….

 

... and / or using a system of widespread, cleverly engineered locks to move from lake to lake, and river to river ...

… and / or using a system of widespread, cleverly engineered locks to move from lake to lake, and river to river …

 

... water, and boating, really is everything out here in this beautiful, rural area of Ontario.

… water, and boating, really is everything out here in this beautiful, rural area of Ontario.

 

Where to go once you are in the Georgian Bay area: We really enjoyed our trip with the Lake Muskoka Steamship as well as a visit to Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh & Muskoka Lakes Winery!

Wine. Again, of course. My #winelover friends, after talking about my visits to both the Okanagan as well as Niagara Falls Canadian wine regions, will be smiling right now. But of course, this one is different, as it is rather sweet cranberry wine we are talking about. The “Cranberry Marsh” moreover gives you a good idea about cranberry farming, an experience I connect to my former Thanksgiving cooking course in New York, making cranberry sauce together with our main meals there.

Arriving at Johnston's Cranberry Marsh & Lake Muskoka Winery ...

Arriving at Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh & Muskoka Lakes Winery …

 

... we stroll around the area ...

… we stroll around the little market area …

 

... have our tasting experience of course ...

… have our tasting experience of course …

 

... and go for a ride with the tractor, teaching us more about the way cranberry fields are farmed and harvested.

… and go for a ride with the tractor, teaching us more about the way cranberry fields are farmed and harvested.

 

Not too far away, you can also go on (another) lake cruise with the Muskoka Lake Steamship company, a boat tour that runs every one and a half hours during the season and starts at 10.00 in the morning. Our advice would be to choose the morning one, as we did, and have a brunch type little lunch at the nearby “Blue Willows” café : A cute, English-style café with delicious tea varieties, scones, sandwiches and salads to choose from.

All aboard the Muskoka Lake Steamship, please!

All aboard the Muskoka Lake Steamship, please! …

 

... a lovely one-hour morning cruise ...

… for a lovely one-hour morning cruise …

 

... past beautiful mansions such as this one ...

… past beautiful lakeside mansions such as these ones …

 

... and back to the comfort of beautiful food and hot tea served to you near the port.

… and back to the comfort of beautiful food and hot tea served to you …

 

... right near where the steam boat departs from in the harbour.

… right near where the steam boat departs from in the harbour.

 

If you have a little more time to spare, go visit the vintage boat museum nearby, too ...

If you have a little more time to spare, go visit the vintage boat museum nearby, too …

 

... a splendid collection of carefully maintained old boats that warm the heart of every #boatlover out here in this part of Georgian Bay, Ontario!

… a splendid collection of carefully maintained old boats that warm the heart of every #boatlover out here in this part of Georgian Bay, Ontario!

 

And then, the next morning, we simply were in the luck. Again.

I mean, what other way is there to describe the following moments and photographs? Yes, you may be just as lucky as us that morning, as the clear, crisp autumn air makes for gorgeous weather scenario on a typical fall day in rural Canada … What. A. Moment. Thank you Sean, Natalie, and Hudson, for taking us out !!! “Oh, I have to put the boat away for winter anyway …”, Sean casually adds, then breaks into one of his big smiles again. “Nah, come on! I do enjoy this just as much as you guys”, both him and Natalie seem to add in silence. Blessed we are, knowing these wonderful people around!

The night after our Thanksgiving dinner with the beautiful family ...

The night after our Thanksgiving dinner with the beautiful family …

 

... Sean takes us out on the lake once more, "having but to put the boat away for winter" ...

… Sean takes us out on the lake once more, “having but to put the boat away for winter” …

 

... but nonetheless giving all of us a wonderful "excuse" to witness nature's performance unfold in front of our sleepy morning eyes ...

… giving all of us a wonderful “excuse” to witness nature’s rather spectacular performance unfold in front of our sleepy morning eyes …

 

... nature, you most accomplished artist of all times ...

… nature, you most accomplished artist of all times …

 

... I just love each and every of your magic patterns, such as the lake creases gently caressing the surface here.

… I just love each and every of your magic patterns, such as the lake creases gently caressing the surface here.

 

And to warm up, as we come back in from our early morning escape, I cook a large plate of Kaiserschmarren for the whole family! :D

And to warm up, as we come back in from our early morning escape, I take to cooking a large plate of Austrian Kaiserschmarren for the whole family! Mahlzeit, everyone 😀

 

Last but not least, on your way out from, or back into, Toronto, you can stop at a place called “Cheltenham Badlands” for some (more) spectacular, natural beauty.

The “Cheltenham Badlands”, as they are called, are an extraordinary rock formation of a deep reddish colour, interspersed with the odd white line running through it. Artists immediately warm to their odd shapes and peculiar colours, while geologists I’m sure could tell you more as to why this strange-looking land is there in the first place – amid an otherwise rather normal-looking, typical Canadian forest landscape. Have a look at their website for more updates as to when the official trail opens again, as …

... the official trail over the Badlands is closed right now and visitors flock to the site via the general road ...

… the official trail over the Badlands is closed right now and visitors flock to the site via the general road …

 

... marvelling, once more, at the colour explosion in front of our eyes ...

… marvelling, once more, at the colour explosion in front of our eyes …

 

... and the odd shapes of the "Badlands" themselves! Wow. Thanks so much, Sean, Natalie & Hudson, for stopping to have us experience and see this!

… and the odd shapes of the “Badlands” themselves! Wow. Thanks so much, Sean, Natalie & Hudson, for stopping to have us experience and see this!

 

Have a look at more of my travel photos here:

 

I have also produced a travel video that highlights some of my travel adventures in Western Canada, all the way from Vancouver to the vast open plains east of the Rocky Mountains. A fascinating, funky take on what has truly been a life-changing journey. Enjoy with sound & smile 🙂

 

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2 comments

Hermann Paschinger 22 October 2016 - 11:33

Welche sind die typischen Speisen für ein Thanksgiving Dinner in Canada?

Reply
Elena 22 October 2016 - 17:07

Ganz typisch ist natürlich, wie auch in den USA, der berühmte “Turkey”, also Truthahn. Dazu wird gekochter Kürbis, süß-herbe Cranberry-Sauce und mitunter auch eine Art von Serviettenknödel gereicht, wenn man das so frei “übersetzen” kann .. 😉

Auf jeden Fall hat es Spaß gemacht, im Kreise der kanadischen Familie so genussvoll zusammen zu sitzen und zu speisen!

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