1655 Trip Miles, Part 3: It’s a Beauty Way To Go

Next day we took off bright and early for our main destination in Canada: the Thousand Islands. Stopped for lunch at a Canadian rest stop on 401. Nicer than the ones on the NY State Thruway. Pizza with Canadian bacon. Yum. BTW, Canadian bacon in Canada is just called “bacon”.

We’d been there once before for my cousin’s wedding and have been meaning to go back for years. The name (of the islands not the meat) doesn’t do it justice: there are actually over 1800 islands in the Thousand Islands, where Lake Ontario flows into the St. Lawrence River. The whole area is just amazing scenic beauty of water, islands rocks and forests.

We got pretty lucky because we threw this trip together at the last minute, and were able to rent a cottage right on the water. We found the place on the internet while we were looking to rent a boat. Indeed the place is called Spencer’s Boat Rentals and Cottages. The woman who runs it, Lynn, was really nice, friendly and helpful. They normally rent for a week but were willing to rent to us for just a few nights. Must’ve had a cancellation. Lucky indeed.

The cottage itself was small, but big enough for us, and like I said, right on the water. The setting was beautiful and peaceful with a gentle breeze off the river cooling of the otherwise unseasonably hot weather (for up there at least, but no one really has air conditioning cuz it almost never gets up into the 90’s). We spent the afternoon swimming at a nearby beach and the evening barbecuing and fishing off the dock.

Next day we were all set to rent a boat but the wind was strong and the water was choppy, so our hostess demurred. So instead we went into town and took a tour on a much larger boat. It took us all around, under the big international bridge, past castles, mansions, and random rocks. It was so hot, even out on the water, we had to get into the shade fairly often. It was just as well we didn’t get our boat that day; we would have fried. I now have a paper model of the boat on Hoban’s dashboard.

We had a seafood lunch at some nice waterfront restaurant (sensing a theme here?) and then it was onto another park for the afternoon. The place had a nature center with live snakes and turtles, which the kids really enjoyed. Then it was more swimming on another beach. This one looked to be a favorite spot for windsurfers and parasailors to put in, so it was fun to watch that. That evening we were all really wiped out from the heat, so we let the kids watch Phineas and Furb while we barbecued. BTW, did I mention the Metro grocery stores up there are fantastic?

On the third day the weather broke. It was back to the mid-eight’s and low wind, so we finally got our boat. It was a little bass boat with a 30hp engine, but big enough to have fun. Our neighbor in a nearby cottage had a boat with a 225hp motor. Totally outrageous! We spent the morning touring around the islands, having a ball. Parks Canada has lots of islands where you can just pull your boat up and dock it, and then picnic, hike and swim. So around midday we did exactly that. Found a great spot on a place called Mermaid Island. Deep blue water, but calm and with a good way in and out on shallow, smooth rocks. I’m amazed at how clean the water is up there. The whole experience was just so awesome.

One last thing: I’ve spent a lot of time out west, including our last two summer vacations, and I’m amazed at how green everything is in the summer in the part of the continent.

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