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My relatives flew back to England last weekend after a two-week stay. Previous family visits have always involved camping or  cottages, but this time we stayed home and enjoyed some Northern Ontario day trips. It being September, we weren’t sure what to expect weather-wise, but we had almost constant sunshine and temperatures into the 20s, at least at the beginning of the fortnight. Here are some of our holiday highlights.

Muskoka
We decided to visit Huntsville to show my Mum-in-law “the Christmas shop”–i.e. Christmas Thyme–and it didn’t disappoint.  She enjoyed browsing all the Christmas trinkets and had her picture taken next to a big snowman. It was sad to see though that yet another cottage country restaurant has been taken over by Boston Pizza. The drive along Hwy 3 between Rosseau and Huntsville was really fun and there were pockets of countryside where the leaves had changed colour more than in Sudbury, which was surprising.

Bridal Veil Falls, Kagawong

Bridal Veil Falls, Kagawong

Manitoulin
We’d never made it to Manitoulin Island with my husband’s family on previous visits, so were determined to get there this time. We made our usual lunch stop at the Anchor Grill in Little Current, where they were in the process of taking down their patio – a sad sight! From there we went on to one of my favourite places on the Island–Kagawong. Normally when we stop at the Bridal Veil Falls there are perhaps one or two cars in the car park. But this was the day when everyone had decided to visit and the place was heaving! Manitoulin Chocolate Works was also on the agenda and–being pretty much the only place open still  open on a Sunday afternoon– was doing a brisk trade in coffees.

On the waterfront at North Bay

On the waterfront at North Bay

North Bay/Field
We took our favourite route to North Bay, which involves a short detour north via Field. This is a great route for anyone who likes their road trips a little twisty with lots of lakes to enjoy. Plus, this being a little further north, the colours were amazing.

Lunch at Average Joe's

Lunch at Average Joe’s

Average Joes was awarded meal of the holiday. We decimated our huge portions (Yes, I’m addicted to sweet potato fries…) and lingered at our table after eating, enjoying the view over Trout Lake. Here too, it was patio dismantling time. After a browse round the mall for a little early Christmas shopping, we braved the strong breeze on the waterfront. Bizarrely, the Chief Commanda II had been “parked” for the season, so no fall boat cruises available to enjoy the colours at their peak.

A very stationary Chief Commanda II

A very stationary Chief Commanda II

We finished the vacation by watching “Men with Brooms,” a Canadian comedy starring a young Paul Gross and Leslie Nielsen. And filmed in and around Sudbury! I first watched this back in England when it was first released, so it was fun to see it again all these years later. I’m still none the wiser about curling though :)

It was great to have the opportunity to be a tourist again for a few days and I’m now looking forward to the long weekend and hopefully a little more touring and exploring.

Happy Thanksgiving!