On road trips and all the shades of blue
I have spent most of my life living in places, where one does not need a car to get around. I got my driving license when I was 18 because that’s what you do but soon after I moved to London for university and spent the following years blissfully car-free. And then I got a job offer that would mean moving to Toronto and commuting to an office on the picturesque intersection of the 401 and 427, the 401 being the busiest highways in North America.
Driving in the city initially did not bring me many joys –it was mostly sweaty palms, mild panic attacks, lots of bad radio and a swearing…but with some time I also discovered my love of podcasts and ROADTRIPS.
Seriously, road trips are awesome – you just need a destination, some snacks and someone to keep you company and you are all set to leave the city behind and start to explore. Manitoulin is a good long weekend trip from Toronto – here is how we got there and what we managed to see in three days:
Drive: From Toronto to Tobermory, around 300 km
Snacks on the way: there is plenty of Tim Hortons available but if you’re not a fan of Timbits the town of Flesherton, Ontario has an amazing bakery and café (they also sell their local maple syrup!!), I recommend trying their egg sandwich!
Stops on the way: As you pass through Owen Sound, you get on the Bruce Peninsula and you will drive on a very long and straight road with many opportunities to get off and explore the Bruce Trail. From our previous trip, I would recommend stopping at the Cypress lake and Pine Tree Point parks.
Ferry: It’s called Chi – cheemaun!! Make sure to get there early, for us the ferry was full on both trips… (the ferry only runs between May and October, after October lake Huron transforms into frozen wasteland). Once you park your car in the bottom part of the boat, you will not be allowed to come back, we learned the hard way – we left our snacks in the car and we were forced to try their cafeteria. All that I will say is that on our way back, we did not repeat our mistake. The ferry is pretty nice – especially on a sunny day, you can stay outside and sit on a muskoka chair enjoying the view and vastness of Lake Huron.
Camping: there are a lot of options for both camping and trailer parking (so many trailers!!) we stayed in a non-descript large campground for our first night and by Lake Mindemoya for our second night. The second campground was smaller, a lot nicer and they also have cottages for rent.
Activities: we spent mot of our time driving around the island, my favorite moments were getting lost on a random farming road and just getting out of the car to walk around. We also stopped at a couple of viewpoints – The Ten Mile Point – was one of the most elevated spots on the island and you got a nice view of the mountains in Killarney. We also did the Cup and saucer trail and we really enjoyed the walk o the rocky ridge – see the photos below.
Island city life: We completely skipped the city of South Baymouth when we arrived; there is a couple of scary- looking souvenir shops… We however did stop in the city on the north side of the island, Little Current, which is where the island is connected to the mainland by a bridge. They have a pretty nice marina and a cute little café and store Island Jar ,which is shockingly well stocked with organic goodies. We stopped there for some coffee and ice-cream – highly recommended. Little Current also has a couple of supermarkets and gas stations.
Highlights: Manitoulin isn’t really a place to go to see a specific attraction or with a set agenda. It’s a place where you can enjoy the fresh air, the vastness of the open fields and the views of the endless Lake Huron, watch the sunsets, see the steam rising from the forests early in the morning, have a picnic by the lake and observe all the shades of blue in the water and the sky.