Bondi Resort Blog

Come on into our Blog for a look at the wonderful world we've got to share! With over 240 hectares (600 acres) of wilderness woodlands surrounding the resort, just ten minutes from Algonquin Park, we feature over 400 metres (1200’) of waterfront and beach; boat rentals; summer hiking trails winding through fields and woods; 20 km. of groomed cross country ski trails and snowshoeing in winter; access to nearby snowmobile trails for sledders, and a toboggan hill for the young at heart.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A blog post about Blogging, from The Muskokan

Kerri MacDonald, writing for the magazine The Muskokan, has done an article on Blogging in Muskoka. I spent a great afternoon here with Kerri, scrolling about in the Bondi Blog, and laughing a lot -- although I am still sad that I have no readers in Mongolia. On a good month, we get over 1000 people visiting the Blog, averaging 2 pages, and spending a long period of time there. We do hope our readers enjoy the Blog...

The photo with this post is of Joseph Tapley,whose diaries still intrique and entertain me. He's seen golfing at the old Britannia Inn golf course. A diary aside -- in 1926, the weather was so unusually warm that he managed to squeak in a game of golf on January 16th. Definitely something worthy of a Blog Post!

We hope you enjoy Kerri's article, attached below.

From the Muskoka cottage to the blogosphere
May 27, 2009 - by Kerri MacDonald

Picture a writer in Muskoka and you’ll probably conjure up the image of a quiet evening on the dock, a weatherworn journal and what William Wordsworth famously called “emotion recollected in tranquility.” But as pages turn to computer monitors, tech-savvy wordsmiths are sharing their thoughts on Muskoka with the world, one blog post at a time.
Nancy Tapley, a blogger at Bondi Village Resort on Lake of Bays, sees her blog as a continuation of a long history of writing. Her grandfather, Joseph Tapley, kept detailed diaries about daily life on the farm-turned-resort, a tradition her father continued.

“The blog has basically replaced the diaries,” Tapley says as she sits in her office scrolling through the blog she created last July. “It was very interesting; they’d record what mattered. So they’d record the weather, and they’d record crops — what was planted, what was harvested, who owed you money, how much something cost.”

But what really got Tapley started was marketing.

“The blog was forced upon me,” says Tapley, who owns the resort with her brother, Brian. “I couldn’t even spell ‘blog’ and suddenly I was (writing) one.”

Before she started blogging, the energetic writer used to send “e-mail blasts” to a mailing list. She also wrote a weekly newsletter for guests, something she continues to do. When she began blogging, she was worried she wouldn’t have enough to write about.

“If you’re going to have a blog and you want people to come and read it, it has to change all the time,” she says. “I think that’s a problem with some of them.”

But she hasn’t had any difficulties finding material — or readers. Over the past month, Tapley’s blog has had more than 550 visitors and 1,000 page views. Readers come from countries all over the world, including Chile, China, Bolivia, France, the Philippines and Iraq.

“I had no idea what I was doing,” she says as she scrolls the first couple of blogs she wrote last summer. Tapley’s subjects range from nature — such as an incident she calls “the flying squirrel adventure” — to events happening in the community. Looking at a post about Bondi Village’s “annual clam races,” she laughs.

“It’s totally silly. It’s got nothing to do with anything and it means nothing. It’s just fun.”

Jennifer Jilks is another blogger who started out for marketing purposes. After her father passed away, Jilks wrote a memoir and started a blog to spread the word. Today, the retired teacher calls herself a “confessed blogaholic.” The five blogs she writes are a testament to that addiction.

Jilks, who also follows about 100 blogs worldwide, says running different blogs lets her keep her thoughts organized. Ranging in topic from palliative care to poetry, her blogs have had about 5,000 hits each. One of them, My Muskoka, is intended to be a celebration of the region.

“I love Muskoka and I want to honour it,” says Jilks, who moved to Bala in 2006. She doesn’t know if she has local readers, although posts about the proposed power generator at Bala Falls sparked some reaction.

But Jilks isn’t writing to ruffle feathers — for her, blogging has become therapeutic.

“I’ve found writing my memories, to illuminate them for somebody else, very interesting. And I’ve found that a lot of people will say, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve been through that, too.’”

That ability to communicate with other readers is key for artist Michelle Basic Hendry. Since she created her blog, Artscapes, in late 2007, it has become an important part of creativity for the local painter.

“The creative process for me it isn’t entirely right-brained. It’s left-brained as well; it’s a combination of creativity and intellect, and I need both,” she says. “I think that’s another thing the blog does for me: it allows me to take an analytical view of the things that inspire me.”

Basic Hendry has followers worldwide and has gained recognition as a leader in the artistic blogosphere. The artist says blogging helped her realize she has a need to communicate. Still, at the root of that need is business.

“In the very beginning, a lot of people talked about whether or not your blog and your website should be essentially one thing,” says the artist, who’s quick to point out that she doesn’t actively sell her paintings on the blog.

“People can use it as they want,” she says. “We can talk about it or not, but it’s out there. I like to think that people will talk about it. I like to think that it’ll be something that people bring up at the dinner table.”

Thelma Jarvis and Ed Boutilier are two more Muskoka bloggers who have a taste for the blogosphere.

Jarvis, a real estate agent whose blog is linked to her website, started blogging because she has a diverse set of interests.

“I just thought that in terms of how I put my business together that I would allow people to see my knowledge and expertise before they become clients,” she says.

Jarvis’s blog includes a series of “special reports,” about which she receives e-mails from readers worldwide. On its busiest day, the blog had 143 visitors. Last month there were 1,798. Jarvis says her most poplar post has seen 1,948 hits in its lifetime.

She believes cottagers use her blog to get their “Muskoka fix” when they’re away from the lakes. Along with photos, Jarvis includes information on issues such as water levels, bylaw changes and the real estate market.

“People go on my blog everyday when it’s close to ice out time,” she says. “That’s why during that time I try to be responsible in getting the information out accurately and quickly.”

Boutilier, who runs a photography blog, is one of Jarvis’s readers. The two became friends when they started talking via e-mail, though they’ve never met in person.

A Toronto-based technology expert who has a cottage inMuskoka, Boutilier writes blogs for work, as well. He uses Google Alerts to keep tabs on the keyword “Muskoka,” which comes up between ten and 15 times every day.

The self-taught photographer uses his blog to display high dynamic range photographs.

The result? A collection of photos that has garnered attention from the Globe and Mail, various Muskoka publications and web wanderers worldwide.

“Now I am feeling some pressure because there’s thousands of people from all over the world coming to this blog,” Boutilier says. “If there isn’t something up every two days, or at least once a week, people are saying, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’”

Boutilier says he would spend more time on his blog if he could.

“I find a lot of people come up here and they leave with no understanding of what this area’s about, so that’s why I put that up,” he says of the blog, which kicked off in February, 2008.

“Not everybody reads or retains information properly, but visually there’s a lot of rich images to offer people, from a historic standpoint and from the natural and the environmental.”

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  1. Hi Nancy,
    It was a great article, wasn't it?
    Kerri is a sweetie.

    We used to spend the last w/e in January at Bondi. Myself, parents, and their friends and kids. I must have been about 15 yrs. old the last time. The parents would walk; We would ski.

    Glad to read another Muskokan glogger!

  2. That was a really a nice blog good content I enjoy reading it. Thanks!

  3. Wonderful article, thanks for putting this together! This is obviously one great post.