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.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Our Year, in Review with Gratitude at Christmas

Christmas 2014

We packed a lot into 12 short months!  The highlight?   That is easy!   David married Megan MacDonald on Sept. 13 in our biggest moment of the year. (only 9 years coming!)  Having taken a honeymoon to Florida (including Disney where they visited ALL the parks and took in the wine and food festival) they are living next door to the resort, in a house that David built with help from his Dad, and best man Mike Bechtel. It is David’s design and he and Mike did themselves proud in the construction department,  learning lots in the process.  Now the couple are working on the finishing touches, and furniture, while David gets accustomed to Megan’s Scottish cooking!  No slouch as a chef himself, Dave got a smoker for his birthday, and along with Mike has perfected pulled pork and is working on smoked pizza.

Megan was selected by the TV program Say Yes to the Dress Canada, airing this winter. Please take note that Reality shows are not real... they get scripted for drama. But the dress is real, and gorgeous (so is Megan!) 

We had to wait for that September date, however, so what else happened in 2014?  We kicked off the winter with the celebrated Polar Vortex. That cold air came pouring down into Ontario, providing us with exceptional snow conditions. Plowing, plowing and plowing again. The frequently groomed ski trails were superb. We were grateful to have Mike staying with us, helping out hugely, before he headed back to College, where he graduated from a carpentry course and is now in his apprenticeship.  The resort stayed busy,  with ski and snowshoe trails, our celebrated toboggan hills, and some snowmobilers.  There is always room for more, though, so come on up! Our skating rink suffered, the depth of snow creating too much slush. We gave up, and directed our guests to the unique skating trail through the woods at Arrowhead Provincial Park instead. 

We cheered local girl Dara Howell as she won Gold at the Sochi Olympics – Huntsville threw her a huge welcome home party. We had the chance to meet Cmdr. Chris Hadfield:  Dave and Megan scooped up an autograph. What an inspiring man he is!

That cold weather hung on through April, with a surprise late blizzard. That was the weather that bracketed the summer season – blizzard in April, blizzard in November!  It was a cool summer – but having said that, the weather up here was much better than in the GTA. Skimming back through the Blog, there really weren’t many days when people were not able to get outside or in the lake!  Storms rolled through, but left hot sunshine in their intervals.   We added a pair of stand up paddleboards to our ‘fleet’ this year   Brian has a couple of runabout ski-boats he would like to sell, so give him a call!

Cooler weather did push the gardens back – everything seemed to be late. The corn was ready with just two cook-outs left! Carol’s big project was a lovely new garden at Clover cottage, and she was able to draw on her gardening expertise to provide a young minister with topics for his children’s sermonettes. 

We were blessed with help this year. We paused mid-summer at the cook-out to celebrate our Sue Baker for over 23 years of fabulous assistance at the resort. What a gem! We had Carol’s grand-daughter Sarah with us all summer. What a treat, with her enthusiasm and cheerfulness. Willing and dependable, she is also creative, and put her talents to good use!  Plus, she provided great Blog photos, kept the horses fit, and what a slideshow she created for the Wedding Reception!

It’s not ALL work! During the winter months, Brian and Dave snuck in three snowmobile excursions. Summer saw a lovely family day trip canoeing down the Oxtongue River. The boys finally got to go up in a hot air balloon (after 3 years and 18 cancellations by the company) They very much enjoyed the flight – but recommend not being in a hurry if you plan to book one!

 Come November, Brian and Carol headed for a break in Florida. Carol has a passion for ocean-side vacations, and she truly needed this one, having spent the year being the Keeper of the Harmony in the family (not an easy job in a family business especially during a wedding planning year).

We saw a slight increase in the number of monarch butterflies – but they are still far too rare.  In early summer, there was a grand adventure when we discovered we had a ‘wild’ Rhode Island Red rooster living in the woods across from the resort. Heroic measures, involving fish nets and golf carts,  captured this bird, who moved to a farm north of us. It is always Fish o’clock somewhere: one guest landed a 28” pike off the main dock. The wolf pack has decreased the number of deer somewhat, but their night-time howls are still hugely popular with our guests – as is the star gazing program we offer. It is  alarming to have some guests from cities tell us that they have never seen the Milky Way... There are still lots of deer to be seen – and Reader’s Digest magazine chose December to reprint an article co-written by Nancy back in 1999 about a fawn named Noel that we had rescued from the ice.  (annoyingly, they left her name off the print edition, but it is correct in the on-line article!) Come winter, huge crowds of wild turkeys moved in to clean out the fruit trees (and birdfeeders) much to the fascination of Napster cat. Taffy added chasing turkeys off the lawn to her job list along with keeping Canada geese away, and squirrels out of the feeders.

Speaking of Napster, he was disgruntled (as an artist) to be left out of the Macleans Magazine summer list of the top animal artists by money earned. By our calculations (and theirs) Napster should be #3 on that list!

Technology continues to amaze. Rob Williams, long time Bondi Family member, made an extraordinary video of Bondi from the air with the help of his drone. Check it out on our Resort Blog.  There are some exciting new attractions close to us now, too, with almost daily summer excursions on the S.S. Bigwin out of Dorset, and the opening of a new mountain bike park near Dwight.

The cooler summer may have contributed to one of the most spectacular autumn colour displays we’ve seen in years.  If you have not made that trip north to see colour at peak up here, put it on your bucket list at once. It can be crowded in Algonquin, however – don’t forget that we’ve got the same vibrant colours right here at Bondi! 

Nancy  was re-elected as Councillor for Franklin Ward, Lake of Bays, and has also been named as the Deputy Mayor for the Township. There are some big challenges coming with this term! She continues to coach and judge with the horses, but finds very little time to ride these days. If anyone out there wants a lovely dressage horse, call about Abby... who is bored with lack of work.

Brian will be going in to have a hip replacement in the new year. The hip contributed, along with the cloudy weather, to him not getting in much flight time with his plane last year, but he DID get airborne enough to bring us great photos for the Resort social media sites.

Megan and David are both working at the resort, with hopes to one day take it over, and we could not be more thrilled about that as we head into our future. There are great challenges to operating a family tourism business in this economic climate, but there are also great joys – and among those joys are the wonderful people we get to meet. At this joyous season, we touch base with friends near and far.  We treasure your friendships, and hope that the coming year brings with it great blessing, comfort and joy.

Merry Christmas, from all the Tapleys at Bondi!
Brian, Carol, David, Megan and Nancy

1 comment:

  1. The wedding shots are a great touch for the year. It's been quite busy for you!