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.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Letter -- Our Year in Brief Review!

Christmas, 2011

Greetings to all our friends...

Despite best intention, we are again running late with this greeting. The arrival of much enjoyed Christmas letters and cards always reminds me that I need to get our own letter underway! Through “social media” we are able to keep in touch year round through our Bondi Resort Blog, Facebook and (heaven help us) Twitter, so this letter will be shorter this year. We’d be delighted to have you “follow” the blog, etc. -- those of you who enjoy that sort of thing... for those that don’t, we like to continue this ‘old fashioned’ contact. We introduced an on-line booking system this year, too, but we still much prefer to talk to our guests rather than have them be just a click on a screen!

2011 was another busy year. Brian’s health has been good this year, for which we give constant thanks. Among other projects, he has been installing a third solar collector system, making Bondi even greener. Hopefully it will be connected by year end – Ontario Hydro, in this fight against global warming, moves at a glacial pace. Every opportunity that allowed him to get into the plane saw him in the air. Which isn’t saying all that much – he would always like more flight time. Weather conditions don’t always mesh with available time. A planned balloon trip is still on hold after repeated weather delays pushed it clean into next year.

We are constantly upgrading and improving the resort and its facilities. Along with renovations, we have upgraded the television system (reluctantly, since we truly believe families need more than ever a chance to spend time together ‘unplugged’) and the Internet accessibility all the way across the property. Carol is tireless in her pursuit of improving the interior design and conveniences in every unit. We know our guests appreciate those efforts – and we do too! She has an amazing ‘eye’ for decorating and it is thanks to her the cottages are sparkling. Thanks to her, we also have gardens that bloom beautifully and provide the very best veggies on the table. It’s easy to forget just how much work goes into making sure that happens – it’s important, and it is appreciated.

Winter brought us less tourists than usual, despite fantastic conditions for winter sport. It would appear the lure of cheap flights to Cuba prevails – understandable for some, but others succumb to a new found fear of winter driving. Yet, with the possible exception of a short stretch near Barrie, the highways have never been better. Canadian winter is part of the identity of this great nation, and we would like to see more people embrace it and enjoy it! Vacationing closer to home is also affordable – worth considering in this economic climate! We were delighted to see the National Geographic Travel Editors select Muskoka as the Number One Summer Vacation destination, and keep it in the Top Ten for Year Round vacations. That was a great reminder of just how beautiful and special this part of the world is!

We enjoyed an old-fashioned HOT and dry summer that came on the heels of a cold and wet spring. Oddly, we had vacancies scattered throughout the season, sometimes in weeks when we frankly did not expect to see space open. Many bookings are being made with less advance notice – folks’ day timers are complicated these days! It’s always worth a call if you are thinking of a last minute get-away. Research is piling up on the benefits of getting back into Nature, fighting what is now labelled “Nature Deficit Disorder,” and by golly, have we got the place for that! Over the winter, we’ve got some ‘sweet deals’ on offer too, close to the skiing, snowmobiling, and just ‘chillin’ by the fire’.

We look forward to welcoming back familiar faces each year, but we also welcome our newcomers. New guests mean forging new friendships. Returning guests mean family -- we were honoured this summer to welcome Evelyn Hadden home to Bondi for the 50th year, and to take part in her 90th birthday party.

This year the boys of the Bondi Maintenance Dept. embraced fishing. The early part of winter was spent hand-crafting an ice hut. The bass boat hit the lake early. A special trip into Algonquin to fish Lake Opeongo was a highlight for all of them. The fish population seems to be standing up well to their onslaught, but some success fuels their enthusiasm. Golf also moved onto their agenda. Seeing as several of the clubs were gleaned from the Recycle Shed at the local dump, we don’t need to comment on the quality of their game. Now hunting is looming on the horizon, with attendance at gun classes and hunting permits. The deer seem remarkably unconcerned, although there is the occasional ruffled grouse. Archery is also under consideration – as David points out for all these endeavours, “they need practice.” It all helps get them out of the house – they have done a lot of work on our ski/hiking trails, coped with a lot of windfall trees that needed to become firewood, hammered and sawed their way through a multitude of projects.

Carol’s grand-daughter Sarah came for two week in late June. That evolved into a six week stay, and she proved to be very helpful at the resort. Almost 15, she is growing into quite the young lady. Carol got her a new camera, which was never far from Sarah’s hand, and she supplied us with wonderful pictures of activities at the Resort, many of which were featured on the Resort Blog.
Dave passed his last exams in August and in October we celebrated David’s graduation from Georgian College in the Architect Technologist program. He can now officially create plans and get them from paper to standing structures. We are really proud of what he’s done – and his marks reflect that Georgian is really proud of him as well! We are delighted to have him working here at Bondi!

We’ve enjoyed having Mike Bechtel with us again, rounding out the complement of the Maintenance Dept. A cheerful, willing worker, we always miss him when we lose him to the ski hills in winter. He and Dave are plotting a trip out West to (as they say) ‘shred the gnar.’ New skis have already been acquired.

Abby, ridden by Nancy's friend Chris. Anyone looking
for a truly lovely young horse should give us a call!
Nancy had an unhappy year in the health department when she suffered a detached retina. Incredible work done at St. Michael’s hospital was able to repair this – but the recovery period is long and limiting. Beginning with a week lying face down, it was followed by a summer without riding, swimming, boating, or anything strenuous. For a while, she sported a Pirate patch – and was loaned a turkey vulture in lieu of a parrot. At the end of it, however, she has good vision again. Dr. Muni is a miracle worker, and the Canadian medical system certainly stepped up for this. She continued to judge, coach and conduct clinics both in Ontario and Manitoba. Abby, her young mare bred here at Bondi, is now reluctantly up for sale since she is a bit more horse than the doctors currently recommend. Blizzard and Bailey, and the pony Squeegee are all well, so the barn is still full and happy – and the chickens continue to produce their very popular eggs as well.

Her bright spark came in January -- a new puppy, Taffy. From the same kennel as Holly (and before her Toby) this standard poodle is a joy and a mischief. There’s a lot of learning involved in being a Resort Dog! Taffy remained glued to Nancy through her recovery period, and they are now taking small (and somewhat unruly) steps into the world of Dog Agility.

Re-elected last October for another term on the Lake of Bays Council, she is working with a new group of Councillors and a new Mayor, with often differing viewpoints on the importance of community and environment on the Lake of Bays.

Napster, our painting cat, had a huge year. A wedding gift to the Royal Couple produced a charming letter from the Palace. Another became a gift for the Governor-General. He has sold around the world (including Iceland, Tokyo, N.Z.) and one design is being sold as a Christmas card for an Amsterdam-based charity. In all, sale of his work has raised almost $4000 for charities this year. He has his own Blog, linked to the Resort site, telling about his artistic adventures. We never thought that David’s inspiration for the Cat to take up art would lead to this! Achmed, the ‘other’ cat, continues to enjoy taking guests for Nature Hikes and riding on car roofs.

Come November, Nancy stayed home to “hold the fort” while the rest of the gang headed off to Florida to play at Disney. While Brian and Carol comment it may be their last trip to Disney World, perhaps the same can’t be said for David and Mike. They had a great time – even when Brian was “captured” by a living statue! David’s friend Megan was busy at University, so she missed out on this trip.

It has been an interesting year, globally – and looks to continue that way for a while. We send our best wishes to you and yours, and hope you will stay in touch with us. This is the time of year when we pause, reflect and remember. Christmas is not a time or a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.

It is very true that the Gifts of Time and Love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas. So, here we are, wishing the very best of the season to all of our friends. We hope to see you in 2012!

And never let us forget, “Love is what is in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents, and just listen.”

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