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.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Huntsville, Well Before the G8!

Huntsville Main Street, 1908.
 Blame the mouse.  Tracking the little critter to its lair lead Brian and David into the attic.  That lead them to boxes of forgotten things.  And that lead them to a Christmas card, sent to us years back.

On that card was this photograph, of the main street of Huntsville, Ontario. In 1908.

Wow.  Many of these buildings are still there, but of course the businesses have changed.   The streets aren't exactly crowded -- and its all horse and sleigh activity.

Those who know me know I'm interested in history, particularly the heritage aspects of this region. So this picture intrigues me.  I hope you enjoy it!

We feel we must point out that this picture pre-dates the lavish spending that came to town along with the G8 Summit.  Even so, the town still looks pretty darn special.

Welcome Home!

We have several groups that come to stay with us each winter. Mostly they are cross country ski and snowshoe enthusiasts (but some are also into snowmobiling, some are ice fishing fans, some are Photography and art afficionados, some just like the camaraderie and the chance to gather together. Some are Nature Clubs. We've got something for all of them!)

The cottages suddenly 'sprout' collections of skiis and winter gear.

Ski Waxes appear.  Usually right beside big smiles and cheery greetings.

The group that just rolled in today was asking when they first came.  Bets were being placed on whether their first Bondi trip was in 2003 or 2004.

We're pleased to resolve the debate. It was 2003. And we've been really honoured to welcome these folks back every year!


We've got company!

Snowmen have appeared on the lawns.

One, posing with Julia, (and in another photo with Julia and Lucas!)  is impressively huge!
One seems to be wearing a Victor's Crown of pine boughs.

None of them are sporting the traditional carrot nose.

That's because the deer come at night and snip those off...    

This big fellow seems ready to come to life and dance around with his friends!

While they may not have the standard nose, what about  huge smiles?  Well, like the folks who built them, our snowmen always seem to have enormous smiles.  Really, who could blame them?   No-one enjoys Winter more than a Canadian Snowman!

When a Plan Comes Together

This weekend we had a special visitor --
"Tante Nadine" was visiting with her family.  This was her first visit to Bondi. She lives near Amsterdam, and was quite keen to see a Canadian Winter.

Well, the weather put on a show for her!

We certainly changed the way the resort usually looks, when her grandchildren and grand-nieces/nephews are here in the summertime!  And the weather decided to do it's very best:  from a big snowfall one day to glittery blue skies the next.  Winter? Here it is!

She particularly hoped to see some wildlife.   And, like the weather, our deer lined up to help.

There were ten in all that she was able to admire.  Three of them were helpfully posing under the shelter of some big pine trees, right by the road.  Curled up napping, when the people walked by, heads came up -- then the rest of the deer followed.

"Mom" was first on her feet.  She's got two youngsters with her. One is a young buck. You can just make out the little bumps that will later in the year become his first coveted set of antlers.

There were more deer, who co-operatively sashayed past the cottage, and wandered along the shoreline.  Several left their footprints in the driveway right by the cottage door, just pausing long enough to say hello.

And some of them even crossed the road, right by the sign that warns drivers that they need to be vigilant on rural roads, at all times.

Thank you Nicole, for sharing these photos!  We are delighted that Nadine was welcomed with great winter weather AND plenty of deer to admire!

We love it when a plan comes together like this!

Where the Snow Is

What a fantastic winter weekend we've just enjoyed.

The ski trails, following a fall of fresh snow, were in lovely shape.

These photos, taken along the Bondi trails, were provided by Nicole. She was here with her family, including Tante Nadine who was visiting from near Amsterdam.

On Saturday, most of the family enjoyed some downhill skiing at Hidden Valley Highlands.

Sunday, however, the sunshine and mild winter temperatures, combined with the snow, provided sparklingly beautiful  reasons to stay at Bondi and enjoy the cross country trails.
We have about 15 km. of trails, which are groomed and track set.  They offer conditions to suit every level of skier, from the open rolling Pioneer Fields to the trails winding through Hardwoods and Sugarbush.
Cross country skiing offers something for every level of ability and energy.  And one of the wonderful things about skiing right where you're staying is that you can simply step out the door of the cottage and be on the trails.  You can spend as long -- or as brief -- a time as suits you.
And, if you decide you want to blaze your own trail - well, with almost 600 acres of wilderness around our resort, you can do that, too!

Thanks Nicole for the photos, and for sharing some of your family's wonderful memories with us.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sled Report for the Weekend

Well I bet we are in for a busy weekend. Our trails are pretty much as good as they get. Highland Rovers opened up trails 78-79 for us and its listed as limited. Also limited is trail 77W from Tally Ho to Dwight. It is still a bit rough in some ares due to the tree canopy not letting the snow to get to the ground. All others are good to go. Any road running has pretty good coverage and with the predicted snow each day should keep it that way.

Thanks to Tim, of the Algonquin Snowmobile Club, for this 'up to the minute report' on the local trails!  Conditions have been such that now that we have the snow, there are a lot of keen sledders hoping to get out there!

Tim writes:  " Well I bet we are in for a busy weekend. Our trails are pretty much as good as they get. Highland Rovers opened up trails 78-79 for us and its listed as limited. Also limited is trail 77W from Tally Ho to Dwight. It is still a bit rough in some ares due to the tree canopy not letting the snow to get to the ground. All others are good to go. Any road running has pretty good coverage and with the predicted snow each day should keep it that way.

The warm weather we had, wet snow and cold nights have made for a great trail base. I went for a ride on Oxtongue Lake and was surprised it was in better shape than the last ride a few days ago. It has firmed up but still a bit wet near shore. We have not staked it yet, hopefully after this weekends traffic and some more cold will firm it up so we can stake it.
Just another reminder about our Chili Cook Off this Saturday on Trail D101B just north of the Shelter. Be sure to stop by and vote for your favorite. Hope to see plenty of ASC Members throughout the day.

If you are in the area, trail 76 is must trip and also trail 65 from the Shelter around towards Dorset. Trail 74N to D101B to Oxbow should also be on your bucket list. With the logging that went on this summer its an awesome ride, even in the groomer. "

Thanks for the update, Tim, and huge thanks to all the volunteers and Club members who work so hard to ensure our local trails are shining stars in Provincial network! There's just no place better to be!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Over the Hill and onto the Trails!

My timing with the camera has been off this week.

Either that, or the battery was drained.  Which meant that I spent the week just missing the best photos of the year so far.   I have fingers crossed that our guests will bail me out, and email me some of their photos!

We had kids having a total blast on the toboggan hill.  We had a group that snowshoed up the mountain (and I kick myself for missing THAT photo -- three of them, bright spots of colour, seen through the leafless trees)  And this week we had the Over the Hill Gang here, snowshoeing, skiing and hiking.  Although we had rain on Monday, that soon turned to snow, and Brian was able to get the trails groomed and gorgeous.

But you have to take my word for it... because my timing with the camera was bad...

For anyone thinking of coming north to see what a Canadian winter should look like, to try skiing, snowshoeing, bird watching, or just enjoying a sunset across a frozen lake, North Muskoka has what you're looking for. Winter's here.

Winter Colour

I've been 'disconnected' from the Internet for a few days while we worked on the system to improve the overall access for our guests at Bondi. 

So I am a few posts behind, for those of you who read this Blog with any regularity (and, gosh, we love those of you that do!)

So, check out THIS sky!  I went up to the arena with a student, and the day was coloured in winter whites and sky blues with hints of forest green.  We came out of the arena an hour later and walked smack into this breath-stealing colour.

By the time I had walked down to the lake by Clover cottage, the colours were muting. Sunsets change by the second.

Still, this colour palette was just as lovely, with the lake ice a shade that I think is described as Cobalt?  I should ask Napster... artists usually know the correct names for colours!

That little dot out there, past the boathouse, that's the BMD's Fish hut.  And that gleam of light under the boathouse, that's a product of the ice away keeping the water open.  More on that, later...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dwight Bay -- not only where the ice is, but where the fish are too!

 That fine looking fish hut belongs to our cousin, Ross Tapley.  He's got a couple of them out on Dwight Bay this winter, and if you are staying here with us at Bondi Village, you can rent from him, and spend the day cosily waiting for fish...

Of course, those of you who prefer not to fish can leave the fishermen to have at it, and spend the day on our ski and snowshoe trails instead.  Or curled up by the fire with a lovely cup of tea and a deer looking back at you from the lawn.

Or you can all saddle up the snowmobiles -- yes, trails ARE open (but be super careful on lakes -- most of the lake trails are not open yet.)  You MUST know the ice conditions (Ross knows!)  Dwight is blessed with two rivers entering the bay, making it a great site for fishing at any time of year.  Located just five minutes away from us, it lets the fishermen enjoy their sport, while the 'rest of us' play with the snow in the great outdoors.

The snowmobile trails are all posted on the Muskoka Snowmobile Region website.

Thanks to Gloria Woodside for these pictures, snapped yesterday.  That's the Dwight Dock, all covered with snow, at the public beach at Dwight.  this is an iconic dock for the Muskoka region -- once upon a time it was a prime stop for the big lake steamers.  The roofed section ensured that folks waiting for the boats were sheltered from all weather.

Here's Looking at You Looking at Me

We had a lot of guests here this week -- much snowshoeing, and hiking, and cross country skiing were the orders of the day.

Some of our guests went into Algonquin Park, enjoying the beautiful trails on offer there.  We asked them, as they returned the Park Pass that we include for all our guests to enjoy, if they had seen any wildlife.  The answer was negative, with the exception of birds. (which count, really they do! )

But they had seen plenty of wildlife here on our own property.  That included the red fox who was circling the Chicken Coop yesterday, trying to find the entrance to the Drive-Through Take Out.

And the deer, who have packed their own roadways through the snow and can be found at almost any time of day along the lakeshore. 

These guests paused at the top of the slope going down to Lantern cottage, to enjoy the sight of the deer gazing back at them from the lakeshore.

Last year, when the Ancient Mariners Canoe Club was here for their winter excursion, there was great excitement because they spotted a Bald Eagle while on some of our ski trails.  This year, the excitement continued -- but this time it was a Golden Eagle.  Those are a little more common, but still rare enough to cause a stir here.  Two confirmed nesting sites were located in Algonquin Park last year for Bald Eagles, who seem to be making a bit of a comeback.   And some guests this morning coming in to ski our trails reported a deer-kill site near the Port Cunnington Road, which was heavily decorated with Ravens.

The presence of that deer-kill indicates that the Wolf Pack is back in town.  We were out looking at the winter constallations this past week as well -- Orion is at its very best this time of year.  Next time, we'll have to have a little Howl, just in case the pack is close enough to answer our call!

Moving Matters

Moving snow is serious business.

We remember well visiting friends in London, England years ago.  It was early February.  An ivnitation came to come up and see friends in Northampton, which seemed like a great idea.

Except that it was snowing.  First of all, the concierge at the hotel advised us that we would not be able to make it even as far as the Train Station.

Unequipped with a map or GPS, we were in no position to argue, but we were Canadian, and made of stern stuff. Besides, there was less than an inch of snow on the sidewalk.  Grumpily muttering about Colonials, he called a Taxi.  The driver whereof explained in great detail that the roads were so bad he didn't know if he would be able to get us to our destination.  In the middle of his "godawful roads, national crisis, unprecedented snowfall' diatribe, I offered to drive.
As it unfolded, we discovered the dang station was only two blocks from the hotel. We could have easily walked it, on the mostly deserted streets (all inside, hunkered down waiting for Apocolypse).  We boarded the train.  Departure time came. And went.  And went a little farther along.

Finally the plummy voice on the p.a. announced that the tracks were frozen, trains were shorted out, and there would be as short delay.  Enough time passed to read all of War and Peace, in the original. For plum trees to bloom in the spring. At least, it felt like that. In reality it was only a few hours.

When the voice came back on, it announced that Thanks to God and British Rail, transit could be resumed. I'd prefer to leave God out of that, since I'm fairly confident it was Brit Rail that designed tracks and trains that could be shut down by an inch of snow, without any input from any Diety.

When we arrived at Northampton, we were greeted by ther cheery news that the Gritters were out, so there was a fighting chance we could get where we needed to go.   Britain, with tiny, narrow roads and congested cities, suffers from that over-arching issue of having no-where to put snow, so any snowfall can be of consequence.  

Here, Brian has a solid grasp on the need to have places to put the snow.  Ways to move it off the travelled areas, and leave room for the ploughs to work.  One of the weapons in his arsenal of snow moving equipment is the snowblower, pictured here.

Rural Ontario, particularly up here in the Northern regions, has a firm grasp on this principal as well. Weather conditions that cause mayhem in the cities to the South often pass with barely a mention.  There is a Lake Effect in Ontario that can blast snow in blizzard conditions across the Province near Barrie, so that is a notoriously tricky bit of highway in winter -- but once north of that, driving conditions tend to be pretty darn good.

Except that we are still working on convincing folks that having 4 wheel drive is not a license to drive at speed on winter roads.  4-wheel drive may help you claw your way back OUT of the ditch -- it will do nothing at all to prevent you sliding off INTO it.  Winter tires, driving within the limitations of the conditions, allowing more time... these are your best friends in winter. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tracking Trout through a Blizzard

It was ever so slightly reminiscent of the Scott Expedition to the Antarctic...

They set off boldly, through the snowstorm, in search not of the Pole, or (at the other end of the globe) the Northwest Passage, but of fish.

Although the adventure is in the trip. As the old saying runs, Better to Travel Hopefully.

This was Day One of actual fishing use at the hut this year.  It is just possible that the weather conditions were not optimal.

Real fishermen are not daunted by the weather, however.   Nor do they limit themselves to fishing only from within the sheltering walls of the hut itself.

As the afternoon progressed, the snowstorm grew ever stronger. Winds were persistent. Or, as Mike called them, "Gale Force."  Visibility, shall we say, diminished.  Finally, Dave and Mike called it a day, and came home for a dinner that, sadly, did not include fish on the menu.

Never mind. They had better Fish Stories to tell.  And -- as they pointed out -- you just couldn't beat the view!

Yep, that's the hut, out there... somewhere...

Snowflakes that Stay

One of our favourite songs comes from The Sound of Music -- My Favourite Things.

One of the verses runs, "Girls in white dresses, with blue satin sashes; Snowflakes that stay on your nose and eyelashes."

Well not so much the girls, but today scored big on the second part of that.

We are constantly being asked if we have any snow this winter.  Yes, would be the short answer.

Today we got even more. Brian has been busy moving it out of driveways, and grooming it on trails.

The Ancient Mariners group is here -- one commented to me that it was like skiing through a Christmas card.

Snow like this sticks beautifully to trees. It muffles sound.  It reduces the view to the immediate (we can ask Dave about that, in another post: he was out in the fish hut for the afternoon)  It brought a lot of birds to the feeders as well.
The horses were happy outside, munching on hay.  Squeegee has such a thick winter coat that not enough heat escapes to melt the snow.  By the time he came in for the evening, he was just a walking snowball.
Taffy was more than happy to demonstrate how deep the snowfall was.
She's on one of the driveways, before Brian got to it with the plow.

So, to answer the question, is there snow up there?  Why, yes.
And it is one of our favourite things.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


 The Fish Hut is out.  It's been a slow start to the season, but the weather has relented and decided that, yes, it is indeed Winter in Canada.

David and Brian got a trail packed in across the bay. This is a crucial ingredient in the exercise, since the recent heavy snowfall produced a lot of slush on the lake.

Slush is not fun -- it forms a watery layer between the snow and the ice. You won't fall through the ice -- but you will fall into the slush, which will promptly freeze and clump and make travel next to impossible.  On skiis or snowshoes, it is brutal. Drop a snowmobile into it, and you're probably parked there till spring melt...

Once a trail is packed in, however, the slush freezes down solid and there is a solid footing on which to tow the fish hut.  This is a good thing -- you can't tow fast enough to keep a sled up out of the slush.  Taffy was also appreciative of the packed trail, which kept her paws dry.

Dave has a Fish Finder... which would doubtless work better if  the fish down below the ice didn't have their own Dave Finder which will probably let them avoid the entire operation.

Time and bait will tell!  The hut is strategically located close to where Vic and John had really good fishing luck last year.  Good luck, that is, except for the time the eagle swiped their trout right off the ice.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Winter in the Wild

Here's a great notion!  Algonquin Park is offering the first Winter in the Wild Festival, February 18.

Now, that just happens to coincide with the Family Day Weekend -- so how great is that?

We still have some cottages for that weekend.  Stay with us, and combine it with these great Park activities.  A winter wolf howl!  (you might even hear our own pack of Algonquin timber wolves singing you to sleep here at Bondi)

If it's a clear night, we'll toss in a Dark Skies Star Search, too.

Use your new found tracking skills on our ski and snowshoe trails -- you'll be amazed at who your neighbours are on those trails. 

It's a Wild Idea, all right... don't let this one get away!

Sweet Sled Deals

Algonquin Snowmobile Club, Happy Wanderers, Tall Pines and DuYaWanna clubs have all opened trails this weekend.  The snow is here, the trails are ready.
And Haliburton Sled Rentals has re-opened for the winter at the Beacon, in Dwight.

Mark's offering some great deals, for those who have always wanted to drive a snowmobile but perhaps don't have one of their own parked in the yard.

Weekdays are 50% off -- pair that up with one of Bondi's Super Specials, and you've got a great getaway.

If you're a little shy about trying the trails on your own, HSR will take you on a guided tour, starting at $99/person.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sunset in the Northern Sky

Walking along the shore this evening, with one sunset lighting up the western sky over the lake, I looked back at Springside cottage, and was treated to a second sunset painting the opposite sky.

It might be a little chill to sit in those Muskoka chairs today though!