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.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Winter. Bam. It's Back.

 Taffy bravely goes out in the snow that fell last night. We got about six inches. Enough to plow. Enough to pack on the ski trails. Enough to play with :)

 One of the chickens insisted on bushwhacking through the snow to the summer coop, where her preferred nest box is.
 at least she made it there and back!
 Brian and David were busy with plowing, shovelling, and getting the snowmobiles out.
 One of Carol's garden ornaments, looking lovely with icicles, on a white backdrop!

 Back in the stable, one of the hens decided that the snow might keep rising, so she went up high to be sure there was someplace that would stay high and dry...

Squeegee split the difference, being outside with his body, and inside with his snack.

Brian and Dave got the ski trails packed in, and checked for fallen branches.  Just a little more snow, so they can groom, and we are Good to Go!

Stardust and Moondust and a full Moon for Christmas

 Two more wonderful photos taken by Don Long when he was here over Christmas.

We had a full moon -- which is a rarity to coincide with Christmas day. And it was a real beauty.

And, bless him, he's got the camera for this -- he caught the stars in the deepening dusk.

Thanks Don!  These are magic!

In the Eye of the Beholder

snow fence, rolled up and waiting
 More years ago than any of us care to count, we had a family that came and stayed almost all summer, year after year.  As this family grew, they needed a bigger cottage.

hard to believe this was Christmas! Looks like October!
So Paul built them one. With four bedrooms.  We named it for them -- the Long family, and so Longside was born.

frost at the dock
Don and Jayne, their son Evan, daughter-in-law Tonya and grand-daughter Clover came to stay for four days over Christmas this year.  Don has an eye for a photograph that is seldom equalled, and he was kind enough to share some of his holiday photos with us.  Here they are for you to enjoy!  Thanks Don!

artwork, found...

docks, ice, frost, chain, at the Main Dock.

waiting for the dawn

bird house apartments. We bring them in for the winter.
they are cleaned and put back out for the swallows in April.

fire in the sky

Merry Christmas, and Bright

 Every family has their own holiday traditions. Our Christmas morning starts with a family breakfast, cooked by David and I (and now Megan!!! many hands make breakfast light work!)  We've done breakfast, Dave and I, since he was a widget who's job it was to simply stir the hollandaise for the eggs benedict.  Now, I stir... he does everything else. He's a great cook!
Megan got the task of toasting the muffins... and it all came together to be a festive feast.

Taffy always gets her own slice of peameal bacon, too.

Then it's off to the glorious Christmas tree, and the presents.   And that usually takes us up to lunch time. Longer if we lose Brian in one of the books he unwraps...

The day being so lovely, the boys got out their bikes.  They toured around the area, checking to see why the hydro was still not on down Port Cunnington Road, and chatted with the workers from Hydro One who had given up their own family time to ensure that people got the power back in time to cook Christmas dinner!  Our power was on, so no worries on that front.

Later, we took our traditional family hike up to the Mountain Lookout.   Taffy was in her absolute glory, ripping through the bush, keeping everyone in line.

I'm recovering from a cold, so don't have quite the lung capacity I'd like.  Which meant stopping often to 'admire the view' (and breathe!)

 There was only one tree blown down in the wind storms. Of course, it fell right across the trail.  "That's a big tree, Dave", we kept telling him... since he'll get the job of getting it off the trail.
 Bondi, Christmas Day, 2015 -- wow -- we are much more green than usual!

 Not even a skiff of ice on the bay!  Last year we were skating everywhere!
 White chicken, named Barcode for the single feather in her tail with a strip of black dots on it, certainly is visible even from up on the lookout!  The hens have been loving this weather, ranging everywhere.

Carol, Brian, Taffy, Megan and Dave pose for a group photo!

 And our young couple demonstrate the best way to support each other...

There were lots of people posting on FB that
they'd gone swimming... Nancy didn't go for the 'full immersion' but did brave the very cold water a little...

And what is winter without skiing?  So Dave dug out an old set of skiis, and we headed up to the gravel pit for a little Sand Skiing. Tricky getting the wax right, as conditions change from sand to moss to gravel.

We were a crowd at dinner, with all Megan's family here, too.  That's the best thing about the holiday, the gathering of friends and families. Carol always cooks a Feast -- fabulous food, and everyone brought something to share as well.

So that's how we spent our Christmas Day. It was a wonderful day. We hope yours was just as magical, in your own way, in your own traditions.  Merry Christmas, and God Bless us Every One!

Catching up to the Days

 This was Christmas eve day...   Sunny. Lovely.   Very high winds produced "surf" on Bondi beach, and took out hydro for most of the day.   I made coffee on the campstove, and put off switching on the generator until later in the day.   This has been most unusual weather for this time of year. We've had 'green' Christmas in the past, but usually a cold one, with ice on the bay.  This one has just been, well, early October...  Sweaters, windbreakers, running shoes.  Nice, actually, and lovely to be outside hiking and enjoying the peace and quiet.
surf's up!
Here's some pictures from that glorious day... I hope you enjoy!

temperature is also up!

Kale is still green in the garden!

That is a snow cloud, hanging over the fire of the setting sun...

We get the very best of sunsets!

Evening sun on the water.

follow that golden road into Christmas day!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A re-post, to honour those not here with me today

Christmas Eve... a breathing space in what has been a hectic month.  Hopefully by now everything is wrapped that should be, spiffed up that needs to be, decorated that ought to be.

Christmas Eve is a time for reflection, before Christmas Day.  My dad, Paul Pax Tapley, was born on Christmas Eve.  During a blizzard.  The doctor was summoned from Huntsville -- he came by horse and sleigh and was cold, hungry and cranky by the time he arrived.  Elizabeth got out of bed, made him a hot dinner, returned to that bed and gave birth to her fourth child.  It was 1918.  His middle name, Pax, was to remember the Great Peace.  You remember that, yes? The War to End ALL Wars...???   Shame it didn't, really.
My Mom, Rosemary Hannah Buck Austin was also a December baby. Dec. 9th. 1911.  She grew up in the shadow of Windsor Castle, and was once (along with her best friend Renee) plucked from the branches of one of the Windsor Park Long Walk oak trees where the little girls had climbed up and discovered it was much harder to climb down.  Their rescuer, a gentleman standing in his stirrups while another man held the horse, lifted them gently down while the rest of the riding party watched.  The girls hit the ground curtseying, and Rosemary confessed they thought they were off to the Tower of London.  Their saviour was a slim man, with a stutter.  His father was King George V, who in a low gruff voice told the little girls to 'be more careful,' before riding on.

This photo was taken in 1949, here at Bondi.  Paul had recently met Rosemary who was working at Tally Ho. They were married and lived together at Bondi for 42 years. Paul always credited Rosemary for pushing him to buld the cottages, rather than "puttering around here doing odd jobs and ploughing up the field."

He built Lantern in '49. Anchor in '50. Springside in '51 -- the year their son Brian was born. and Beaver in '54. Tamarack went up in '56, and in 1960, he built Longside specifically for a long visiting family, the Longs, who needed a bigger cottage.

Elizabeth Tapley, with her son Paul and his wife Rosemary, 1960
 That was where it began...   and I always stop on Christmas Eve, Dad's birthday, to remember them all with tremendous love. I always stop at the stable, late at night, when you can just barely hear the sleigh and the reindeer scratching across the night sky, and sing a carol, just me alone, for my Dad with whom I used to sing in church. I don't have the beauty of his voice, but I always have had the beauty of all their love.

Wishing you all a happy, safe, and blessed Christmas season, and a new year full of comfort and joy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Our Christmas Letter to all our Friends

Christmas, 2015

Season’s greetings, Merry Christmas to all our friends and extended “Bondi Family”
2016!  Already?  Seems like only a  year ago we were entering 2015!  It’s always busy here, so we try to keep our recap brief – but we do value getting in touch with all our friends and learning about your busy lives as well!
Every other year we host a wonderful group here, gathering for their Christmas reunion  from all over the country.  They were with us last Christmas, helping us bring in 2015. When they are with us, the place is jumping with their energy and enthusiasm! Christmas weather conditions provided us with a perfect ice surface on the bay – wide open, it was the location of an endless and roving hockey tournament, from first light until dark.  One of the great advantages at Bondi is that you can simply step out of the door and be on the ski trails, snowshoeing, or skating – no need to bundle up and then climb into a car to get somewhere first. We had some international guests too, enjoying a true Canadian Christmas season.  Now, if we could find another family that would like to get together here on those alternate years, it would be great!
Temperatures dropped in early January. Really dropped.  It was a cold winter. February was the coldest on record in fact, and we had 49 days when it was well below zero – far too often at  30 below. It is a dry cold, as they say, and yes you can dress for it and get out there. Our guests did just that, enjoying the ski trails and the evenings by the fire!  Brian and Dave did a lot of work on our ski trails – they are among the best in the region.
January also brought a pair of bald eagles to our bay, probably lured by the wolf-killed deer near Farside cottage.  It was a great year for the snowmobilers, with all trails open.  February brought the winter carnivals, and the airing of Say Yes to the Dress, episode 13, A Little Bit Country, featuring our own beautiful bride Megan (and Dave!)  Macleans magazine featured Napster and his artwork in the Feb. 22 on-line edition. It was our happy Media month! (you can find both on-line!)
March brought sadder moments.  We said goodbye to one of our very long time guests, Christian Jaekl. Then Carol fell, badly shattering her wrist and setting about coping with a cast for nine weeks!  It put a crimp into her activities, and rehab continues.
In April Brian underwent hip replacement surgery. While he had to skip about on crutches for a few months, he is now back to speed, and glad to be rid of that pain.  He did in fact forget he had this bionic hip, and set off all the airport alarms later in the year.
The continuing cold meant that the ice was still solid well into April – the boys took advantage to head out with golfcarts and play a round of golf (including the water trap created by the ice away at the main dock).  That ice left on April 27th, a little late but not that unusual.  The tree swallows returned April 12 – a bit early for them. Barn swallows came back May 1st. Both these species, once so numerous, are now in strong decline, so we welcome ours with open arms and well built bird houses. We also enjoyed having two pair of bluebirds with us again for the season.
With both Brian and Carol skipping about with crutches and casts, the rest of the crew were scrambling through the spring to get the resort ready for summer, the garden planted, and the myriad of spring jobs done.  There are a lot of ‘unseen’ jobs that happen to ensure our guests have a wonderful experience here. David and Megan were such a tremendous help, jumping right in to do any job necessary. Our long time housekeeper Sue Baker was (as ever) a life-saver, and we were lucky to have Mike Bechtel back for some short working visits.  We did plant a slightly smaller garden but the growing season wasn’t the best in any event. Up and down weather conditions through the Spring didn’t help the plants get started. There was a bumper crop of sweet corn though!
For Nancy, May was the cruelest month. On May 13 she had to put down Blizzard, her beloved companion of 18 years, after he contracted a lymphatic infection that could not be turned around.  Just six days later, Bailey, the grand old gray in the stable, suffered a gut torsion, and didn’t wait for the vet. The barn still feels hollow without those two grand lads within.  She still has Abby, and the pony Squeegee and a few boarders, plus an ever changing flock of chickens.  And Taffy, her beloved shadow.
June brought not only the first influx of our summer guests, but the first monarch butterfly – causing a flutter of excitement. This is another species, once so numerous here that is now so terribly rare. We saw more this summer than last, but they have not come close to recovering their numbers yet.
David and Megan escorting our Marathon Swimmers
Summer was busy. That pretty much says it all.  We had a visit in July from the S.S. Bigwin, moored at our dock while guests embarked for an 80th birthday cruise for Norman Williams. This was truly a gala affair, with a rented tent and catered dinner, involving virtually all of the Williams and Hadden families gathered together.  That celebration was shortly followed by a sad farewell to Evelyn Hadden, the matriarch of the Williams’ Clan, and a beloved guest who has anchored our summers here for the past 53 years.
We added a very popular ‘kid-sized paddleboat’ to our marina this year, to join the SUPs, canoes, kayaks, etc.  Trends come and go – right now it seems to be SUPs, nobody seems to remember how to use windsurfers anymore... next year it

will be something else, no doubt.   We didn’t race Clams this summer, but that event will return in 2016 – hopefully with bagpipers to celebrate the Gathering of the Clams!
We lost our cat, Napster, to cancer on July 4th,, aged 17 ½. During his art career, he raised over $12K for various charities. Truly a remarkable feat and an enormous legacy for a little ginger tabby cat. Unusually, we are still ‘without cat’ but hoping that will change.
Nancy is the Deputy Mayor for the Township of Lake of Bays this term, as well as Chair of the Heritage committee.  This gets her into some curious situations. In July, she was the tour guide for a group of 21 elders from the First Nations of Chippewa at Rama, on the S.S. Bigwin, sailing down the Lake to Bigwin Island and pointing out where their ancestors used to spend the summer.  In July she was part of the PanAmerican Games ‘team-makers’, officiating at the equestrian games.
There was no shortage of wildlife around. The deer population has decreased to a more sustainable level, in part because they have eaten up most of the winter browse in the woods, and in part because of the active wolf pack currently here. These wolves provided a lot of fabulous Wolf Howl opportunities for our guests – while Algonquin Park for the second year running was not able to offer their fabulous program because their wolves weren’t accessible for the large groups, our wolves happily howled for us from so close by we started to recognize their individual voices.  Brian, working on his rehab, was biking near the Firehall when he heard them in the field, paused, howled at them, and was answered by nine of them trotting across the field toward him to say hello.    In August a beaver moved into the bay, and began his timber operation right at the edge of Lantern cottage’s deck – much to the entertainment of the guests within.  He is back in the bay this autumn, clearing out some of the waterfront, opening up the view, as they say.   Four snapping turtles dug their nests at Dave and Megan’s – these were swiftly protected by wire mesh and heavy rocks to keep fox and raccoon at bay, and all nests hatched out successfully later in the year.
The autumn colours have always been a huge draw in this area, but of late it seems they have been discovered by our new Canadians – Algonquin Park in the high colour season is jam-packed, as is the Dorset Tower.  It truly is worth coming up to see the season, but we would suggest that you enjoy our trails rather than beat your way through the traffic, at least on the weekends. Our trees are every bit as colourful, and from the top of our Lookout, you can see the Dorset Tower.
David and Megan celebrated their first anniversary as a couple in September.  They are continuing to settle into their house – Dave’s construction skills and Megan’s artistic talents come together beautifully.  In November they went on a cruise through the Caribbean. Brian and Carol took two weeks to go to Longboat Key in Florida.  They needed the time to decompress after the difficult spring and busy summer and fall.
photo taken by Devin Crawley, from our Lookout,
5 a.m. in July. Welcome sunrise!
As always, there are renovations and improvements happening at Bondi. We have no trouble keeping busy 12 months of the year!  Our industry is changing – more people are going to the private rental cottages it seems. We are convinced that we still offer a better option, though, with amenities and on-site management and a sense of belonging that aren’t available through those unregulated rentals.  We are very grateful to our returning guests who seem to share that point of view!  We are seeing some of our neighbouring resorts calling it a day as it gets harder and harder to comply with the regulations and costs that apply to resorts but not to private renters. Once gone, those resorts will be gone forever, taking with them not only wonderful family experiences but plenty of student summer jobs. 

That is our cautionary rant for this season...  With David and Megan looking ahead to Bondi’s future, we plan to be here for years to come and hope that you will join us.

This year it looks like we will be having a  rare Almost-Green Christmas. We’ve seen this before – in fact, back in 1926 Grandfather Joseph went golfing on January 16, commenting “most unusual winter”  There is snow currently on the ground, and more will come.  Winter sports will happen – Hidden Valley is already open for skiing, our Frisbee golf course is fabulous this time of year, hiking cannot be equaled. Winter can happen fast, so we remain of good cheer. We like our changing seasons – in this era of Climate Instability, they seem a bit more changeable than ever!

We hope for all of you a year full of peace and plenty, good health and happiness, from all of the Tapleys’ at Bondi!

“Christmas is not a time nor 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.

Blackberry gets a Makeover

We've been hard at work all around the resort this fall, but Blackberry cottage got probably the most interior 'fluffing up' of all.

New floors, new curtains, new paintwork. A bit of this, a dash of that...

We're pretty darn pleased with the result.

This is our dog-friendly cottage, located just off the main resort property.   Tucked in the woods, it is quite private, with a view down to the lake.

It's pretty common to find a deer or two hanging out over here.