To all our friends at Christmas…
2020… That says it all. The year began with a birthday party for Piper, grandma Carol who shares the date, and Grandad Peter who follows by a day.
It was a cold winter- the snow came in November, and the temperature seemed unrelenting. Our guests enjoyed it. Brian and Dave were kept busy moving the snow, and grooming the trails, and working on the new CEDARS cottage.
In February David and Mike went to Sun Peaks in BC for a week of mountain skiing. Megan stayed home with Piper, who at two, was busy with EarlyOn, Dance and Music classes – and just being a toddler. Her favourite is Grandma Carol’s house, where she loves to sit on the pool cover and play!
We began, like all of you, to hear about a new virus in China… and then in March we were shut as a non-essential business. Nancy had a hip replacement March 14 – she was the last patient through surgery before the Barrie hospital shut down, so was very lucky.
The work at the resort didn’t stop – the garden had to be planted, grass had to be cut, cottages had to be spring cleaned and renovations done. And Cedars continued to be built. The lads put a new roof on Sunflower and new floors in Beaver, and Carol made new curtains and oversaw new furniture. In many ways this was a great place to quarantine, with so much space to roam and things to do.
Nancy had organized a crew of ten people taking turns in the barn to help after her surgery, pre-COVID-19, but that alarmingly dropped to 3… She spent a lot of time walking the driveway with walker, then with cane. With no guests, she turned to social media, posting a daily “Bondi Moment” to our viewers. Taffy was thrilled with the lockdown – she had her “people” here 24/7.
Unsure if we would be allowed to be open, we worked out a safe protocol for ourselves and our guests that included a four-day quarantine between bookings. It took all of May and June to work out a new schedule with everyone and thank you so much for being accommodating! We missed our American and overseas friends who simply could not keep their bookings.
Meanwhile, the finishing touches went on CEDARS, and wow… it is gorgeous.
In the general absence of people, wildlife became bolder, including a fox who thought that the take out was open even if the restaurant was closed—we lost quite a few chickens to him! And then learned that chickens were like toilet paper and yeast… people were apparently buying them up and you could not get any!
In late May, ATVs tore up our gravel pit – and the trail through the black spruce bog. Our post on that garnered 9700 hits. All sympathetic, but bogs are very unforgiving, and the damage cannot be repaired.
Mid-June saw a tornado hit Dwight/South Portage. Tremendous tree damage, but not much property damage, and it didn’t hit us. Thankfully. It did mean power was out for a week for many people.
The last week of June we received word that we could open. Trying to stay on top of all the restrictions meant it was a very different summer, in some ways harkening back to the 1950s. We could not have water toys, boat rentals, cook-outs, even the Marathon Swim and Wolf Howls were off limits. Our guests were very glad to finally be out of the city – everyone was good about staying in their “bubbles” here, and enjoying the lake, and trails, and all that Bondi offers. Our four-day turnover meant that we were about 70% for occupancy, but everyone was safe. We star watched Neowise comet, listened to loons, owls and wolves, hiked, berry picked… in many ways it was an “old fashioned” summer.
We found that despite the staggered bookings we were doing more work, with housekeeping and changeovers almost every day. Poor Carol and Courtney (Megan’s sister) took the brunt of that!! Nancy was happy that her hip now allowed her to help with the housekeeping – and to once again get on the horses!
We bid farewell to two Bondi guests, both coming for well over 45 years and part of the family. Henry Schogt and Dave Rogers both passed this year. They will be missed here.
With Labour Day everything changed again – we enjoy hosting a lot of groups and clubs, and they were still not permitted to gather. We threw in the towel after Thanksgiving and closed until mid-December – to give all of us a break, and to get the cottages fall cleaned. We all needed a break after dealing with all the ever-changing covid rules!
We were hit with a big wind storm in late October, that took down about seven trees at the resort – including the huge old spruce at Tamarack. It fell on the cottage, smashing rafters. Luckily Brian, Dave and Mike were able to remove the tree, and repair the damage. It also took an iconic cedar on the waterfront and a big spruce in front of the new cottage. That one missed the cottage, but flattened a new picnic table. We are so blessed that Brian, David and Mike have the skills to fix ‘anything.’
Brian, who was able to fly more than usual during the spring shut down, took David Nov. 8 for a big circle flight over Orillia, Swift Rapids, Minden, Huntsville and home. The weather was perfect.
Piper was happy when her dance class (safely) resumed. It was hard on the kids, not seeing their friends. This was perhaps the best place to be! She spent the summer swimming, riding Squeegee, and being a two-year-old. They acquired a cat – with the luxurious name of Spectre Galore – this fall, which Piper adores. Pemberley and Thistle have yet to meet him. She has her first pair of skis, and all we need is more snow.
As of Dec. 17, the bay has just frozen over, and we have a skiff of snow. Brian, David and Alex have been working on the ski trails. Hopefully they will get a lot of use!
Megan continues her riding lessons – and is expanding her repertoire to include side saddle. She will be ready for the next Downton Abbey series! Most of her time is being a full-time Mom to a red headed toddler. Her sister Courtney has become a true asset to the resort, putting her hand to anything, and sharing Carol’s love of gardening! We are grateful for her, and her partner Alex for all the help.
Nancy was introduced to Zoom meetings for Council just a few days after her surgery. Don’t tell, but she was still in pajamas. Her term as Deputy Mayor ends in December, so now she is “merely” councilor. It is plenty!
And that brings us to Christmas – and a return of lockdown for Covid. The coming winter is quiet for the resort – so much of our winter is usually welcoming groups from various clubs, and that can’t happen. We are a great place to social distance, if you are thinking of a ‘stay put’ vacation
We – all of us - can only take it a day at a time. With the vaccine arriving, it is a time to be hopeful.
A time to build up, a time to dance, a time to refrain from embracing, a time to speak. He hath made time every thing beautiful in His time. And this, too, shall pass.
We wish all our friends and family a peaceful season, and good health and happiness in the coming year. Stay safe. Wear a mask. Smile with your eyes and your heart.