My first real retirement tour was last week to Bruce Peninsula in Ontario with my daughter and grandkids! What a fun time we had! A couple of scary moments, a lot of laughs and some wonderful memories made in some ahhh inspiring Beauty!
I have never spent a lot of time in The Bruce Peninsula. I have gone on the Chi Cheemaun Ferry a few times as well have a few friends in the area so I was very much looking forward to exploring.
We made our base at Sauble Provincial Park. Another Provincial park I have not been to before but would definitely go again. The electrical campsites were spacious but a little open, you know how I am lol, but the Van parked on one side and trees on the other fixed that. A playground close by for the kids and a water falls for cooling off just across the road. The water was beautiful and ran pretty fast but was only knee deep. There were a lot of people there as it was a nice spot to put your feet in and cool off while watching the wildlife. Watching the Cormoran dive and play in the water was funny! He was definitely having a great time in the rushing water!
The first place we went was Spirit Rock and the ruins of the McNeil Estate! I love ruins and old architecture. The stories that those old walls could tell. The main part of the 17 room stone mansion was called the Corran. Corran is Gaelic for ‘point of land running into the sea’. Below are pictures of what is left but standing amid the ruins you can imagine the grandness of the structure.
The home was owned by the first member of Parliment for Bruce County Alexander McNeil, his wife Hester and son Malcolm. Hester passed away young even before the mansion was finished. After Alexander passed it was left to his son Malcolm who left the mansion to party away the family fortune. After 2 sales and a fire it was sold to the conservation area and is now a popular attraction! It was neat to stand in the ruins and imagine what it was in its glory!
The story behind Spirit Rock is a sad tale as most are. A forbidden love that ends in tragedy! A woman falls in love with a man from a rival tribe. When the tribe finds out the man is thrown off the cliff. The woman is heartbroken and with cries of woe throws herself off the cliff to be forever reunited with the man she loves!
The path to Spirit Rock is not for the faint of heart! Lol! The first obstical is the steel spiral staircase that decends to another flight of rock stairs! Well rocks trying to be stairs. It took me a couple of tries to get down the spiral staircase. I am terrified of heights! Like do not go within 5 feet of the edge scared of heights! Lol! But I did it!! Holding on for dear life all the way!! Lmao!!!
Getting to the bottom is another set of stone stairs with a railing decending further down to the waters edge. Pretty sure those stairs although not straight down was more difficult to maneuver than the spiral staircase! It was a workout!! We walked along the water stopping to let the kids swim in the ohhhhh so cold water and put our feet in. What a pretty path. We walked for about an hour and turned around. I wish it had better mapping as we did not exactly know where we were going! I missed seeing Spirit Rock but felt the spirit of the forest! It was beautiful! Maybe they were reunited after all!
While we were there we had to go visit The Grotto! The Grotto is an inlet on Georgian bay and one of the most talked about places on the Bruce Peninsula! Just a hint…Parking lot 1 is the closest!!! Lol!
The path to the Grotto is paved and easy to walk! Winding through a beautiful forest and is about a 45 min hike from Parking lot 1. If you are going in peak season make sure you reserve a parking spot early as there is limited space and fills up fast. Although the path is easy to get to getting into the Grotto is not. Climbing down rocks is the only way in but is well worth the climb! What a beautiful place! The water is crystal clear and the sound of the waves crashing was sooo relaxing! Small pools in the dips in the rocks was warm on the feet. The water splashing on the rocks was flippin cold!!! It is Georgian Bay after all!! There is a shelf that goes out about 10′ with ankle high water then you dropped into there is not a bottom! I watched as young men and women jumped off the cliffs into the water. Lol! Ummm ya no!!! Why would you jump off a perfectly good cliff???
Because its fun they said!!! Hahaha! OK!
In the middle of the Peninsula there is a little town called Ferndale with a small outdoor diner called RB’s Diner! My friend Randy owns it. He bought it in March and it is definitely a stop along the way!! Randy is an awesome cook! Anytime we were getting together and Randy is cooking is a good time to be on time for the food! He was a chef in Niagara Falls and just like I was expecting it was a wonderful greeting and a fabulous meal. More than I could eat although I sooo wanted to eat it all! Quality and quantity at a price you can afford! If your passing through make sure you stop and say Hi and tell him Chipmunk sent you!!
Thats not the end of the adventure! There are a few more places to see and one of those finds that you just come across that turns out to be a OH Ya!!!
Stay tuned for the Continued Chipmunk Adventure on the Bruce Peninsula!
See you Next time!