Honey Harbor, Ontario
When the wind and waves were moderately high, my family and I were stuck on small Thibodeau Island. Our boat was too small to ride comfortably and safely through the whitecaps. We loved that feeling of isolation. And we found that by evening or the next day the wind would die down.Skip to next paragraph
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Somehow there's something romantic about being marooned on an island, particularly if it is temporary, if there is no vital reason to be anywhere else , and if the vistas are as beautiful as they are in this area of Thirty Thousand Islands in Lake Huron.
Another calming thought was that the rental ''meter'' was ticking along at only a slow pace. With the Canadian dollar costing only about 80 American cents, my US dollars were stretching decidedly further. This comfortable cottage on the rocky shore, with three bedrooms and another separate bedroom in a guesthouse up the hill, was renting for a bit more than $40 a night.
In fact, Canada can be a vacation bargain these days. We had learned of our cottage from a friend's recommendation. But Ontario has an excellent travel information system in the United States to help prospective tourists. You call 1 -800-828-8585 from any state except Hawaii and Alaska (or 1-800-462-8404 from New York State) and those answering will send you a Traveler's Encyclopedia, a booklet of Accommodations, an Official Road Map, and probably other pamphlets if you have something specific in mind.
Of course, picking a cottage by telephone anywhere is taking a pig in a poke - it's risky. But the booklet does at least list the prices, facilities, and services offered by each accommodation. These prices are relatively inexpensive compared with those in New England or New York. And certainly this Georgian Bay area is delightful, with its many islands and channels that are fun for boating or fishing. In midsummer the water is decidedly cool, but not frigid.
What we did on this vacation was first drive 10 hours from Boston to Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. With some 12 million tourists visiting each year, the downtown falls area has developed into a sort of high-class Coney Island. The Niagara Parks Commission maintains a beautiful strip of parkland, including a greenhouse and floral clock, along the Ontario side of the Niagara River and the falls. Behind this strip, all sorts of entertainment for visitors has sprung up. There's a Marineland with its killer whale and dolphin shows; two towers with dining rooms on top overlooking the falls; two sizable, relatively clean, and fancy amusement parks, and more smaller ones; a giant water slide; Niagara Falls museum, a wax museum; shops galore; and many other attractions, some of which might be classified as ''tourist traps.'' To me, the carnival atmosphere takes away from the majesty of the falls themselves. Our children thought differently.