Tourism Ontario Days 8-10: Cyprus Lake and The Grotto

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One week into our vacation with our American guests, we were headed to Cyprus Lake (above) and Tobermory.  Tobermory is located at the tip where Lake Huron spills into Georgian Bay, and where gorgeous, breath-taking, stunning, doesn’t even begin to describe the beauty of this landscape and body of water.

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Normally in Ontario one has to sit at their computer at 7 a.m. five months in advance of the date you’re wanting to book a site.  Because of this, I thought for certain I would not stand a chance booking a site a couple of weeks in advance.  The thought hadn’t occurred to me to take the girls this far north and west while vacationing here. But the bug got a hold of me just prior to their arriving, and so I just had to see if there were any sites left.  Lo and behold it was meant to be because when I searched, there were a few sites remaining, and obviously one with our name on it.

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Cyprus Lake (the campground is officially called Bruce Peninsula National Park) sits about 10-15 mins south of Tobermory, and holds 232 drive in non-serviceable campsites (and they also have Yurt sites).  If you like your showers, this is not the campsite for you.  It holds the basics as far as washrooms (which by that I mean outhouses), but there is one wheelchair accessible flush toilet at the main centre on the way into the campground where you check-in and buy firewood and ice.

This has been the quietest campground I’ve yet to encounter.  Maybe it was just that we had polite, quiet, introverted neighbours for that weekend.  They do hold to a rule of campfires being out by 11pm which greatly cuts down on noise.  I remember waking at night and being impressed with just how quiet it was all around us.

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Hubby and I spent the second week of our honeymoon here at Cyprus Lake 23 years ago.  Since then we visited twice more in our early years of marriage, so it’s been at least 20 years since then.  So this was a highlight for me to get back there again to the beauty of this part of Ontario, and to share it with some of my children.

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I may have said Cyprus Lake and the town of Tobermory were Ontario’s best kept secrets 20 years ago. But no more.  As a friend just pointed out, it was listed as Canada’s fourth best vacation destination!  Now, I’m not sure I should have said that since an overpopulation of people hiking this landscape and shouldering each other in the small town of Tobermory isn’t appealing to me.  So I guess advertising for it isn’t the best idea, yet here I am doing it. Who can’t not post pictures of this amazing place!

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We travelled from a Tuesday to a Thursday there, so I think we were probably among the numbers of regular summer visitors as opposed to the increased numbers who travel there on weekends, and heaven forbid, long weekends.

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We were somewhat excited to see the sign posted that a bear was in the area, because all of us were really wanting to spot one (from the van windows of course, not while hiking or sitting around the campfire.)

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After setting up our campsite, we headed through part of the Cyprus Lake Trail towards The Grotto.  We hadn’t enough time at Cyprus Lake to spend hiking the whole way around it, nor even the time to swim in it, with all there was to do while there.  So I’m already thinking I need to book there again next year.

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When we reached the opening to The Grotto, it once again took my breath away, just as it did 20 years ago.  It’s like something tropical and panoramically stunning.  Photos just don’t do it justice.

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The trail we took wasn’t wheelchair or stroller friendly, but I’ve read a review that there is a middle trail that is accessible for strollers and wheelchairs to reach The Grotto.  However, once, at The Grotto, it involves climbing down rocks to get to the water.

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The water was bitingly ice cold.  I had no problem putting my feet in for a dip, but to swim? Not for me!  However, I coaxed the girls on, that they really needed to be able to say to their family that they had swam in Georgian Bay.  They agreed, some braver than others, diving in!

I was happy enough to stay along the shoreline and observe.

After an amazing few hours at The Grotto, we headed back along the trail to our campsite, only littlest broke into tears, starting to feel unwell.  We wondered if the shock of the cold water did it to her.  She spent the night with a headache and throwing up, poor thing.

But as per usual, she bounced back quickly by the morning and was up chattering everyone’s ears off about what we were to do this day, and how excited she was to go on the boat from Tobermory over to Flowerpot Island.  And this, my friends, is the destination of our next post together.  See you then!

 

 

 

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