Let’s get one thing clear from the beginning, ok? It’s Muskoka not "The Muskokas." Only a complete ignoramus would call it that. Sheesh.
Fine the ignoramus was me and I’m grateful for the kindness of a reader on Life In Pleasantville who pointed out that Muskoka is one of a kind, so it's never plural. Dodged a bullet there.
I’ve been in Ontario for 43 years and had only visited Muskoka briefly as a child. I barely remembered it. When I heard people speak of it I didn't really get it. I mean, Ontario is gorgeous all over the place, couldn’t I get that feeling somewhere else? The short answer is no. The longer answer is that Muskoka is unique and worth your time. Here are five reasons why you must visit:
Know Muskoka, Know Peace
Seriously, can we find a way to bottle this tranquility Muskoka? Just driving to our resort I felt my shoulders leave their usual position up by my ears. You are surrounded by beauty in Muskoka, so it's not hard to see why the rich and famous have been building retreats here for over 150 years. It's 2500 square miles of serenity now. For us city folk, that's gold. Pure gold.
To be Charmed
Make no mistake, you'll find no sticky sweet manufactured charm in these parts. Nope, Muskoka comes by it all naturally. From the rustic cottages to the stunning "summer" homes, you won't be able to lift your jaw off the ground. You'll find bakeries in converted churches and yoga classes run over a pond. The shops are unique and there is no way you can leave without taking something uniquely Muskoka home with you. I fell in love with the stores and people in Port Carling in particular.
No urban sprawl here. In fact you'll be hard pressed to find a high rise anywhere. No great swaths of concrete highway either. Just gorgeous trees reaching high towards the sky and over 1600 lakes. If you enjoy driving, like I do, then Muskoka will be a real treat. Every twist in the road reveals another stunning view. The roads are curvy too so you can’t speed along mindlessly. Nope this is truly where you get to enjoy the ride.
It's An Antique Gold Mine
Antiques abound in Muskoka and this was an unexpected but pleasant surprise for me. I only wish I'd had more time to really explore through more shops. I did however score a pristine collection of Vintage Pyrex Delphite Blue dishes, a gorgeous pink depression-era serving bowl, a pink depression-era citrus reamer and a FireKing Lusterware mixing bowl. If you're not into antiques this means nothing to you, if you are, then you can practically hear my delighted squeals.
It's About Connection
It's hard not to find connection in Muskoka, and I'm not talking about your cell phone. Find connection with the land or the water if communing with nature is your thing. More importantly though, Muskoka is the ideal place to find connection with those you love. Bring your spouse, your children, your parents, your siblings or your friends. Muskoka is like a great big group hug.
I can hardly wait to return to you Muskoka, because I get it now. I finally get it. To know you is to love you.
Photo credit: Hazel Brae