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How to Enjoy Summer in Southern Georgian Bay

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How to Enjoy Summer in Southern Georgian Bay


Road trips are an essential part of summer and an inexpensive way to take a vacation. If you live in Toronto or the GTA consider a day trip down to the Southern Georgian Bay area this summer. Whether you hike, bike or drive, there are plenty of routes, sites and activities to find in this geologically diverse corner of Ontario.


To inspire your next getaway, we asked Beverley Smith, the illustrator of the new book Backroads of Southern Georgian Bay about her favourite day trip, picnic lunch spots and places to explore in the Southern Georgian Bay area.


What’s your favourite backroad day trip?


Beverley Smith: One of my favourite backroad day trips is route #1 in Backroads of Southern Georgian Bay because it takes me to the beautiful Pretty River Provincial Park, through the graceful farmlands, across country and past Lake Eugenia. Driving along the Beaver Valley road, I’ll end up in Flesherton, a small town which boasts a great bakery and cheese shop, a gallery and cafe.


What do you typically pack and wear?


B.S.: If I am driving this route, I wear my hiking shoes and pack a couple of bottles of water plus an incredible picnic. You can find delicious recipes for power snacks and picnics in Backroads of Southern Georgian Bay such as honey basil chicken, a potato salad, a carrot apple salad and yummy maple coconut squares.


How will you spend the day?


B.S.: I’ll head out first thing in the morning and then stop to do a bit of a hike on the Bruce Trail in the Pretty River Provincial Park. Then I’ll get back in the car and make my way to Flesherton. After a stroll through this charming town, I will head back along highway 4 to Grey road 13 and find the lookout.


Where’s a great place to stop for lunch?


B.S.: Stop for lunch at the Beaver Valley Lookout on Grey road 13 south of Eugenia for a spectacular view to enjoy while you eat.


What’s the plan for after lunch?


B.S.: After lunch I might opt for another walk on the Bruce Trail or simply head north and make a stop in the wee town of Kimberley. I love parking here and taking a walk along the main road of Kimberley to admire the lovely old Grist Mill, church, school and other notable buildings. The back streets in this town are rarely explored but so worth the walk.


Then I’d enjoy the ever so peaceful drive through the Beaver Valley to Heathcote. The Beaver River moves quietly through the valley and crosses the under the bridge in Heathcote. One day I’d love to come back here and rent a canoe and paddle my way down from Kimberley river access to Heathcote.


We love your amazing illustrations in the book. As a professional artist do you, enjoy visiting art galleries in the area?


B.S.: The final leg of the valley road will take me into Clarksburg which is proudly calling itself “Artsburg” these days due to the influx of galleries and a wonderful antique shop. Halfway between Clarksburg and the adjoining town of Thornbury, the public library hosts a wonderful gallery.  I love seeing the latest show and admiring this architecturally interesting building. (As a bonus, bathrooms are available here).


What else can you do in Thornbury?


B.S.: In Thornbury, I like to browse many shops and wander down to the harbour. Walking around Thornbury either down the main street, the back streets or along the waterfront, is always so enjoyable. Thornbury is the quintessential small Ontario town with stately old brick homes, attractive shops and the infamous “fish ladder”. This ladder is at the dam where the Beaver River flows down to Georgian Bay.  It is a natural pathway for spawning Rainbow Trout and Chinook Salmon.


What route will you take to head back home?


B.S.: Since I began my journey in Collingwood, I’ll take highway 26 from Thornbury and head east along the shoreline back to Collingwood. I just love this route and never tire of using this loop route to entertain friends, visitors or for a solo day trip. There are so many different opportunities to walk, bike, shop and eat!


What can readers expect from your book “Backroads of Southern Georgian Bay”?


B.S.: You can plan the perfect summer day trip by picking up a copy of Backroads of Southern Georgian Bay and reading up on the history of the area, the hamlets and the towns. Then bring the book with you on your day trip to use as a guide to the place you choose to visit. For example, as you arrive in Rob Roy, you can read about how this settlement got its name and when the first settlers made this their home. As you flip through the pages of this book, you’ll learn to appreciate how southern Georgian Bay developed and what continues to make the area so special.


More about the book:
Lynne Barnes, Keri Lockhart and Beverley Smith have lived in and around southern Georgian Bay for many years and combined have hiked, biked, skied and driven down nearly every trail and road in the area. Backroads of Southern Georgian Bay is their selection of the 11 best day trips off the beaten path. You can bike along a path that was once an Ojibwa hunting trail, drive along an explorer's trade route and visit intriguingly named places like Little Egypt, Rob Roy and Hurlburt's Landing.


Get the book:

b2ap3_thumbnail_9780228103653-2.jpg Backroads of Southern Georgian Bay




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