The Blue Mountains

Length of stay3 days
May 2021

The Blue Mountains are located along the southern shore of Georgian Bay and feature a variety of recreational activities for every season. During the winter it is a top destination in southwestern Ontario for snowboarding, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. During the spring, summer and fall there are plenty of activities to do in and around the rugged shores of Georgian Bay, including hiking, swimming, fishing and boating.

K’s aunt and uncle, P & K, recently bought a house in Collingwood and invited us to come up to visit. Since restrictions in Ontario have been gradually easing, for the Victoria Day long weekend we decided to take them up on their offer.

Day 1: Sunset Point

On the drive up to Collingwood we stopped at Hockley Valley Provincial Nature Reserve to knock another park off the list on our Ontario Parks Challenge. It was hot and humid with the promise of rain was on the forecast. Despite the weather, it felt great to be out on the trail. We arrived in Collingwood in the late afternoon. After taking a tour through their new house and catching up, we headed out for dinner. By this time the clouds had started to clear and the sun was out.

For dinner we decided to pick up takeaway from Mountain Shores Pizza, which is reputed to offer the best pizza in Collingwood, and drive down to Sunset Point Park to eat along the water. Sunset Point Park is situated along the waterfront of Georgian Bay and is known to be the best spot in the area to watch the sun go down. We packed a couple of bevvies and found a nice spot out on the rocks.

We stayed for a couple of hours and watched the sun melt into the horizon. I’d say the park lived up to its name.

Afterwards we headed west and drove along the shoreline to check out the small peninsula where the Collingwood grain terminals building is located. On the way we spotted a little lighthouse in the harbour and naturally stopped to take a couple of pictures.

Unfortunately it was a bit too dark by the time we arrived at the grain terminal buildings and none of my shots turned out. We then drove back to P & K’s for dessert. They had picked up a variety of desserts from a vegan bakery to sample.

Day 2: Day-Trip Around the Area

This morning we woke up to a damp and dreary day. It was blustery and lightly raining outside. According to the weather forecast the bulk of the rain had passed and it was supposed to clear up later in the afternoon. We had plans for the day to drive around the southern shore of Georgian Bay and check out the neighbouring towns. After eating breakfast we headed out to first pick up doughnuts. Priorities.

Nicky’s is reputed to have the best doughnuts in town, which are all freshly handmade. We arrived at Nicky’s a few minutes prior to opening as according to P & K, they often sell out on the weekend. Since it was the long weekend, we didn’t want to take any chances.

Once we secured our doughnuts we drove to the Blue Mountain Village, which is an alpine ski resort situated on a section of the Niagara Escarpment. Every winter thousands of tourists flock here to ski and snowboard. Apparently it is one of the largest resorts in Ontario and is the third-busiest ski resort in Canada.

It felt like we stumbled into Europe with its cobblestone streets. Much of the village felt deserted as all the shops and restaurants were still closed due to the stay-at-home order. In some ways maybe it was better this way as it wasn’t crowded.

By the time we finished exploring the Village, we drove to the nearby Craigleith Provincial Parkto eat our doughnuts by the water. Craigleith is a relatively small park that is famous for its offshore fishing, discovering fossils along the shore and it’s great views of Georgian Bay. We walked through an empty campsite and found a nice spot along the rocks overlooking the water.

After exploring Craigleith, we hopped back in the car and drove to Thornbury. We happened to pass the Thornbury Village Cider and Brew House along the way, which seemed like a good sign to pick up some cider. Unfortunately Ontario is still under a stay-at-home order and their patio was closed. However, they were open for pick-up. Alcohol is considered essential after all. We selected a few interesting sounding flavours and continued our drive along Georgian Bay.

By this time the clouds were starting to clear and the sun was poking out. We parked downtown and headed towards the Thornbury Harbour. Along the way we picked up some ice cream.

Thornbury Harbour is located at the south end of Nottawasaga Bay at the mouth of the Beaver River. Because of COVID, many of the boats were still out of the water.

During our walk through the harbour, we came across the Georgian Trail, which spans 34km along the southern shore of Georgian Bay between Collingwood and Meaford. We followed the path for a short stretch along the Beaver River and learned more about the history of the Thornbury dam.

We circled back towards the car and continued our drive through Thornbury into Meaford. We made another detour to drive by some of the houses along the shore and stopped at Christie Beach Conservation Area. With a sandy shore and picnic tables, this looked like a great place to go for a swim. Too bad we didn’t bring our bathing suits, although the water was probably too cold still.

At last we made it to our final destination of the day at Meaford. We drove through the town and stopped at a picnic area along the shore of Georgian Bay. We picked up a box of timbits (because clearly we haven’t had enough sweets today), grabbed a couple of ciders that we bought earlier from the Thornbury Village Cider and Brew House and found a picnic table overlooking the water.

The drive back to Collingwood was much quicker as we didn’t make any stops along the way. It was now time to eat a proper meal!! We spent the remainder of the evening playing cards and just relaxing.

Day 3: The Drive Back Home

We may have gotten too much sun yesterday. I had regrets about not wearing sunscreen and drinking enough water. But that didn’t stop us from going for a hike on the drive back to Toronto. I had more regrets about that later. After eating breakfast we headed out to go for a hike at Duncan Escarpment Provincial Nature Reserve since it’s close to Collingwood. It felt good to burn off all the sweets and treats from yesterday.

That concludes our visit to the Blue Mountains. While all the shops and many of the restaurants were still closed due to the stay-at-home order, in some ways it felt nice to explore this area without having to elbow our way through the crowds.


102 thoughts on “The Blue Mountains

  1. leightontravels says:

    Great views complemented with delicious, naughty food. The donuts look great, as do the sunset shots. I see what you mean about Blue Mountain Village, definitely a European vibe. Every place you visited on this trip looks beautiful. Thanks for sharing a bit of Canada with us. Have a great weekend!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s always nice to sometimes indulge a bit (okay, more like a lot) while on vacation. The shoreline around Georgian Bay is incredibly scenic with plenty of charming towns, beautiful beaches, and great hiking trails. I would love to retire here someday. Thanks for reading. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The rugged shore around Georgian Bay is gorgeous. It’s no surprise that the Group of Seven painters drew much inspiration from this area. Some of my favourite parks and hiking trails can be found along Georgian Bay. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Even though all the shops and many of the restaurants were closed, it was kind of nice to visit without many tourists around. The Blue Mountains area (and let’s be real, anywhere along Georgian Bay) looks like a lovely area to retire. And yes, I would highly recommend a visit to Nicky’s for some doughnuts the next time you’re in the area! Mmm.

  2. Monkey's Tale says:

    Lovely sunset. I’ve been to Blue Mountain for a conference quite a few years ago but I don’t remember the cute village. Guess I didn’t explore it enough. Looks like a great May long.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      There’s no better way to end the day than by watching a beautiful sunset. The Blue Mountains area is super charming and it looks like a great area to live year round. It’s always nice to have an extra day off but long weekends never quite feel long enough!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. Georgian Bay is such a lovely area and clearly a great spot to watch sunsets. It’s always nice to treat yourself while on vacation and those doughnuts were definitely a delicious treat!

  3. Ab says:

    That looked like a wonderful weekend! How wonderful to have family to visit at beautiful Collingwood. I loved how you described the sunset of the sun melting into the horizon, a nice way to think about a gorgeous sunset!

    I’m also guessing you are a donut kind of gal now. 😉 They look delicious as does the lime vodka drink you had.

    I can imagine those empty patios being very full this summer as things reopen!

    For our Roadtrip this summer, our last stop will be in the Collingwood and Blue Mountain area. Can’t wait to check it out now thanks to your update!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The Blue Mountains area is beautiful. It’s always nice to take advantage of free accommodations and be shown the attractions from the locals! We definitely went overboard with all the sweets and treats. No regrets!! What better way to end your road trip than by visiting Collingwood and the Blue Mountain area! I’m sure those patios will be packed now that Ontario is reopening! Hope you had a good weekend. Take care.

      • Ab says:

        Thank you, L! We’re off this week and just vegging out. Thought about going to Presquile on Canada’s Day but gonna los down on a couch instead. 🤣 I think this is your camping week right? Enjoy!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        We’re off this week as well. We had a bit of a delayed start to our road trip because of the rain on Friday and Saturday so we left a couple days later. We spent the last two days on Manitoulin Island and are now driving in through Sudbury to camp at Windy Lake. It feels nice to get away. Enjoy your time off and I hope it’s filled with lots of rest and relaxation.

      • Ab says:

        Wow, that just sounds amazing! Such beautiful places. Will you be visiting Killarney too? Enjoy!!!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Unfortunately we won’t be visiting Killarney on this trip. We initially planned to visit Killarney at the end of April, but that got cancelled because of the extended stay-at-home order. We rebooked for May, but that got cancelled as well. We’re hoping to try again for later in the fall. Maybe third time will be the charm for reserving a site!

      • Ab says:

        My colleague went to view fall colours in Killarney last year and her photos were stunning. Maybe third time is indeed the charm that’s meant to be! 🤞🏻

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I bet. Fingers crossed!! I’d love to book one of their heated cabins again, but those things have been more competitive than trying to book a campsite at Sandbanks!!

      • Ab says:

        Good luck with that! 🤣

        Speaking of Sandbanks, someone in a group I’m in posted a series of Sandbanks photos yesterday. I havent been in many years and looks so idyllic. One day soon!

        Hope you’re enjoying your camping week!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Sandbanks is beautiful. I can easily see why it’s so popular. We visited for a day over Easter when it wasn’t too busy. I used to camp here with my sisters, but it just became too competitive for us to reserve something so we started going to Presqu’ile instead. No complaints as that’s another beautiful (and sandy) park!

        It was so nice to take all of last week off. We managed to have pretty decent weather despite the initial forecast. It mostly rained overnight or while we were driving. There was one evening where it rained a lot so we just decided to stay in a hotel rather that set-up our tent in the rain. Best decision ever. But overall it was a great trip, we got to explore a few new parks, and collect some more park patches!

      • Ab says:

        Presquile is indeed beautiful and I hope we can visit at least once this summer.

        Glad to hear you had a good time and mostly good weather. And yes, great idea to hotel it. Being in a tent on a stormy night is never fun especially the day after with the clean up! 🙂

        Look forward to your recap!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        It’s always a real struggle to set-up or take down your tent while it’s raining, especially on a road trip. I’ve been debating about whether to book a few nights here and there in a motel during our two week Northern Ontario road trip …just in case.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The Blue Mountain Village has a very European feel to it. It felt kind of eerie visiting when all the shops were closed and there was hardly no one else around. It would be nice to return to get a sense of what the atmosphere is usually like when everything is open.

  4. ourcrossings says:

    Such wonderful photos 🙂 Nature is natural fuel for the soul and taking just a few minutes out of your day to experience some of the breath-taking moments of a sunset will be worth it. Those donuts look super yummy 🙂

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. It’s always great to spend the weekend outdoors, especially when the weather is nice. It felt good to just slow down and soak in the sunset. Those doughnuts were delicious. It’s always great to treat yourself while on holiday!

  5. wetanddustyroads says:

    Drinking Lime Vodka while looking at that beautiful sunset … I can do that! Your doughnuts and ice-creams … wow, all those delicious treats just make me want to go a road trip right now!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s always nice to treat yourself while on holiday and to slow down and focus on the simple things in life, like watching the sunset. It’s funny how I usually don’t pay much attention to the sunrise or sunset until I’m on vacation. All the more reason to take time off work every once in awhile!

  6. Rose says:

    Gorgeous sunset photos from Sunset Point Park, the sun reflecting off the water is so calming. And your description is ideal, melting into the horizon… What a wonderful way to spend a long weekend.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. There’s nothing better than to end the day by the water and watching the sun set. It’s kind of funny how we don’t really pay too much attention to the sunrise or sunset unless we’re on vacation.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. We sometimes go a bit overboard with treating ourselves while on holiday, but you only live once! We sure enjoyed the scenery, food and company. What more could you want while on holiday!?

  7. thetinypotager says:

    Another wonderful tour – I am always happy when I get the pop up that you have posted. The sunset photo is especially beautiful, but I loved the whole article, including the snacks 😀

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind comment. We’ve been having so much fun exploring more of our backyard during this pandemic. The timing worked out well for us to visit family over the long weekend and explore a few new towns (and sample some delicious treats!). It was also great to watch such a spectacular sunset. I can’t remember the last time we’ve done that.

  8. Lookoom says:

    Having been to this area several times, which is not as mountainous as its name suggests, I have found that real estate development there is very aggressive, probably taking advantage of the proximity of the saturated Toronto market. I still have some doubts about its future as a place of retirement or recreation.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Haha, yes, “mountains” does seem a bit of a stretch. It’s crazy how many new houses have popped up over the past few years. Apparently new developments in Collingwood are on pause at the moment after concerns over a potential water shortage.

  9. Lynette d'Arty-Cross says:

    Beautiful sunset photos! I see what you mean about the European village vibe – wow! I like the the can that says “vodka tree water” I’ve never heard of vodka trees before. 😉
    Thanks for the lovely share. 🙂

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The Blue Mountain Village has been expanding in recent years. I haven’t been in a few years so it was neat to return to see what’s changed. We’ve recently been introduced to sap sucker sparkling water, so when we came across these at the liquor store we couldn’t resist. They weren’t bad. If only there were such things as vodka trees, haha. Thanks for reading. Take care.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s always nice to get away from the city, even if it’s for a few days. We were lucky and had fabulous weather, food, and company. And oh wow were those doughnuts delicious!!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We sure did. We tend to pack in a lot while on vacation as we figure we can use the rest of the week to catch up on sleep …and to burn off all the treats we consumed. It helped that it wasn’t too crowded because the stay-at-home order was still in effect and we were able to easily find parking.

      • winteroseca says:

        That is a good idea to pack a lot in. No shame in consuming treats while on vacation too. That’s good that you were able to find parking too. You seem to be able to time these things well

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Haha yes, we usually have great timing. I also prefer to take vacation and visit places like this in the off season. I’m not a fan of the crowds and having to wait in line or for parking!

      • winteroseca says:

        I hear you. I was the same way with London. I would avoid going into the city during the summer as much as possible because tourist season was hell!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Great minds think alike! I find the atmosphere is so much more laid back during the off-season anyway. Plus, you can sometimes find better deals on accommodations.

      • winteroseca says:

        Yeah, for sure. Plus, in London I really didn’t want to run into American tourists. They are so embarrassing!

      • winteroseca says:

        I understand. I was actually so embarrassed to be American after 9/11 that I made a point to look, sound and behave as British as possible, especially around Americans. I didn’t like being British so much either, but it was the lesser of two evils. Having lived in Canada a while now I am starting to pick up on the more subtle differences between Canadians and Americans that you just don’t notice if you haven’t lived in Canada. But the thing is that whenever I see people around who have more American qualities, I wonder if they are a TCK and just having a more American day! That’s how I like to think about it, but really, you can’t really know about someone until you ask

  10. usfman says:

    I envy your cooler summers on these Ontario lakes as I swelter with high humidity in in South Florida. Whatever happened to Tim Horton’s Donuts?

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Oh it’s warmed up quite a bit here in Ontario since we visited the Blue Mountains, but it’s always cooler by the water. Thankfully we aren’t in an intense heat wave like our friends in British Columbia. Tim Horton’s doughnuts are still a thing, but aren’t nearly as special because you can buy them in most towns! The ones we tried from Nicky’s were freshly made and had different flavours. Mmm. Enjoy your weekend!

  11. Meg says:

    This trip has everything, including beautiful views, a gorgeous sunset and fantastic treats! Between the donuts and the ice cream I’d say it was a perfect visit!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      You bet!! I’m glad the rain cleared as the sun makes for such a different experience when spending time outside. We had fabulous weather, treats and company. I still think of those doughnuts every time I hear the word “doughnut”.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Blue Mountain is definitely known for its skiing and winter activities. The Blue Mountain Village has been around for decades, but has really expanded in recent years. So I’m sure if you saw it a few years ago it would look very different today. I loved eating those timbits (my guilty pleasure when I take a road trip) and drinking that cider after a long day of being out and about.

  12. rkrontheroad says:

    You can certainly see why it has the name Sunset Point! Beautiful. Loved the way the waves overlap when they reach the shore. The village would be a fun place to explore.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure, Sunset Point was very aptly named. It’s funny how I don’t tend to pay too much attention to the sunset (or sunrise) unless I’m on vacation. Watching the waves is always very mesmerizing. We’re currently under a heat warning and I would love to be back on the beach right about now!

  13. alisendopf says:

    LOL! Love your doughnut and beverage shots! Always remember to eat and stay hydrated 🙂 Seriously, what a lovely area. I love the sail boats on blocks. I bet they can’t wait to get in the water.

    Looks like you’re all moved in, and are having great adventures. I am JUST getting caught up with all your trips. I have been so busy recreating, that I’ve had to force myself to sit down and write. Not a problem you suffer from!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks!! I definitely like to treat myself while on holiday!! I’ve always enjoyed being by the water. It’s so interesting to walk around the harbour and see all the various sail boats in different shapes and sizes and see what they’re called. Restrictions have been easing in Ontario and it seems like there are plenty of boaters trying to make up for lost time!

      I’m happy to say that we’re all moved in now and are settling in. It’s been quite the adjustment to go from living in an apartment and having to do zero maintenance to a house with a big backyard! Best of luck with the writing!! Looking forward to reading about all your adventures in the mountains.

      • alisendopf says:

        Yeah! So glad you are all moved in. That’s fantastic. Yes, yard work… We had an acreage for about 18 years. Let me tell you, THAT is a lot of work. I loved it in the country, but half the time I was tending to the garden or shoveling snow instead of being out in the mountains. Even though I live in town now, I still have a big lot that requires maintenance. I finally gave up and hired a gardener. I would so much rather be out enjoying my summer.

        Still – there is so much joy to be had in planning and planting a garden. A nice yard is a thing of joy. I hope you learn lots, and enjoy the process.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        An acreage sounds like some serious yard work!! Good for you for getting a gardener to free up some of your time during the summer. I plan on putting in some gardens next Spring so have started doing some research on what to grow and where. I find gardening very therapeutic but it’s such a huge time commitment as you have to stay on top of it (as you already know). I have no idea what the snow situation is going to be like yet! Hopefully we’ll still be working from home to some extent next winter.

      • alisendopf says:

        Gardening is a great reward too. Nothing better than sitting outside and admiring your handiwork. Have fun with the planning. Take before and after shots too.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        That’s so true. It’s like the Ikea effect, when you work or build something you fall in love with it. That’s a great idea to take some before and after shots!

  14. kagould17 says:

    Not sure how I missed this post, but WordPress has been doing some weird things lately. Looks like a great outing. Love the donuts and bevvies theme. Sometimes, you just need a trip like that. I have never heard of Blue Mountain Ski Resort, but the village looks pretty. I can’t imagine they get in many days of good skiing there, unless they do a lot of snow making. Have a great weekend. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Ah yes, every once in a while WordPress likes to muck things up. I’ve had strange things happen like that too, where posts don’t show up on my Reader or I just randomly stop following someone all of a sudden.

      Blue Mountain is such a charming village to visit regardless of the season. This area actually receives a decent amount of snow, (plus they make their own snow if needed), so it’s usually open for skiing throughout the winter. And oh wow does it get busy! It felt a bit eerie to visit during the off-season and with all the shops and restaurants closed due to COVID, but in some ways it was nice to have the cobblestoned streets mostly all to ourselves. Enjoy the rest of your weekend too. Cheers.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words and for commenting. The landscape in this area is gorgeous, especially in the summer when the sun is out. There is no shortage of things to do and see (and delicious food to eat)!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s an incredibly scenic area in Ontario and offers a variety of activities regardless of the season. Plus those views of Georgian Bay never get old. Hopefully you’ll have a chance to visit as you will not be disappointed.

  15. BernieLynne says:

    I think it would be hard to eat Timmie’s after those fresh amazing looking hand made donuts! I have heard of that ski area. I think the village does have quite the Europe feel to it. Seems like you packed a lot of food and drink in but not quite as much hiking as you usually do. Great photos and commentary. Bernie

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      That’s for sure. Those doughnuts were a real treat! The Blue Mountains are insanely busy in the winter, so it was nice to visit during the off-season when it wasn’t crowded. Many of the restaurants and shops were closed though, but we clearly didn’t go hungry. Our travel during the pandemic has usually consisted of camping and hiking, so this was a nice change of pace and scenery while still enjoying the outdoors. Thanks for reading. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for the encouragement! The one real benefit of the pandemic is that we’ve had more time to explore what’s in our own backyard. It turns out there’s quite a lot to see and do here.

  16. Sam Hankss says:

    Lovely post, thank you for sharing your experiences – I have always wanted to visit Canada – hopefully once restrictions are lifted, I will be able to make my way across!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      That’s for your lovely comment. We tend to take where we live for granted, so it’s been nice being able to explore more of our home province of Ontario. Hopefully you’ll make it to Canada someday. There is so much to see from the east coast to the west and everything in between. If you enjoy nature, you’ll definitely love it here.

      • Sam Hankss says:

        Yes it looks absolutely beautiful. I can’t get enough of nature! Be it African, Asian or American – there is so much to see and do. Fingers crossed international travel becomes easier sooner rather than later.

      • Sam Hankss says:

        I will keep my fingers crossed you can go! But yes in the meantime, we will have to live through each other’s past travel experiences.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      That’s a wonderful travel mantra to have. It’s funny because I typically don’t pay too much attention to the sunset unless I’m on vacation. It’s such a shame because it’s really beautiful to watch and it’s a good way to take a few minutes to just unwind.

  17. Bama says:

    I wasn’t aware of the Blue Mountains in Canada, and if someone said that name in the past I would almost certainly think of the mountain range in Australia with the same name — maybe because it’s closer to where I live (in Indonesia). I was supposed to travel to Canada last year, but of course that didn’t happen because of the pandemic. Now I’m eager to look up your posts for further inspiration of places I should see in your country when international travel is pretty much back to how it used to be, hopefully sooner than later.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s funny because there’s also the Blue Mountain range in the northwestern United States. I guess it’s a popular name, which can be very confusing. That’s too bad that your trip to Canada was cancelled because of the pandemic. We had a few travel plans as well that we had to postpone. We’re hoping to finally do some international travel in 2022, but we’ll have to see given that there’s a new variant. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Happy holidays to you as well. We’re hoping to go for a hike this morning as it’s been awhile since we’ve been on the trail and could sure use the fresh air and exercise from all the eating and snacking we’ve done this week (more like month). Take care. Linda

  18. Forestwood says:

    It was fun reading this older post about the Blue Mountains. Funnily enough, we have a mountain range called the Blue Mountains as well in Australia and when I clicked on it, I wondered if you were visiting Australia.
    The area you did visit looks lovely and it is always nice to enjoy a decadent treat or two when you are on holidays.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words and for commenting. I know there’s the Blue Mountains in the United States too, so I guess it’s a common name. The Blue Mountains in Ontario is a lovely place to visit regardless of the season. There’s a bit of something here for everyone, including lots of tasty treats. We haven’t made it to Australia yet, but hopefully someday. I would love to go diving in the Great Barrier Reef.

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