SURROUNDED BY SERENITY
The casual elegance of Killarney Mountain Lodge is a welcoming, relaxing environment, inside and out.
NORTHERN ONTARIO BECKONS THIS SUMMER
Whispering wind, a hawk’s screech, the scurry of a chipmunk, an egret’s call – sitting on a rock bluff above a stream that leads into Georgian Bay – that’s what you hear as a mantle of peace surrounds you.
Set sail on Stormy Night, or one of the lodge’s other launches, to enjoy the area on the water. Guests can borrow kayaks and canoes, as well.
To some achieving this level of meditative state involves canoeing to an isolated camping spot; to others it might mean pulling the trailer to a provincial park. If you’re the type of person who wants to be surrounded by the serenity that is a visit to Ontario’s north country but longs for a plush bed and three meals a day prepared for you, then making Killarney Mountain Lodge (KML) your destination should definitely be on the summer ‘to-do list.’
July and August see increased traffic in Killarney’s harbour as recreational boaters navigate their ways to this popular Lake Huron port.
Sitting on the edge of the village of Killarney, KML inspires guests to stop, drop and breathe. STOP - worrying, texting, planning, executing or calling. Yes, there’s free Wi-Fi in the common areas, so you’re not cut off from civilization, but not in the rooms, so the kids can’t play games online and you can’t stream the latest on Netflix.
You’re forced to slow down even before arrival as the two-lane highway (637) – the only way in or out of the area – is a bit worse for winter wear. But this is good because moose, deer and wolves are often seen in the woods off the highway and the kids don’t want to miss seeing them.
Artist Pierre A.J. Sabourin welcomes visitors to enjoy the panoramic view from the rocky ledge behind his studio. Locals call it Sunset Rock.
This highway will also take you back out to Killarney Provincial Park when you’re ready for a longer hike through some of that pristine northern wilderness or to try kayaking and canoeing. Stop at Killarney Outfitters to rent a complete kit for inland canoe camping if you’re really gung-ho.
DROP - onto one of the comfortable mattresses, specially made for KML. After a sunset sail on Stormy Night (the resort’s 46-foot sloop), you’ll be ready to get some rest in your large quiet quarters. The resort was first developed as a private business retreat and then as a resort by the East family. Present owner Holden Rhodes, who has London ties as a Western University student and lawyer at McKenzie Lake, purchased it and has been steadily improving and expanding the property. The covered portage building offers suites overlooking the channel with king-size beds and pull-out couches so the kids or grandkids can also drop off to sleep after a full day. Self-contained cabin suites are dog-friendly so Rover can drop after a day of canine fun. There are also a couple of larger chalet accommodations for multi-generational family getaways. KML’s sister property – the Sportsman’s Inn – also offers accommodations.
BREATHE - there are many spots on the property with Muskoka chairs which invite you to just sit and be: at the coffee shop called Curds n’ Whey, on the porches of the accommodations, by the outdoor barbecue and fire pit, on the outdoor decks and eating area.
Or perch yourself on the dock or smooth rocks of the shoreline and watch the pleasure boat traffic that floods the area in July and August. Killarney is a popular boating destination for mariners from both sides of the border.
Speaking of perch and pickerel, the dining rooms at Killarney Mountain Lodge and the Sportsman’s Inn are turning out dishes that feature local lakefood, including smoked trout. Delicious locally-sourced menu items can be enjoyed three meals a day at both resorts.
At breakfast, the ‘mile high omelet’ is a fluffy treat. It was termed thusly by server Jocelyn because her sister is the chef who whips up these wonders. Part of a large crew of staff recruited from across Ontario, between them the sisters have more than 80 years of employment at KML.
Breathe deeply and slowly because itfeels like you’ve stepped back in time.The original part of the resort – diningroom, games room and CarouselLounge – have the same ambiance as theresort in the movie Dirty Dancing.KML’s most recent addition is its37,000-square foot convention centre.
This massive timbered building will host events of all kinds, with weddings as a special highlight in the indescribably beautiful setting. The pine logs – measuring more than two-feet across – were sourced across Ontario and Quebec. Trek across the bridge that connects KML to the village. The charming hamlet of Killarney boasts a general store, dating from the 1800s, world famous Herbert Fisheries (excellent fish and chips) and the Channel Marina, which is serving up delicious Farquhar’s ice cream – a real taste of nearby Manitoulin Island.
Pop into Big Willy’s Bait Shop, located on the dock of the Sportsman’s Inn. At this outdoor watering hole, William Thaine is shucking oysters that he personally transports from Toronto each week. He’ll entertain with a yarn as he serves local craft beers.
Come early evening, don’t miss a hike or bike (they have bikes you can borrow at the resort) to see sunset rock or the lighthouse. The front desk clerks are happy to provide directions.