Fall colors, Algonquin Park, family resort

We've just come back from two glorious days at Foxwood Resort on the doorstep of Algonquin Park. The resort and the park are both over a century old and have an interesting connection. Tom Salmon, an early settler and original landowner of Foxwood Resort,  guided at Algonquin Park. The resort has a 1912 photo of Tom at Algonquin sporting a big knapsack on his back. [caption id="attachment_232" align="aligncenter" caption="Dockside at Foxwood Resort on Lake of Bays in Muskoka"]Dockside at Foxwood Resort on Lake of Bays in Muskoka[/caption] We arrived on Tuesday evening and it didn't take us long to appreciate our new surroundings. Foxwood is down a quiet lakeside road about 20 minutes from the west gates of Algonquin. A young fawn caught our attention as soon as we made the turn onto Fox Point Road off of Highway 35. We saw several more deer before reaching Foxwood 9 kilometres later. The resort is on Lake of Bays. Water flows from Algonquin Park into the lake which is crystal clear. Foxwood is on Haystack Bay, one of hundreds of bays along the lake's 500 kilometres of shoreline. Our tidy, two-bedroom cottage comes with a fully equipped kitchen, sitting area, lakeside deck and BBQ. National Post's star cartoonist, Gary Clement rented the same cottage with his family just last week and must have had a great time 'cuz he cartooned it. He's not the only celeb to frequent Lake of Bays. Global TV anchor, Kevin Newman has a place on the lake and so does singing sensation, Shania Twain. [caption id="attachment_233" align="aligncenter" caption="”I Swam Haystack Bay“"]”I Swam Haystack Bay“[/caption] This week, we were all couples including honeymooners Troy and Julie. The families have gone home. Resort owner, Rob Wallace says that's typical for September. Summers attracts families then school starts and the resort becomes popular with adults and fall color seekers. The resort hasn't been open in winter but that's about to change thanks to a new luxury solar cottage. Beautifully appointed with a central fireplace, this two-bedroom place would make a great base for cross country or downhill skiers. Algonquin Park has 100 km of trails and Hidden Valley, 20 minutes west has downhill, including night skiing. If you prefer snowshoeing, the resort's own trails start right outside the new cottage and snake around the resort's one hundred acres. Light weight snowshoes are supplied. I think that's fitting given that Tom Salmon was a snowshoe maker, having learned the craft from local Ojibwa. If you're a collector, his old snowshoes are easy to spot because of a tiny signature salmon burned into each shoe. [caption id="attachment_236" align="aligncenter" caption="The main lodge at Foxwood Resort"]The main lodge at Foxwood Resort[/caption] I love to swim so, I took advantage of the great swimming and twice swam across the bay to Haystack Island with co-owner Julia Wallace and daughter, Meg. Both are avid swimmers and the swim has become so popular with guests, the resort sells t-shirts which  boast "I swam Haystack Bay". Besides swimming, there's a lakeside sauna, kayaks, paddleboats, and canoes, water skiing and wakeboard lessons and lots of land based activities to keep kids occupied. The lounge is popular on summer evenings and rainy days and includes a ping pong table, tons of boardgames, and a flat screen tv for those who just can't bear to be without. [caption id="attachment_237" align="aligncenter" caption="The Dorset fire tower, a spectacular place for fall colours viewing"]The Dorset fire tower, a spectacular place for fall colours viewing[/caption] bigwin-boatRob took us by boat around the lake. Glenn snapped pics of area highlights including the Dorset Fire Tower, Robinson's General Store, and a Muskoka trademark, boathouses. Boats are a source of pride here and a special 44 passenger steam yacht built in the 1920s has been resurrected from the bottom of Lake of Bays and is being restored at Lake of Bays Boat Museum in Dorset. The Bigwin once ferried passengers from Port Cunnington across Lake of Bays to Bigwin Island. If you go into Dorset to shop for groceries or for a meal at Fiery Grill, be sure to check out the museum and the boat. She's a beaut. Foxwood Resort is one of several Resorts of Ontario in this region. For a listing of others, click here. [caption id="attachment_241" align="aligncenter" caption="The Lake of Bays Marine Museum at Dorset"]The Lake of Bays Marine Museum at Dorset[/caption]