We’ve closed the gates to Arowhon Pines for the winter. The temperature has dropped and Little Joe Lake is making ice. Moose, fox and deer will roam silently in the snow. We are home now, safe and sound, wearing masks, washing our hands and keeping our bubble tiny. The holidays will be quiet as we hunker down some more. Let’s remind ourselves that we do this so that we can all be together again at Arowhon Pines in 2021. Last season, you let us know that Arowhon is an important part of your life. A stay with us was a true respite from what was going on in the world. We sheltered and rested in nature and disconnected from the news, our damned phones and the boob tube. What can compare to loving the ones you’re with for happy days on Little Joe Lake? For many of you, this was the first and only place that you ventured outside your own homes since March. Thank you so much for trusting us. We’re grateful to our Canadian guests who discovered, or rediscovered, us; it was wonderful seeing old friends. Fingers crossed this upcoming season that we’ll be welcoming back our international clientele and our local diners. We’ve really missed you. Hope is on the world horizon for 2021. We’ll see better days. For now, we wait. But, whatever rules and policies are in place for our future, we will operate to ensure that all of us are safe and comfortable at Arowhon Pines. We will communicate with you every step of the way. Please - as you did with us – join us to help support our local mom-and-pop operations – the coffee shops, bakeries, corner grocers, tiny restaurants, local artists and flower shops – both now and in the future. They need us now. In these next few months, we aim to embrace winter and those closest to us! See you on our walks, on the cross country hills and snowshoe trails! Love and hugs, Theresa, David and Adam
In late November, we received word that Keeda, our lovely brindle bull mastiff mix was ill. She died peacefully a week later. We’re heartbroken as she was the last of the trio, with Daisy and Dexter, who ruled Arowhon for many years. She was almost 13 years old – rare for big breed dogs to live so long - a big thanks to David’s duck pate and venison that kept her healthy, and to all the staff and guests who loved her!
CAMP ALGONQUIN Everyone, it seems, has a story about Algonquin Park. Many of our guests attended camp in their youth, some for a summer and others for decades. Although it may have been eons ago, they recall each lake they paddled in the Park as well as the length and difficulty of each portage. They are still in contact with their bunkmates. The lessons learned from their older, wiser counsellors stick with them today. If you ask them, what they learned at camp formed who they became as adults. The world of summer camps was decimated by COVID-19 in 2020. While the resorts could eke out a season, all Ontario residential camps were mandated to close. If you have a child or grandchild at home, tired of screen life and yearning for an authentic summer experience, we recommend that you contact one of the excellent camps of Algonquin Park. Each one has its own character and tradition, and each teaches skills for the future, along with a love and respect for both the outdoors and each other. The summer camps of Algonquin Park are:
Camp Northway for Girls on Cache Lake, est. 1906
Camp Pathfinder for Boys on Source Lake, est. 1914
Taylor Statten Camps (Ahmek for Boys and Wapomeo for Girls) on Canoe Lake, est. 1921
Camp Tanamakoon for Girls on Cache Lake, est. 1925
Camp Arowhon for Boys and Girls on Tepee Lake, est. 1934
Camp Tamakwa for Boys and Girls on Smoke Lake, est. 1936
A BETTER US
We’ve shared below a few stories of what we’ve learned these past months. If you would like to share a story, we would be happy to post it on our social media page. Please email to email@example.com. Thanks so much! On March 15th I was in New York State with my (fairly) new boyfriend Mike, an American, about to head south for a vacation, when Justin Trudeau called all Canadians home. Without a doubt, the next morning, we crossed the border nervously in Niagara, spent the night in eerily desolate Toronto, picked up the dog and reached my house in Muskoka shortly thereafter. Like everyone else, we didn’t know what was going on, only what we were hearing on the CBC and reading online. Our first stop was the grocery store, where we separated in order to go quicker. I froze in the store - very unlike me – all of a sudden I worried about sick people around, worried about touching handles and cartons of food and what to do about toilet paper. When I found Mike, his cart was overflowing. He had seen me in terror and quickly taken charge of getting everything we needed to hunker down. I realized that I could spend the pandemic with this man. Theresa How fast does life change? Like Theresa, I had an airplane ticket booked for March 15th, to Barbados. I had stayed awake most of the night watching the news and debating with myself ‘should I or shouldn’t I go?’ I was sitting on my couch; bags packed, passport in hand, podcast downloaded, ham and cheese sandwich in my carry-on, thinking, ‘am I going to the airport in 15 minutes or not?’ I did not. I decided it was just too uncertain to travel, and that when it came down to it, there was no better county to be in than Canada. Before I knew it, I was lining up at the grocery store wearing a mask, then later ordering groceries online. This quickly evolved to ordering meat from the small butcher up the street, who personally delivered to my porch - they had the best flank steak I’ve ever had; fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit from the community farmer’s market that moved to online, and best of all fresh ground coffee along with THE best chocolate chip cookies from the small shop up the street, who also hand delivered! Yes, this pandemic has been terrible. It made us change or cancel plans, distanced us from loved ones and inconvenienced us, but through it all, some good things did arise; for me, it has been the acquired knowledge of ‘shop local’, from owners of small businesses in my neighborhood! I may regret selling my Amazon stocks...but I feel better.
Adam The end of the season brought much anxiety to our kitchen team, as we all knew that the traditional jobs for winter work were gone. When I put out a call for volunteers for the non-profit - www.foodforthought.cafe – all of our Ottawa-based chefs replied within a few hours! This charity rents empty space in the Chateau Laurier banquet kitchen and produces 1000 meals per day for people in need of a hot meal. In Huntsville, another one of our chefs prepares a three course home cooked meal for the shelter every Sunday. Despite this unforgettable year, with all the uncertainty and disruption and death, it’s also brought out the best in us, our resilience and generosity. Thank you to all our staff – you are the best!