Road Trip Ontario: Gravenhurst, the ‘Gateway to the Muskokas’

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Each weekend in the summertime, 1000’s of cottage homeowners, vacationers and guests head north to Ontario’s cottage nation, looking for some relaxation and leisure.

Many select to cease alongside the way in which within the scenic city of Gravenhurst, often known as the Gateway to the Muskokas, to stretch their legs, or seize a chew to eat.

They usually cease in Gravenhurst for good purpose. The gorgeous city is bordered by each Lake Muskoka, the biggest lake within the area, and Gull Lake, a smaller lake dominated largely by cottagers.

With a deep historical past rooted in shipbuilding, there’s an abundance of charming native eateries and retailers in Gravenhurst’s historic downtown, making it the right cease for guests in cottage nation.

The city is house to 13,000 full-time residents, who’re joined by one other 14,000 individuals who dwell and cottage in Gravenhurst throughout the summer season months.

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In response to Gravenhurst’s deputy mayor, Jeff Watson, the various festivals held over the course of the summer season assist to attract in waves of vacationers.

“It’s in all probability the weekend occasions are what we’re actually recognized for,” he stated.

Almost each weekend over the summer season, Gravenhurst acts as host to a number of totally different festivals and occasions, together with the Veridian Competition of the Arts, the Have a good time Gravenhurst Avenue Competition and the upcoming Craft Beer Competition.

“It’s loopy,” he stated. “There’s at all times one thing happening.”

Great water

In response to Watson, one other large draw is the water.

“We’re actually pleased with our seashores,” he stated. “They’ve lengthy, vast, sandy shores.”

Two of the most well-liked seashores within the space are Gull Lake Rotary Park and Muskoka Seaside.

“Each Sunday evening within the Gull Lake Rotary Park, we’ve music on the barge which is a 7:30 live performance for 9 weeks, and through that point we convey in several bands for folks to get pleasure from.”

In response to Watson, it’s common for crowds of as much as 1,500 folks to collect to benefit from the music.

Getting there

Gravenhurst is situated on the southern fringe of the Muskokas in Ontario’s cottage nation. The charming city is roughly 20 minutes south of Bracebridge.

From Barrie, Gravenhurst is a few 50 minute drive. The journey is fairly easy. Head north on Freeway 400 till the Freeway 11 break up, after which observe Freeway 11 north till you hit the quaint city.

The drive from Barrie will take you thru Shanty Bay, Oro-Medonte, Orillia, and Severn Township.

If you happen to’re heading to Gravenhurst from Toronto, the drive is simply as simple — straight up Freeway 400 till you hit Freeway 11. The drive from Toronto, nevertheless, will take you round 90 minutes.

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The place to cease alongside the way in which

If you happen to’re heading to Gravenhurst from the Toronto space, the best place to cease could be Washago Centennial Park. The 21-acre park is situated within the Township of Severn, on the shores of Lake Couchiching. The park presents a peaceable place to picnic, a quiet reprieve from cottage nation site visitors.

For these feeling hungry alongside the way in which, a well-known burger restaurant, Webers, has a cease alongside the northbound Freeway 11 in Orillia, that’s accessible from each side by a footbridge. The well-known restaurant has been serving prospects on their approach to cottage nation since 1963 and has change into a standard relaxation cease for a lot of households.

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The place to go to

Here’s a checklist of notable issues to do and see when you are in Gravenhurst.

Muskoka Steamships and Discovery Centre: A celebration of Gravenhurst’s boat constructing heritage, the Muskoka Steamship and Discovery Centre is a must-see for anybody visiting the city. Guests to the Discovery Centre can study all in regards to the deep historical past of boat constructing by means of hands-on actions and might hop on a cruise on North America’s oldest totally operational steamship, the RMS Seguin.

The RMS Segwun is North America’s oldest operational steamship.

Hannah Jackson / World Information

Gull Lake Rotary Park: Considered one of two in style seaside areas in Gravenhurst, Gull Lake Rotary Park presents all of it. With a jungle health club, baseball diamond, volleyball internet, sand seaside, public dock, and picnic tables, Gull Lake Rotary Park is an ideal spot to cease with the household. The park can also be host to a number of occasions all year long, together with the vintage and basic automobile present, music on the barge, the Severn River rowing membership regatta and the TORC boat races.

Gull Lake Rotary Park in Gravenhurst.

Gull Lake Rotary Park in Gravenhurst.

Hannah Jackson / World Information

Gravenhurst Opera Home: Located in downtown Gravenhurst, the 117-year-old constructing hosts arts and cultural programming all 12 months spherical. The constructing has survived the good melancholy, two world wars and through the years has housed all kinds of occasions from artwork displays, legal court docket proceedings, battle rallies and, in fact, dwell theater and music.

The Gravenhurst Opera House first opened in March of 1901.

The Gravenhurst Opera Home first opened in March of 1901.

Hannah Jackson / World Information

Gravenhurst Farmer’s Market: If you happen to occur to search out your self in Gravenhurst on a Wednesday, you’ll be able to try the award profitable farmer’s market. One of many city’s largest vacationer sights, the market runs each Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., on the Muskoka Wharf Particular Occasions discipline.

Selfies and social posts — nice spots to snap an image

Muskoka Wharf: Positioned on the southern fringe of Muskoka Bay on Lake Muskoka, the wharf covers greater than 89 acres and has a boardwalk stretching greater than 2,000 ft. With the gorgeous bay as your backdrop, varied spots alongside the wharf are picture-perfect.

There are countless places on Muskoka Wharf to take photos with the water as your backdrop.

There are numerous locations on Muskoka Wharf to take pictures with the water as your backdrop.

Hannah Jackson / World Information

Lookout Park: This park overlooks the gorgeous water and Muskoka Wharf. Framed between mature timber, the well-known steamships will be seen arriving and departing on their each day excursions. Lookout Park is tucked on the finish of Winewood Avenue, and based on Watson, is the place locals collect to observe fireworks on holidays. The park, he says, is likely one of the finest hidden gems in Gravenhurst.

Located at the end of Winewood Drive, Lookout Park offers the ultimate photo opportunity.

Positioned on the finish of Winewood Drive, Lookout Park presents the last word picture alternative.

Hannah Jackson / World Information

Spots to eat and drink

Listed here are the prime 5 user-ranked Gravenhurst eating places on the Journey Advisor Canada web site:

Grillicious Gourmand Meals Truck

Blue Willow Tea Store

The Inventive Plate Eatery

Dock of the Bay

The Oar

Make an evening of it

With dozens of lake homes and cottages for hire on the town, there is no such thing as a scarcity of lodging in Gravenhurst.

Equally, for these on the lookout for lodge lodging, the highest ranked motels on the town based on Journey Advisor are:

Residence Inn by Mariott Gravenhurst Muskoka Wharf

Oakwood Motel

Taboo Muskoka Resort

Howard Johnson by Wyndham Gravenhurst

In response to Journey Advisor, there are additionally a number of mattress and breakfast choices:

The Muskoka Rose Visitor Home and Retreat

The Inn on Bay

4 Ninety Mattress and Breakfast 

Robbin’s Tuktawayin Mattress & Breakfast

The ultimate pitch: Why it is best to go to Gravenhurst

Watson says in the end, it’s the infinite leisure prospects that make Gravenhurst an excellent highway journey cease.

“What makes us distinctive and a spot value visiting is our tradition, and inside our tradition we’ve quite a lot of totally different avenues that individuals can go to, and see and contact, and play and recreate and have an exquisite day or come for every week and spend their time,” he stated.

And whereas Gravenhurst tends to be busiest within the hotter months, Watson says the city is not only a summer season vacation spot.

“We’re beginning to actually change into a four-season vacation spot, and issues are actually transferring in a constructive route,” he stated.

Positioned on the southern most fringe of the Muskokas, lower than two hours from Toronto, Gravenhurst is an accessible highway journey for these trying to commerce the hustle and bustle of metropolis life for a day or two of cottage-country leisure.

© 2018 World Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.

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