Our game plan, as travelling nomads, has been to first figure out where the boat will be and then figure out where we (and necessary ‘stuff’) should be. While we were in Minneapolis, Gaviidae was in Duluth initially and then moved to Bayfield, WI where she currently sits patiently awaiting spring. And we are camped out at my sister’s place in Toronto watching their schnauzer Lucy while they gallivant around Slovakia and other East European countries. When they return home mid-December we head back to Minneapolis for what might be our last winter in that winter wonderland.
As a mentioned before, we figure out first where Gaviidae will be. Next winter (2016/17) she will be in Goderich, ON where she was built. In Goderich she will receive some tender loving care at the Gozzard Yacht Spa. Thus our search for lodging, preferably somewhere not too far from Goderich but not so close that we feel the urge to drop in and drive the Gozzard family crazy.
Sideline: Goderich is located on the eastern shore of Lake Huron about 3 hours west Toronto and 3 hours north of Detroit.
Last week we took a few days and explored some of the area around Goderich. We packed up Lucy the dog and a few clothes and headed west. The official search for a new base of operations was now in full swing.
So, how exactly does one search for a place to call home in another country? Realtors – umm, we don’t want to buy. Friends – don’t really know anyone in the area except for the Gozzard’s. Property Managers – what’s a property manager in a small town?
With no clue as to how to start, we just started by asking anyone who would talk to us.
First, with Mike Gozzard who gave us a lead on a hockey buddy who might be able to help. The waitress at Samuel’s Bistro in Goderich (which was fabulous) gave us the name of another person who might know of some options.
While in Goderich we went down to the marina so we would have a visual on how we would come in to port next fall. We also went down to the beach area where there are a huge number of inuksuks built by the townsfolk earlier this year as a symbol of the town’s rebuilding effort after a monstrous tornado devastated the area a few years ago.
We left Goderich and headed to Bayfield, ON – this is one of three towns named after Henry Wolsey Bayfield, the British nautical surveyor responsible for charting the Great Lakes, by the way. Like Bayfield, WI this Bayfield is full of charm and decidedly quaint. We have yet to see Bayfield, Nova Scotia. We stayed at the Little Inn of Bayfield (built mid-1800s) which was so wonderful that we decided to stay two nights. Lucy the dog was fascinated by the gas fireplace. She clearly needs to learn what ‘hot’ is; I think her little nose is okay. She also enjoyed the sofa, the bed and watching the black squirrels just outside the porch doors.
We had dinners both nights in The-Four-In-Hand Taproom at the inn and met some locals who had additional suggestions for places to stay or who to contact. Our dinners were excellent and the desserts even better.
Apparently one of the bartenders (the owner’s son) had inadvertently opened an expensive bottle of vintage port not realizing he had grabbed the wrong one. So Dan got to savour a fabulous vintage port at a semi-reasonable price. They even brought out some blue cheese to go with it – such service!
We returned to the Taproom the second night for the sole purpose of being able to try two of their other desserts. Mine was a poached pear with homemade vanilla-parsnip ice cream. Don’t laugh till you try it – Amazing!
While we were imbibing and eating far too much, the winds were doing their best to take down the newly placed holiday decorations all over town. This past weekend was Christmas in Bayfield, an annual event that includes the Santa Claus parade, lighting of the tree, carriage rides and discounts in every shop in town (and there a lot of boutique shops). The 50mph winds tried their best wreak havoc but I’m sure were not much of a deterrent for weekend crowds. We did explore the marina area and got some video of the waves coming in – this was before the really big winds hit. Click HERE to see the wind and waves.
We returned to Toronto via Stratford, another charming place and an hour closer to Toronto and much larger than either Goderich or Bayfield. With a stop at the local information center we were referred to a local realty office which also happens to be connected with rental properties.
Overall the trip was positive and inspiring. We found some lovely areas to concentrate on when next fall rolls around and we (and Lucy) had a great time exploring.