by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams
"Hub of the Lakes"
The following is an excerpt from a Port Carling business website ~ "Port Carling materializes out of nowhere. One minute you are traveling along Hwy 118 looking at the beautiful landscape, the next you are in a quaint village with many unique buildings."
Google Maps are great! Any time I want to travel to a place I am not familiar with I “Google Map” it. For this trip I wanted to travel from Huntsville to Midland and I wanted to travel through the back “scenic” roads! So, with that, I selected my route and printed maps and directions! Very slick, no worries! Everything went very well, at first! We made all the twists and turns, as directed! And then it happened! We reached “Winemere Road” where we were supposed to turn right and follow it for “9 minutes”. Unfortunately the road was “CLOSED” for construction! No detour signs! We are in the “middle of nowhere”! We did the most logical thing; we turned right and went through the detour barricades. Like everyone else, we had to turn back to the main road and figure out where to go! We decided to continue southward and to on the original road. We travelled south for what seemed “forever” and then found a “likely” road that travelled west! I decided to turn right! Judi asked “what” I thought I was doing? I said, “I’m following my instincts!” She said, “You’ve got to be kidding, go straight!” I said (typical male) “no, I’m turning” and we did! What a trip! It was certainly “scenic” and did provide a lot of back country “twists and turns”. At one point we thought that the trip would never end! No cars … no people … no houses … and no towns or villages. At one point we saw a sign that said “Fokenberg”, but we never came across the town. We traveled on the road for over 45 minutes. We both wondered if we had made a “terrible mistake”, but we (I) were (was) committed and we travelled, westward! It was almost like we were “pioneers” “Path finding” our way to the west and new settlements! However, we “finally” came to the “one and only” stop sign and a major road! You are not going to believe this but we came out on the road that “Google” had wanted us to find! We were about 10 miles south of where they wanted us to be, but we now knew where we were and how to get to Midland.
One perk of this whole journey was that we were able to discover Port Carling! This is a beautiful community located in the heart of the Muskokas. We stopped to take the time to photograph the village and view from the bridge that crossed over the locks that allow boats to travel from Lake Rosseau and Lake Muskoka. Now that we have discovered Port Carling, we’ll be back!
A few weeks later, we were back! This time we had a purpose and we knew how to get there. When I saw "we", I mean our friends "Ross and Cathy". They had joined us for our "cruise" on Lake Rosseau on the "Peerless II", a converted "oil tanker". It's not like an ocean going tanker, the Peerless II is about 60 feet long and used to haul gas and oil to the cottagers and business that were located on the Muskoka Lakes. Now the boat is owned and operated be Randy Potts, owner of Sunset Cruises and still travels the Lakes. As I mentioned, we were with Ross and Cathy and they knew Port Carling fairly well. When we first arrive in the Village, we checked out the boat down at the docks and then walked back to the main street. Port Carling is small, but very scenic. It is located between Lakes Muskoka and Rosseau with a lock that allows boats to travel from one lake to another. Fortunately we had time to explore the whole village before our cruise, plus we able to have a great lunch at Turtle Jack's Muskoka Grill.It certainly was a fun place to visit! We'll be back!