Hello, hello! We've just been on holiday at Sauble Beach.
It's an 11 kilometre strip of very soft sand on the eastern shore of Lake Huron, located a 3 1/2 hour drive north-west of Toronto. Back before I met Nick, I went to this lovely place with family, for four summers in a row, and have such treasured memories from that time. That was 20 years ago, and, although we had discussed going to Sauble together quite a few times, Nick and I never got there, for one reason or another. But this year, I planned ahead and finally made it happen. It was his first time there.
Seeing it again after all that time felt like I'd entered the twilight-zone; it was surprising (and wonderful) how little about it has changed in two decades! It's the place where time stands still, and where nature's finest is on full display.
We rented a cottage last week on Second Avenue, just south of the main road. We couldn't see the beach from there but it was close enough to walk barefoot, in our bathing suits and cover-up.
The choice to go in September, after Labour Day, was intentional, as, according to their wiki page, Sauble gets as many as 30,000 visitors on hot weekends, and 60,000 on long week-ends, during the summer months. We preferred the idea of a quiet holiday, so risked the possibility that we might face questionable weather and booked a week after the crowds has left the area. The weather started off on the cool side, and it rained all day on the Monday, but it warmed right up to full-on summertime temperatures by the third day, so we got to enjoy a touch of autumn and some hot sunny days, with comfortably cool nights throughout.
(For visitors who might prefer more action, I'm not exaggerating when I say it was quiet. There were people around, but not many. A couple of the restaurants, a few shops, and an ice-cream stand were open along the strip, between Monday and Friday, but most places were shut. It got busier and more places were open on the weekend, but clearly, most businesses and cottages close up after Labour Day. We liked it that way, but that level of quiet might not be for everyone.)
We'd only seen a few pictures on-line of the cottage we were renting, so, my fingers were crossed that it would be a good place to spend a week. I need not have worried as it ended up being totally fine, containing all the basic necessities and a choice of comfortable beds in its three bedrooms, albeit with little in the way of charm or decor. Also, it had an excellent internet connection, an added bonus that is certainly not a given in many rural areas.
As is the case with most cottage rentals, we were to bring our own linens, blankets, pillows, towels, toiletries, etc. We also brought along our own sharp knives and cutting board and some food items. But knowing there was a full grocery store nearby, we didn't worry about bringing all the food and drinks that we'd need for the week.
We arrived in the early evening on Saturday. By the time we'd unloaded the car, made up the bed and gotten settled in, it was getting dark out. Nick had thoughtfully pre-prepared a couple of marinaded salads -- this coleslaw, and this Moroccan Chick Pea and Rice Salad -- which we had for dinner, along with some homemade bread. He'd mixed the dough in the morning, let it rise while we traveled, and then baked it in the oven at the cottage! We also shared a bottle of red wine, which we'd brought with us.
By the time we were finished eating, it was completely dark out. We grabbed the flashlight and went out for a short walk, to get a look at the beach, but we didn't venture far, as we didn't really know the lay of the land. It had been a long day anyway, so we just went to bed after that.
In the morning, we had a couple of peaches and some toast for breakfast, while watching a variety of birds flitting about, all around the cottage.
↑ I found out later that these are Northern Flickers, members of the woodpecker family. They're the only woodpeckers that feed on the ground, and that's what they were doing, digging little holes and finding insects. They're migrating birds, coming this far north only for the summer, so they would have been getting ready to fly back south. I also saw a small flock of blue jays, which we don't see in Toronto, but they flew by too quickly for a photo. ↑
↑ There's the Nick-made Moroccan Salad (recipe linked above). It was amazing. The pièce de résistance ingredient is the bits of lemon, which are boiled with salt before adding. It also includes dates, pistachios, almonds and fresh mint (from my herb garden!).
We'd brought along a basket of local peaches. I'm glad I took a picture of our old red and white tea-towel because we ended up forgetting it there, hidden from view inside a drawer. ↑
Then, we walked to the grocery and liquor stores for provisions.
After that, we had a quick lunch and went out for a long walk, during which we took these first photos ...
↑ Opting for delayed gratification, we took the long way to the beach, going south on Second Avenue, which runs parallel to the beach. There are properties with cottages along either side of this street. We were looking for a hidden path that leads to the beach, which I remembered being there, but I wasn't sure exactly where. ↑
↑ There are two sides of the beach, north and south. Here we are on the south side, where cars are allowed to go. There aren't so many that it's annoying (at least when we were there) but it does narrow down the area that you can lay a blanket and sit. Not to worry about that, though, as there is plenty of space for that on the northern side. ↑
↑ When I used to come twenty years ago, we rented one of the cottages that border the beach in this area, thanks to a connection my sister-in-law had with the owner. So, basically we could just go out the door and walk straight down to the water. ↑
↑ From where we entered the beach area, we walked north, back up to Main Street. ↑
↑ Our cottage was on the street to the right of that corner, directly beyond the one you can see at the top left of the photo of the man and his cute dogs. ↑
↑ "Home" ↑
↑ Breakfast the next morning. We'd brought along a package of smoked salmon that Nick's parents had kindly sent us from the west coast. ↑
It rained all day on Monday, so we hung out inside, watching the first couple of episodes of the third season of oooOutlander. We both love that show, and purposely saved it to watch during our vacation, which we did via Nick's laptop connected to our Netflix account, connected to the large tv at the cottage. It was cozy and fun.
↑ A few beachy cocktails were enjoyed as we watched (1 part dark rum, 2 parts mango juice and 3 parts soda water). ↑
↑ Skip forward to dinner, a sausage (from Sanagan's in Kensington Market, which we'd brought with us), canned corn and more of that delicious Moroccan Salad.
I like to bring a little candle-kit along when we travel, that contains this silver tea-light holder, some matches, and a variety of tea-light candles, including beeswax (to burn inside), scented (because, you never know) and citronella (to burn outside and deter mosquitoes), all tucked into a little suede pouch. ↑
The rain had stopped by the time we finished dinner, so we went outside ...
↑ Several failed attempts at capturing a jump may have occurred. ↑
Thanks for checking out our first couple of days at Sauble Beach. There's more to come, including a breathtaking sunset, a swim, some great looking classic cars, a nature walk, and a waterfall. Oh, and also a cute and curious wild rabbit!
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