Orillia, ON

We loved Orillia!  From the minute we stepped off the boat after the long horrendous day, we knew Orillia would be great.  We walked around town and had a great dinner for our anniversary and then collapsed from exhaustion.  The next morning we were ready for a few days of rest and relaxation!  I walked a couple of miles when I woke up and knew I wanted us to spend the entire day off the boat and outside.  The girls had carte blanche on technology and TV the day before because Ben needed it silent with no interruptions during the stressful boating.  Maddy took full advantage of that.  So, today it was going to be outside all day.

Orillia has a long bike path that goes for a few miles each way.  Molly had been begging to get her bike down but both of their bikes have been on the bow of the boat for a year and got VERY rusty in the salt water air.  Molly is pretty sure they hadn’t ridden their bikes since we were in the Bahamas.  They had flat tires and rusted out chains.  Ben was still tired from the day before but he was a good sport.

Ben changed one tire on each bike and put air in the two that were still ok.  He also got down our folding bikes.  Once he got the tires changed on the girls’ bikes he realized they couldn’t pedal because the chains were so rusted.  Molly’s actually snapped in half.  So, we walked them off the dock and while Ben was looking for a bike shop the girls took turns playing the community piano in the park adjacent to the marina.  The nice guy at the very close bike shop took the bikes and told us to come back in 25 minutes.  There is a great boardwalk along the waterfront and an awesome playground.  We walked over there to kill time until the bikes were hopefully fixed.  The girls had fun at the park.  And this young man worked magic on the bikes!  There is still a lot of rust but they both now had functioning chains and could actually be ridden.  At this point it was lunchtime so we took a quick ride back to the marina, dropped the bikes and had a great lunch in town.  There are countless restaurants in Orillia to choose from.

After refueling we took off on the bike path towards one end of the trail.  It was so wonderful to be able to ride on a protected trail with the kids.  AND….Madelyn turning 7 apparently changed bike riding for her.  No complaints of legs hurting.  No riding at a glacially slow pace making it impossible to stay behind her.  She took off.  Zoomed up ahead with Ben and raced to keep up with him.  It was magical!  That has definitely changed bike riding for our family.  We rode 3 miles and passed another park and beach and then rode past the park setting up for Rib Fest.  We rode to the end of the trail.  The trail ended at The Narrows bridge which we had boated through the previous day.  We were able to walk out and look at the boats going through.  We turned around and rode back a ways and let the girls play at the park for a bit.  We had a successful much needed day outdoors!  Madelyn rode over 6 miles!

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After our bike ride we walked into town and around some of the shops.  We checked out the well known Mariposa Market.  It is a huge market of fresh baked goods.  All smelled and looked amazing.  We went downstairs to the candy section and bought about a pound of fudge.  We haven’t had fudge in awhile.  Orillia is going to affect my waistline.

Saturday morning brought another jam packed outdoor day.  First, I went to a yoga class!  First time all trip I’ve made the effort to go and it felt wonderful.  After yoga, we walked to the Orillia Farmer’s Market.  What a treat.  We haven’t had a good farmer’s market in awhile.  First stop was the Wilkie’s bakery tent.  Wilkie’s bakery is said to have the best butter tarts on the Trent-Severn.  We had to try them.  We also loaded up on peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.  Next we moved onto produce and meat.  We bought some amazing summer sausage, more peaches and some fresh ground beef.  Then we hit the honey stand!  The honey was delicious so we bought some of that too.  In the next tent we got to try a chunk of honeycomb.  What a treat.  Before leaving we also bought pickles and then went back to the Wilkie’s tent and bought cinnamon rolls.  We may have issues!

After the farmer’s market we grabbed our bikes and rode back to Rib Fest.  Maddy was so excited because Friday we saw them setting up all of the inflatables.  We gave in and bought the unlimited ride wrist bands for the girls.  They played for hours, literally.  They must have gone down the incredibly tall slide 30 times.  Plus a bounce house and two inflatable obstacle courses.  We got them to take a break and walk around the grounds.  We checked out the rib options and Ben got a bloomin’ onion.  Remember the fudge and the baked goods.  We ate well in Orillia!  The girls just wanted to go back and play more so back to the inflatables.  Ben got a slab of ribs.  They were fine but Chicago ribs are much better.  But it was a gorgeous day, the kids were beyond happy, there were decent bands playing and we were content to be relaxing.

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We thought we may leave Orillia Sunday but we really didn’t want to deal with the next section of locks and narrow canals with weekend boat traffic.  We loved Orillia so we decided to stay another day.  Molly and I went to an early church service and then we all took the bikes out for the third day in a row.  By day three our legs and other areas were getting sore but we wanted to take the bike path to the other end of the trail.  So, we set out and did that.  I still can’t believe that Madelyn rode 5-6 miles each day with no complaints.  She got tired on Sunday and decided she was done.  The girls and I rode bikes back to the park while Ben did some projects on the boat.  After they were finished playing we rode around a bit more and then headed back to the boat.  We had a lazy afternoon.  We walked back into town and around a little more.  There was a pet store in town with 8 week old kittens and we couldn’t stay away.  We stopped by the grocery store and picked up some essentials and then just relaxed on the boat.  Our buddy boat stopped by around 7 saying they were walking up for ice cream and asked if we wanted to join.  We did indeed.  It was a great end to our stay in Orillia.

Monday morning I made a quick run to Wilkie’s to stock up before we left Orillia.  Embarrassed to admit that I bought half of a Chelsea bun (giant cinnamon bun), two more packages of butter tarts and another carton of cookies.  Orillia was a real treat!

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