Sand Beach Lodge

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled up to the French River, from Toronto, with some friends. Just North of Muskoka, we arrived at Sand Beach Lodge.

The Lodge caters to those that are looking for something a little less “touristy” than Muskoka, and a little more “in the nature“.

We had a great weekend, complete with a fishing trip, a large cabin, and some of the best food that I’ve eaten in awhile.

I’m going to start with the food. I have to admit, when I imagined spending a weekend at a lodge in the wilderness, I certainly didn’t expect gourmet dishes to be coming out of the kitchen.

I was happily surprised on our very first night, when we were served a delicious four course meal that could rival meals I’ve had at some of the best restaurants in the world.

There wasn’t much chance for me to express how amazing it was between spoon-fulls of the Thai chicken basil soup (best soup I’ve ever had!) and the tasty greens with raspberry balsamic glaze or head of Romaine salad.

Next came a beef tenderloin with roasted garlic and rosemary cream that basically made me melt into my chair. Steaks tend to have this effect on me, and this one was no different. The next night was an oven roasted three rib rack of lamb with cherry brandy cream.

Possibly even better than the dinners? The desserts. On the first night we had coma-inducingly good chocolate truffle mousse cake, and a white chocolate and blueberry cheesecake on the second. Taste-bud explosion.

The cabins that we stayed in were large, and spacious. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but they definitely exceeded my expectations. They were well maintained, and seemed like they had been recently renovated.

Our cabin had a big main room, complete with sofas, a tv, and a tables area. Up a small set of steps was a kitchenette area, with a fridge, coffee supplies and counter space. Off of the platform were two bedrooms, each with two beds and its own bathroom.

We spent a lot of time hanging out in the cabins at night, so it was great to have all the space. I especially loved sitting on the porch, as it had a nice view of the river.

The grounds themselves were gorgeous. Upon arriving, I immediately walked down to the beach. This trip was proving to be full of surprises, because I was definitely not expecting for there to actually be sand on the beach (despite the name of the lodge). You rarely see real, fine sand in the lakes and rivers of Northern Ontario.

There were chairs and benches to sit on all over the property, each with an awesome view of the beach and the river.

Small boats lined the dock, which stretched out into the water. Aside from the fishing trip down the river, we also spent some time fishing off the dock at night. I loved the night fishing, because we got to use glow-stick bobbers.

Inside the main building of the lodge was lovely, too. When we first arrived, we spent some time in the common area. There was a comfy sitting area, a pool table and a table tennis set-up.

It was nice to relax, as we waited for dinner and charged up all of our electronics from the drive up.

The staff may have been the best part of the lodge. The owners, the chef, and everyone else that we encountered couldn’t have been more friendly.

We didn’t feel like we were simply tourists passing through, but we felt like welcomed guests, and were treated like friends.

Aside from the time spent at the lodge, my favourite part of the weekend was hiking to Recollet Falls.

First we stopped at the French River Visitor’s Centre, and took a short walk out onto a 300 ft suspension bridge. This cable supported bridge was built by the local snowmobile club. Its span is 300 ft and rises 50 ft above the French River.

The view of the French River Gorge was pretty amazing, and made for some great photos. The sun was a bit hot, so I quickly retreated to the shade to sit on a rock and wait for the others.

Finally, we started our hike. I’m not normally into hiking. I love nature, and I love exploring.. but I have asthma. Sometimes long hikes can be a little too strenuous for me, and I was nervous when as we made our way into the woods.

After about 10 minutes, I realized that I was doing just fine. The hike was fairly easy, and I was able to keep a good pace.

I have to admit, I wasn’t checking the time, so I’m not entirely sure how long it took to get to the waterfall. At some point, approximately thirty minutes later, the path narrowed and we entered a thick shrub area.

The trail dropped off and we took the last few steps down a steep hill. Finally, we emerged from the dense vegetation.

The view in front of us spread out in every direction. The river stretched in both directions, and the mist from the roaring waterfall rose into the air above. The falls were enclosed by steep-walled gorges, typical of the Canadian Shield cliffs. They were etched in weather and stained with changing water levels.

In a collective movement, we all split off to explore the rocky outcrop, and get different views of the falls. Some stayed on the high rocks, some went down to the brink of the falls. I tossed my shoes on the ground and climbed down to the edge of the river.

I made my way along the shore, to a shady secluded area around the corner. I sat alone for awhile, dipping my toes in the cool water and watching the fish swim around below. It was relaxing, and I was happy to have a little time to myself.

After about ten minutes, I made my way back up the rockface. I sat on a large flat stone and watched the others.

The views were lovely, but eventually it was time to head back. We made the return hike through the forest, and then started back for the lodge.

Over the course of the weekend we roasted marshmallows, we had drinks by the fire, and we lounged in hammocks. Overall it was an awesome experience, and I would absolutely love to go back to Sand Beach Lodge.

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One Response to “Sand Beach Lodge”

  1. Sandeep
    August 3, 2015 at 1:40 am #

    Amazing pictures of adventures!!!I really like your way of thinking. Thanks for sharing this idea. Can you please share some more information about this sand beach lodge.

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