Big Beers and Big Fun in Baysville, Ontario
I’ll say it up front, that I’ve driven through Baysville and nearby Dorset and Dwight on numerous occasions, but never really stopped to enjoy any of these villages. Thankfully, planning a visit to the Lake of Bays Brewery showed me that this area of Muskoka has a lot to offer.
As with some road trip adventures, my excursion started off innocently enough – with the singular goal of trying some beers at the brewery and wandering around town. However, after a boat ride, some homemade treats, a tower climb and sampling some fudge, it turned out to be a pretty full day!
Driving into Baysville, I was a bit early to catch a brewery tour at Lake of Bays Brewery, so I kept on heading towards Algonquin Park. This is some of the most scenic road trip driving you can enjoy in Muskoka so I was in no rush. I made it to Dwight and turned back towards the brewery.
My turnaround point just happened to be the Dwight Trading Post, home to a number of treats including the Algonquin Fudge Factory. I couldn’t resist grabbing some mint chocolate and praline flavoured fudge.
Feeling a bit guilty from eating fudge before lunch, I figured that a side trip to check out the Dorset Fire Tower was in order. This is one of only a few fire towers left in the region, and it stands 100m tall, well above the tree line and Lake of Bays. You get a bit of a cardio workout climbing up to the top, but the views are worth it on a clear day – especially in fall. As it got close to midday, it was time to head back to Baysville and get my lunch fix, which included some beers at the brewery.
Part of what makes Lake of Bays such a cool brewery is their NHL Alumni Partnership. Through this they’ve produced some limited-edition beers and are helping NHL Alumni raise funds for worthwhile charities. Some of the beers they’ve produced so far include “China Wall” named for Johnny Bower, “Cujo” named for Curtis Joseph, “Jake the Snake” named for Jacques Plante and “Stitches” named for Gerry Cheevers.
The brewery sampling focuses more on their main line up of beers and seasonals. Personal favourites of mine are the River Walker Ginger Lemon Ale, a summer beer; and the 10 Point India Pale Ale, an autumn brew.
So, after getting a fix of beers at Lake of Bays Brewing Co. , you’re going to be hungry. Lucky for you, a short walk right across the road is the Fork in the Road, a bake shop, and Yummies in a Jar (which speaks for itself). In other words – all sorts of goodies.
(Tip: Order one of the grain-fed, all natural sausages from Fork in the Road. They are delicious and even include a bit of leftover grain from the Lake of Bays Brewery in their sausages! With wild boar, lamb, duck, venison and a bunch of other regular sausages varieties, you’ll probably want to grab some to bring home, or cook over the camp grill too.)
With some waterfront parks nearby it’s easy to grab a spot outdoors and enjoy your lunch. Then after you’re done, there is no better way to take it easy and digest your meal than by enjoying a boat tour out on Lake of Bays.
The SS Bigwin is a historic ship, more than 100 years old, which originally sailed these waters as a steamship. Back then it would ferry the world’s elite around the lake and to Bigwin Island Resort, now home to an incredible golf course. After many decades out of commission, the ship was recently restored and began service as a tourist boat in 2013. Today it is battery powered, much cleaner and quieter than the original engine.
It’s a simple, but beautiful vessel and anyone who likes being on the water should treat yourself to a cruise on the SS Bigwin. Be sure to make time to check out the Lake of Bays Marine Museum as well to learn more about the ship and boating history of the area.
Be warned though – after cruising around Lake of Bays, you’re going to want to stay here for at least a couple more days to explore more and do some fishing, hiking or boating. Or maybe to just hang out in the Lake of Bays Brewing Co. beer garden, which is always a good choice! Check out the Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery self-guided mobile tour as well, which extends from Lake of Bays to Algonquin to Huntsville – and the replica Group of Seven painting at the Lake of Bays Brewing Co.’s tasting patio.
IF YOU GO: Contact the brewery ahead of time to arrange a tour & tasting.
MORE TO SEE & DO:
Back Country Tours – guided ATV and snowmobile tours
For tourism info visit Around Lake of Bays.
For more stories about brewery touring in the wilderness just north of Toronto with Red Hunt, click here.
To plan your stay in the great Canadian wilderness just north of Toronto, click here.
About Red Hunt
Red Hunt is a veteran travel writer who has written over 600 articles and newsletters to date about his adventures all over the world. Though he enjoys discovering lesser-known spots across the globe, he also enjoys trips into Ontario’s great outdoors. A big fan of craft beer, Red is known to sample local brews wherever he goes. For more information, visit www.redhunttravel.com