The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Friday, October 31, 2014

A GRAND Finale

On October 26, over 40 friends and family and followers of my adventures gathered on 
Mackinac Island for the Grand Finale of my 
1000-Mile Great Lakes ISLAND Adventure.

We had a gorgeous day for the hike 

Hiking final miles with Stephanie "Stew" Lyon 

Over 25 people hiked the final miles of this adventure on Mackinac Island.

 I brought along the walking stick carved for me by Bette Hartig of Big Rapids, Michigan. It was an honor to hike the final miles of my final adventure with this custom walking stick.

Hikers ready to head out

Milene, Leslie, Marlene and Theresa stand and wave to the crowd (photo by Shelly Kehrle-Sulser) 

The final steps up to the Grand Hotel (photo by Shelly Kehrle-Sulser)

Giving a short talk before dinner (photo by Shelly Kehrle-Sulser)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Toronto's indie bookstore


As you all know by now, I am a fan of indie bookstores. While in Toronto exploring the Toronto Islands (yes, there are islands there), 
I found Ben McNally Books.

Interior of Ben McNally Books

What a great store! I bought two books on the history and geology of the area.

Window shopping

Stop in next time you're in this Great Lakes city, or check out their website HERE.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Second Anniversary of Great Lakes Walk

Two years ago, I completed my
1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk 
at Niagara Falls.

The dramatic finish line

The final miles were along the Niagara River 

Many friends and family members hiked these final miles with me

Gorgeous fall hiking!

The enthusiastic hikers!

Now, two years later, I am on the cusp of completing my 
1,000-Mile Great Lakes ISLAND Adventure
on Mackinac Island.

I'll blog about that finale soon!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Toronto Islands

I explored the Toronto Islands 
for my upcoming book. 
These small islands tuck up against Toronto's shoreline and are accessible by ferry.

Map of the Toronto Islands

The view from the islands back at Toronto

View from the ferry

Mature trees give these islands a lush, natural feel

They are a wonderful retreat for Toronto's residents and visitors.

Boardwalk along the Lake Ontario side of the island

Plaza and fountain on one of the islands

The ferry

Learn more HERE.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Green Door B&B, Brockville, ON

While on my Great Lakes Adventures, I've 
brought you glimpses of some of the special inns and historic B&Bs where I've stayed.
In the town of Brockville, Ontario, I came across one of the most ambitious building transformations I have ever seen.

The Green Door B&B used to be a church, the Pentecostal Tabernacle, built in 1929. 
Lynne and Peter Meleg purchased the empty building in 2005 and undertook a bold renovation. They detail the transformation of the building on their website HERE.

Entry to the Green Door B&B

Lynne & Peter in the brilliant kitchen

There are four rooms with private baths at the B&B and two apartments in the building that used to be used for Sunday School.

Dining area for gourmet breakfasts

Breakfasts at the inn were amazing. 
Here are some of their specialties:

  • Eggs Benedict, Green Door style. Mouth-watering!
  • Lemon ricotta pancakes drizzled with raspberry-maple coulis. Heavenly!
  • Asian-inspired poached eggs. A vegetarian delight!
  • Citrus French toast with berries, mint and warmed maple syrup. Yummy!
  • Gathering area -- check out those windows!

    The renovation preserved much of the large, open spaces in the building and the windows....
    the windows!
    The space is bathed in natural light.

    Gorgeous detail in the floor

    This is the perfect place to stay while exploring historic Brockville and the Thousand Island region of the St. Lawrence River.

    Private bath in my room

    I had the "boathouse room", and, yes, this was my private window

    Promotional consideration given.

    Wednesday, October 8, 2014

    Boldt Castle

    Passing under the Thousand Island Bridge

    While exploring the St. Lawrence River, I hiked Heart Island, the location of Boldt Castle. 
    This castle is connected to great sorrow, because when George C. Boldt (owner of the Waldorf Hotel in New York City) was having it built as a gift for his wife, Louise, she died. The exterior of the summer mansion was finished and the interior was swarming with over 300 craftsmen working to complete the job.

    A smaller building on the island that housed the power generators

    Heartbroken, Boldt sent a telegram telling the workers to lay down their tools and leave the island. The building remained unfinished for decades.

    The main entry

    The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority obtained the island in 1977 and have been restoring the property ever since.

    Glass dome

    Finished bedroom

    View from the room

    Exterior still undergoing restoration

    Dining room

    It is quite a castle, and a fascinating story that I'll share more of in my upcoming book.


    The nearby boathouse

    Sunday, October 5, 2014

    The 1000 Islands of the St. Lawrence River

    I coordinated with a kayaking outfitter,
    to explore some of the islands in the St. Lawrence River.

    This company is based in Gananoque, Ontario. This special trip, though, was out of Brockville, Ontario, 
    to explore the Frontenac Arch. 

    Kayaking on the St. Lawrence River, a freighter passes behind me

     The Frontenac Arch is the ancient granite bridge connecting the Canadian Shield to the Adirondack Mountains. It is an incredibly biodiverse region and was recognized in 2002 by being designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
    National Geographic also recognized the area as a geotourism region. This recognizes the connection of tourism of the region the geographical character of a place. This connection "...should sustain or enhance the environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and well-being of its residents."

    Kayaking with the group through a narrows


     They served a wonderful lunch, much of the food was 
    sourced locally. 

    We had lunch on Stovin Island

    The city of Brockville owns around 16 islands in the river here and maintains them for boaters to explore and even to camp on some of them. 

    Heading back toward Brockville

     Murray Golledge, a local kayaking expert and kayak builder, paddled with us and told stories of this stretch of river that he loves so much. He talked about "listening to the river" and he told me that the river often gave tests instead of lessons. 
    Murray said, "If you survived the test, then you 
    learned the lesson." 
    I certainly have some experience with that concept!

    A gorgeous day on the river

    The waters of the Great Lakes are on a slow journey to the northern Atlantic Ocean. All of these waters flow down the Saint Lawrence River -- hundreds of miles -- before merging with the ocean.

    Check out the Facebook Page for the Frontenac Arch Biosphere HERE.

    And connect with 1000 Island Kayaking 

    Wednesday, October 1, 2014

    Monarch butterflies

    Monarch butterflies are finally 
    having a good year. 
    Conditions this spring were favorable as the cloud of monarchs migrated north from their wintering grounds in Mexico into southern U.S. 
    The summer was also easy on the butterflies as the next generations migrated into the northern states. Many thousands of them make their way into the Great Lakes basin. collects data and also sells milkweed plugs so concerned monarch fans can cultivate this important plant on their land.

    Milkweed is the ONLY plant that monarchs will lay eggs on. It is the ONLY plant that the caterpillars of the monarchs will eat.

    While hiking on Manitoulin Island, I saw the most beautiful milkweed plants: 

    The amount of milkweed growing along the migratory path of the monarchs has been declining for years and has caused a huge drop in the number of monarchs.
    Learn more HERE.