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Sep 25, 2014

Blue Mountain/Collingwood in the Fall


This past weekend we took off for Blue Mountain Resort.  Last summer we went there to celebrate our anniversary and had such a good time that we decided to make it an annual thing.

Blue Mountain Village

We decided to stay at the Grand Georgian since it's our favourite hotel there, but we still want to give the Weston Trillium House a try sometime since they are pet friendly. (And boy, are they! I think there must have been a golden lab convention going on.) We were given this cute little 1 bedroom suite with a dormer window in the bedroom.

Blue Mountain Village

We got there late on Friday night and had a walk around the village, stopping in at Rusty's at Blue for some drinks and appetizers. Our order must have seemed a bit bizarre - Malibu rum and cokes, deep-fried pickles, and spicy cornbread fritters.

Rusty's at Blue - Blue Mountain

The fritters came with parmesan butter and were the best thing I've had in a long, long time. (We ended up going back for lunch on Sunday - catfish tacos and more fritters!)

The main reason we were there was to do the High Ropes Challenge again, so I was watching the weather very carefully. Timber Challenge High Ropes are multiple rope courses with suspension bridges, cargo nets, zip lines, as well as other aerial elements. The highest level is 50 feet above the ground. On Saturday morning it was overcast, but still dry. We bought our tickets for later in the afternoon and headed off to the Collingwood Farmers Market. It's a small market, but the vendors are wonderfully varied in what they sell.

There was an alpaca farmer selling sweaters, hats, socks - even stuffed animals made of alpaca fleece. They brought two alpacas along with them for the kids (and for those of us that act like kids). They were terribly cute, even with their wacky haircuts. I bought alpaca socks once a long time ago, but they shrunk in the wash so I've been leery of buying them again.

Collingwood Farmers Market

There was a fruit vendor with the most beautiful displays. Actually, most of the vendors had great displays, but I didn't want to take pictures and then not buy anything. But I couldn't resist with these fruit baskets. Don't they just make you want to buy one (or two)?

Collingwood Farmers Market

We ended up buying some butter tarts, perogies, and peameal sandwiches, then heading on our way. We had hoped to buy a wooden rocking horse as a gift for our neighbours' new baby, but the woodworking vendor didn't have any in stock. He's planning on making more over the winter, so we'll have to stop back in the spring.

When we got back to Blue Mountain it was starting to drizzle, and by the time we had changed into workout clothes it was pouring. We walked around the village between storm bursts and kept checking with the activities centre. There are no refunds - you can just use the tickets another time - but we probably won't be back up there this year. I was getting more agitated as it got later and later. The course closes at 6pm and you want at least 3 hours to make it worth your while. Finally, at around 2pm it stopped raining, and by 2:30 the decks had dried up enough to be safe.

Blue Mountain Village

We hurried over to the rental shack to get our equipment and to go through a safety refresher. For some reason I was just as nervous as I was last year when I didn't know what it would be like. But once I got up on the beams and ropes I started to have a great time. I even crossed some of the "elements" that I was too afraid of last year. Yay, me! (When I say "afraid", I wasn't afraid of falling, I mean that I was afraid of getting stuck and having to be rescued.)

Blue Mountain Timber Challenge High Ropes

I called it quits at 5:30 so that Tom would have time to do the black diamond level of the course. That level is 3-4 stories up and the elements require a huge amount of upper-body strength and balance. Maybe next year I'll try it? Gotta get started on those push ups. The black diamond level ends with a jump from the last platform down to the ground. You're attached to a rope that slows your progress, but for the first 10-15 feet it's a freefall. Unfortunately, Tom jumped before I hit the record button, so all I have is video of him being lowered to the ground. Womp, womp. Check out last year's post for some better pictures.

Blue Mountain Timber Challenge High Ropes

Blue Mountain Timber Challenge High Ropes

Blue Mountain Timber Challenge High Ropes

After dropping off our equipment we got back to the village plaza in time to see some relay racers come in. The Relay to End Kids Cancer went from Caledon (north of Toronto) to Blue Mountain (100 km) and is usually run in teams, where you switch off at exchange points. The guy in the picture below ran the entire thing on his own - nearly 12 hours - and was still smiling at the end. How amazing is that?

Blue Mountain Village Relay to End Kids Cancer

The whole crowd was cheering, clapping, and making noise as he came in to the finish. You can't help but feel pride, just being there.

Blue Mountain Village Relay to End Kids Cancer

We headed back to our room to change for dinner. Our chiropractor is from the area and had suggested several restaurants in Collingwood we should try instead of eating at the resort. We were far too tired to sit through a fancy dinner though, so we headed to The Iron Skillet - a family-style restaurant that serves anything you could imagine - pasta, Mexican, Cajun, even Yorkshire pudding.

They were out of the Yorkshire pudding that I wanted, so I had the Cajun chicken and cheese tortellini and Tom had schnitzel and penne. The tortellini was kind of blah (I'm not a pasta fan), but the chicken was amazing. I wish I'd left room for some strawberry pie. They taped an episode of "You Gotta Eat Here" recently - I'm looking forward to seeing it.

The next morning, after waiting out another rainstorm (and having leftovers for breakfast), we checked out of the hotel and decided to hike up the mountain. It was still a little slippery, but the workout felt good after eating so much rich food all weekend (I didn't mention the pulled pork poutine or the chocolate-covered cranberries).

Blue Mountain Village

Blue Mountain Village

At the top of the mountain is a grilled cheese truck - Yeti Cheese - do you get the feeling my vacations revolve around food? I was so looking forward to a gourmet grilled cheese, but they were closed. So we rode the gondola back down the mountain and just enjoyed the fall air.

Blue Mountain Village Yeti Cheese

Blue Mountain Village

Blue Mountain Village

Once back on the ground we stopped at Rusty's at Blue for lunch as mentioned, and then headed for home. It was a pretty great weekend, even with all the rain. We're hoping Tom's employer picks Blue Mountain to host the company Christmas party (it's on the short list), otherwise we'll definitely be back to do it all again next year.




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