Up at 8:30 this morning (sleeping in has been the thing to do this trip). A beautiful sunny day awaits.
We showered then packed up our gear in preparation for departure from Owen Sound after breakfast. We got in the vehicle and made our way to the closest Tim’s to pick up breakfast food. We found a very busy Tims near Highway 26, and returned with our Bagel Belts and Breakfast Sandwiches in hand. We ate our breakfast in the hotel room.
At about 10:45 we checked out of the Best Western Inn on the Bay in Owen Sound, loaded up the vehicle, set a GPS course for Tobermory and were off! Earlier in the week, we’d been told by the staff member at the Owen Sound Tourist Info Centre that we should stick to Grey Road 1 as the scenery from Owen Sound to Wiarton is spectacular on that route. We did just that and it was indeed awesome! We really enjoyed the relaxing view all the way and there was much less traffic on this route.
Along Grey Road 1 we stopped at the turnout for Skinner Bluff and took in the sweeping view. Nice:
A Stop in Wiarton
The travel plan today was to stick to the Grey Road 1 scenic route and stop in Wiarton for lunch before getting on to Highway 6 for the rest of the drive to Tobermory. We arrived in Wiarton just after 12:00 Noon, just in time to hear church bells at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church pealing (it was, after all, a typical Sunday in small town Ontario):
Starting our walkaround, we encountered MASSIVE construction on Wiarton’s main street; it was all torn up and entirely blocked off – what a mess and what a turn off:
The goal was to explore the town a little, then find some lunch. We explored the Harbour as much as we could and OD’d on Wiarton Willie information and statues:
The town, however, was simply uninteresting to us and we found little to win us over. At any rate, here’s a few random shots of Wiarton:
As to lunch, we could NOT find any possibilities. Google Maps directed us toward a Subway, so at least we could have a sub if nothing else. We found the place and got our subs to go as Subway didn’t allow anyone to sit in the restaurant (yet again, COVID raises its ugly head). Taking our subs, we found a picnic bench on the Harbour and ate there:
After lunch we returned to the Durango and left Wiarton, feeling a little disappointed, at about 1:30. Wiarton left us wanting so much more; we had heard so many positive things about it and expected great things, like our previous day in Meaford, but it was not to be. Talk about a letdown…
Anyway… we could not check into our Tobermory hotel until 3:00, so we were in no hurry to get there. With that in mind I drove at a leisurely pace to delay our Tobermory arrival. We got on to the #6 highway, which was not as scenic as the Grey Road 1, and made our way to Tobermory.
Arrival in Tobermory
We arrived at the Bruce Anchor Motel in Tobermory at exactly 3:00. We were a little put off the place at first as there was a big group of motorcyclists checking in and messing about, and things seemed so chaotic, loud and busy. I checked us in and we were given Room 24, which was on the second floor, east end of the motel. Vince and I lugged all our stuff up the stairway and set it inside our room. We were a little daunted by the setup of the room as it had a sliding patio door on the one end of the room that opened to a common balcony shared by all the other rooms. Basically there are two entrances to the room: the usual door in the front and the sliding door in back. Potential security issue here? (Note: when you are used to living in downtown Toronto, you instinctively think of things like this):
After dumping our stuff in our room we set out to explore the area. We didn’t know what was around and we wanted to find a breakfast place for tomorrow morning and a restaurant for this evening’s meal. We first stopped at the ticket office in Big Tub Harbour to purchase our tickets for tomorrow’s glass-bottom boat tour of the shipwrecks in the harbour, and for the general tour around Flowerpot Island. [Side note: there are two harbours in Tobermory: Little Tub Harbour and Big Tub Harbour. Almost all the restaurants, pubs, hotels, etc. are in Little Tub Harbour. Our hotel is a stone’s throw from Big Tub Harbour]:
Continuing my never-ending quest to sample ice cream the world over, we found the very thing at The Sweet Shop, and I indulged (of course). Leaving the Sweet Shop we explored Little Tub Harbour to see what else was around – it was a bustling and busy place!
It was about 5:00 and Vince was getting hungry (I wasn’t, but that’s what comes of stuffing ice cream in midday). Luckily we came upon a restaurant called Shipwreck Lee’s, which sported a definite pirate motif:
We each ordered, and received, the best fried chicken we’d ever had in our lives – my order was coated regularly and Vince opted for the Hot (spicy) version. It was incredible. We later found out that Shipwreck Lee’s is the number 2 restaurant in Tobermory according to TripAdvisor.
After leaving Shipwreck Lee’s we took a long walk along Little Tub Harbour. We saw the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry come in and it was interesting watching the front of the vessel open to load and unload passenger cars. For those unfamiliar, the Chi-Cheemaun is the ferry that travels between Tobermory and Manitoulin Island. You can discover more information here if interested:
We walked way down around Little Tub Harbour and enjoyed the golden sunlight from the setting sun, taking a lot of pictures during photography’s so-called golden hour; you could tell a beautiful sunset was imminent:
We returned to Big Tub Harbour near our hotel to watch the setting sun:
Returning to the Bruce Anchor Motel at about 7:30, we unpacked fully which helped us feel more at home. The rest of the evening was spent settling in, reading, journaling (me), and planning for tomorrow. It would be an earlier start than usual the next day as we had to be watered, fed and down at the dock for 10:00 to board the Bruce Anchor boat tour we are taking.
Another early night (9:30) to bed, exhausted again!