Family Vacations
 Black's Bay Lodge ("BBay")

There's something for every type of Family at Black's Bay Lodge

Check out the following links:

What does BBay offer for different kinds of families ?

Singles Group of Young People Young Couples
Parents with Young Children Families with Teenagers Mature Couples & "Empty Nesters"
Seniors & Retirees Professionals  Special Families 

Why do people come to BBay ?

 Remove Distractions  Build Relationships  Share Problems & Solutions
 Create Fun Together  Understand by Listening;
Carefully & Fully
 Practice Caring, More & More
 Build More Hope for the Future

There are many definitions of family; one of which includes you and yours.

As different as all families are, there are some common elements.  This section will try to explain what those essential and common elements are (in my opinion).  A few examples are given to demonstrate how BBay helped, coached, and encouraged other families.  I believe BBay can also be a powerful tool for your family.

However, BBay is not a panacea ("cure-all").  If you are doing most other things right with your family, BBay can help reinforce all that is good.  If you are unwilling or unable to do right by your family in some other areas, perhaps BBay can give you a bright spot during vacation time; facilitating family members to continue hoping and caring about themselves and each other.

I believe when hope and caring disappear, families start to break down and disintegrate.

I believe a family vacation at BBay can help reinforce and build the hope and caring within a family.

Take a look at some of the pictures on this web site.  Think about the fun, shared experiences, and warmth your family can have doing the same or similar.

Why do people come to Black's Bay Lodge ?

  1. Remove Distractions      We live in a crazy world.  We have a frantic pace in our lives.   We suffer through distractions every waking minute.  We have mandatory tasks that won't wait.  We painfully delay what's truly important, to do what we "have to do".  Everything competes for our time and attention.  Everyone keeps ratcheting up the volume, the frequency of their message, and the enticements so they can be heard over everyone else.
  2. At Black's Bay Lodge ("BBay"), you will be alone, and left alone.  You have 113 acres of wilderness to insulate you from the crazy world.  Your nearest neighbor is rarely home, and is over 0.5 km away from you.  You can be as noisy (or as quiet) as you wish.  You will be protected from everyone else's noise.

    At BBay, there is no TV, VCR, video games, nor DVD (unless you bring them with you).  You can hear yourself think.  You have time to think.  The wildlife wants to be left alone, just as you do.

    You have time to share.  You can recharge your spirit.  Time and opportunities are available.  You are free to choose a slower pace.  You have a "take it as it comes" agenda.

    Discover (or re-discover) your family's own agenda.  It has probably changed significantly since the last time you looked and truly listened.

        "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by:
               the things that you didn't do,
               than by the ones you did do.

        So throw off the bowlines.
        Sail away from the safe harbor.
        Catch the trade winds in your sails.

                Mark Twain

    GoTo Top


  3. Build Relationships      Sometimes, we can be too intense.  However, when we are busy gathering firewood, or watching a sunset, or observing a chipmunk eat a peanut, this is the time we can hear the words of others the best.  They can finally hear you.  Difficult subjects are smoothed by the surroundings.
  4. Relationships build slowly, and need the time together to develop.  It cannot be done to a busy schedule, nor put on an agenda.

    When it comes to people, there is no such thing as "efficiency".  There is only "effectiveness".

    The big, outdoors at BBay allow people to feel free.  Can you achieve this in a campground or trailer park when the neighbors are 10 ft. away? Possibly, but with difficulty.

    This freedom and distance at BBay allows people to get close.  Take the time to rebuild and strengthen your relationships with all your family members.

        "Most things which are urgent
           are not important, and
         most things which are important
           are not urgent."

             President Dwight Eisenhower

    GoTo Top

  5. Share Problems and Solutions            People naturally pull together and form teams when they share common problems and have part in developing the solutions.  At BBay, life is not as simple as the standard conveniences of our modern world can make it.
  6. Getting water from the lake, getting firewood, lighting the fire when you only have 2 matches left, heating water in the solar collector for the shower, boiling water for the percolator coffee pot, and navigating the rocks so we can go swimming are all small problems that don't occur in our regular life.  We can talk about options and plans, and find the small things that everyone does that can be recognized as significant accomplishments.

    There are a number of camp craft books in the library to challenge everyone if you run out of naturally occurring problems.

"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within."

  Elizabeth Kubler Ross

    GoTo Top

  1. Create Fun Together    You don't need a professional comedian to have fun.  Life usually creates enough ironic and silly opportunities for all of us.

    I find some of the best laughs come from the respectful interactions I have with other people.  When we try new things, there is bound to be learning, mis-understandings, and inflexibility with our strange tasks and attempts.

  2. The best skill we can teach ourselves and others is to always retain a sense of humour.  A smile still comes over my face when I remember building the spiral staircase for the main lodge.  It took me 4 attempts to assemble the dozens of pieces for the second-hand spiral staircase into the lodge; each time a critical error stopped its erection and required dis-assembly and re-planning.  After the 3rd attempt, I was more than willing to read any instruction manual, if I had the blessing to have received one.

    At the time, I became more and more upset at the wasted time & effort.  I had plans & a schedule.  Thinks weren't going according to plan.  Frustration becomes humour over time and perspective.

    There are other things that are fun at the time, and retain their enjoyment over time.  I have very fond memories of watching my kids play together, find a frog, build a toy canoe from birch bark, and interact with each other without the need for TV.

    The island is full of interesting things to see and do that are very different from most people's daily lives.  After 22 years of spending every summer on Manitoulin, it is only now that I'm starting to re-do some things that I have done in the past.

    Experience them together.  Talk about your experiences together.  Create and share the fun together.

    GoTo Top


  3. Understand by Listening; Carefully & Fully      The distractions have been removed. You have time for what's important, rather than what must be done.  There is time left for listening.  There will be quiet times to just sit on the cedar deck with your beverage of choice.
  4. If you are alone on the porch, you can listen to yourself.  Where have you been?  Where do you want to go?  How will you get there?  Why do you want this more than anything else?

    If you are fortunate to have someone sit beside you, you can share the view and the small sounds in the woods.  They fill the silence while you think about what they just said.  What did they say?  Why did they feel a need to say that?  What were they feeling to prompt them to speak those words?  How can I relate their thoughts to my life, and my feelings?

    Extra time is afforded us by the tranquil surroundings at BBay.  We are not expected to respond so quickly.  Our impatience is controlled by the forest around us.  There is time to listen and to be understood.  Before, we listened for many different reasons.  Today is when we listen to understand.

    At first, others may become anxious when they suddenly realize that you were truly listening.  This may be different from the normal they experience with most people.

    At first, they may not be able to take prolonged exposure of careful listening.  They become uncomfortable and leave for other places.  But they take with them a sense of warmth.  They have been listened to, unlike other times and places, so many times before.  While it was a strange feeling, it was a good feeling.  As they do other things, they notice the slow loss of that warmth.  They will soon want more.

    Slowly, over time and events, you notice they stay longer.  When they leave, they come back sooner.

    They learn, slowly at first, that this is a good place to be.  They are safe here, with you.  Here, they become warm inside.

    You may have started it, but soon others will join you in this different method of interacting.  When anyone else is here, it becomes a draw; like gravity.  Soon, you don't have to be the single centre around which others collect.  They do so on their own.  With or without you, they have learned the value of listening to understand.  Somehow, you have learned; simultaneously teaching yourself and others.  Is this what "listening to understand" is all about?

      GoTo Top

  5. Practice Caring, More & More      What is caring?  How do we learn that someone cares about us?

    Once upon a time, a young man developed a plan for his life.  He decided to focus his life on work, and developing significant wealth.  He had no time for other people.  This young person grew old as his wealth grew bigger.  Soon, this dedicated, tireless man had "single-handedly" reached his goal.  No one knew this rich man, but they knew of his wealth.  Having reached his life's goal, this rich, old man could finally stop work.  He moved on to the second part of his plan:   share his wealth with those who needed it most.  However, he had no family.  The elders had died long ago.  The cousins were truly strangers.  Most had no time for an old man they didn't know.  Those who did cared more about the money than the man.  The old man quickly sensed this, and wanted nothing to do with them.  He did not know his neighbors.  When he tried to talk to other people, he had little to say.  He had paid attention to only 1 thing all his life.  They had little interest in his expertise.  He was unable to understand nor inquire about their lives.  The people who most desperately wanted his money were the ones he felt least inclined to give it to.  No one understood him and his plan.  They didn't listen when he explained his isolation for so many decades.  They didn't care that he had their best interest in mind while he ignored them for so long.   Soon after, he died.  The government inherited everything.

    Another young man made a different plan for his life.  He also wanted to do well for other, but decided on a different approach.  He remembered being a small child when he was given a shiny penny.  It may not have been important nor missed by the adult who gifted it to him, but he was rich!  He never forgot that feeling.

    On work days, he only saw his children for an hour in the morning and for 2 to 4 hours each night.  On the weekends, he had tasks to do around the house, but always tried to work the children into those activities in some small way.  He was therefore able to spend 10 to 12 hours each day with them on weekends.  Remembering the shiny penny, he decided to "give a penny" every minute to each of his children.  He watched them work and play.  When they noticed him watching and returned the glance, he flashed a loving smile at them.  He laughed with them.  He let them know he cared, one penny at a time.

    When his oldest child turned 21 years old, he shared his secret and philosophy with them.  On a weekday, there were only 2 to 4 hours of togetherness, 180 minutes on average.  On the weekends, there was a total of 1,320 minutes.  Each of these minutes gave the child a penny's worth of love.  By the time the child had reached 21, each child had accumulated a principal of $24,242.00 dollars; a penny at a time.  With the magic of compound interest at 10% per yr., each child has $81,788.00   It was amazing that a penny at a time could add up to almost $100,000

    Everyone who knew the children felt the solid gold in their character.  This was where the true value lay; totally beyond the reach of all thieves, swindlers, and economic depressions.

    When you come to Black's Bay, bring a roll of pennies for each person.  As you feel inclined, give someone a smile of love and acceptance, then hand them a penny.  See which person in your group can get rid of all their pennies the soonest.

    Can you guess what happens as you play this simple game?

    GoTo Top

  6. Build more Hope for the Future      Hope can take a long time to build.  Fortunately, it also takes a long time to destroy.  It is the staying power and persistence that we all need in our lives.   Did all hope vanish a few minutes after Sept. 11th?  Even this shocking and tragic event was unable to destroy it.  Unlike the buildings, the foundations of our hopes shook and cracked, but it resisted this terrible blow.  It didn't totally crack and collapse from the severe force of Sept. 11th

    Is our future still secure?  Is there a future?  The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Have the forests changed?  Have the antics between the Blue Jays and the red squirrels changed since 9/11?  When we need hope for the future, we need assurance that our past is still secure.  That we can trust in what we know.  The knowledge of the past allows us to venture and continue into the risky future.

    Black's Bay has a steady past.  It is a tranquil oasis in our rapidly changing world.  It is a constant that will always be there in some form.  Come back to your roots.  Share these experiences and memories with your family when they need this reassurance the most.  Show your readiness to face the difficult and unknown future because you have understanding of your past.  Discuss your fears and how you cope and live with them.  Take the long walks down the trails while you help build a common hope for the future.

    "You see things;
      and you say 'Why?'
     But I dream things that never were;
      and I say 'Why not?'"

           George Bernard Shaw

    GoTo Top

What does BBay offer for different kinds of families ?

"Only those who will risk going too far
  can possibly find out
  how far one can go."
       T. S. Elliot

Perhaps what Black's Bay is offering is "a bridge too far" at this time in your life.  Perhaps "later" will be a more perfect time.  There is only one way to know for sure.  You have to risk.  You need to try before it's too late.  Perhaps you will be disappointed you waited so long  before you tried it the first time.  Perhaps many other people will thank you for passing the excellent experience and advice to try Manitoulin Island on to them.  Now's the time.

  1. Single & Alone

  2. I am comfortable being alone with myself.  I have often brought my 5 favorite books, loaded up the car, and went to Manitoulin.  I read, sit and look at the trees, read some more, go for a walk, think about me and my life, re-read what is making me re-think again.  I get a full nights rest.  Sleep deprivation is finally gone. When I'm ready, I come back to the "real world" fully charged.

    If you have a special somebody, you can totally escape the rest of the world.  Be truly alone, until you want to be together.  Either way, its a 2 km drive to or from  town. 


  3. Group of Young People

  4. For the party set, you can "party hearty" with your family & friends without disturbing the neighbours.

    There is a canoe for friendly and peaceful voyages along the rugged shoreline beauty.  At night there are stars and bon fires with your closest friends

    Nearby there are sandy beaches, beach volleyball, boardwalks, horseback riding.

    The South shore is excellent for wind surfing and sailing with a steady 5 scale wind (best in continental N. America is a 7 at the Aleutian Islands, some of the passes in the Rockies get a scale 6 wind).

    Take a slow walk along the rocky beach with a close friend.  Ask and answer the tough questions for each of you.  Grow closer.

  5. Young Couples

  6. This time together is to be shared.  Do things together and apart.  Come back together again, and share your adventures.  Switch your normal roles at home.  See a glimmer of what the other person's role feels like for a few hours or days.

  7. Parents with Young Children

  8. The swimming is great.  The water starts shallow, and very gradually it gets deeper .

    All of a sudden, siblings learn that they can, and will join forces to explore their interesting world.

    There are caves to be explored, rock fossils to be found all over the beach.

    In town, there is horse back riding, and nature centres

    All of a sudden, kids see the weird types of grass, bugs, and moss on the sides of trees.  Everything is new.

    There are nature trails to be explored.  Animal tracks to be identified.  Sand castles to be built, and fish to be caught.

  9. Families with Teenagers

  10. Teens can sense when you are lost.  You could truly use their help.  For a change, they can rescue you.  It's a nice feeling; one to be savored.

    While the local teens are friendly, there are get-aways within get-aways at BBay.  The trailer is a favorite teen hang out.  Sleeps 4, own cook stove, table for playing cards and late night meetings.  Their own little world away and independent from the adults, but only 50 ft. from the main cottage.

  11. Mature Couples & "Empty Nesters"

  12. You've waited a long time for the peace and quiet.  Your duties have been done.  There is more time for yourselves instead of the sweet sacrifices you willingly made.

    There is no better place to re-kindle the memories of when it was just the two of you, alone together is the world.

    That's what BBay is all about.

  13. Seniors & Retirees

  14.   The more complex the world, the simpler the solution we need.  Black's Bay and Manitoulin Island is naturally focused on the simple life.  The younger ones will eventually realize what you have known for a long time.  Its the simple things that are the most important.  Spend quality time with the simple things and simple life at Manitoulin.

  15. Professionals

    Busy  people interacting with everyone simultaneously.  You have earned the big dollars.  You have paid the big price for those dollars.  Now is your chance to reap the rewards.

    Pamper yourself differently that the Four Seasons Hotel.  Absorb the quiet and simplicity of Black's Bay Lodge.  The change will do you good.  The pace will re-charge your batteries; preparing you for the challenge and demands that professionals control and endure.

  16. Special Families      Acceptance, tolerance, and privacy can be powerful allies.  Some people can always find and exploit differences in visible minorities, religion, race, sex, economics, sexual orientation, language, place of origin, and many more.  Where the differences don't exist in reality, they can be created in their narrow minds.

    But remember one thing:   No matter how "main stream" a person may be, there are those who still don't accept them for whom they choose to be.

    For those families who are not in the majority, acceptance can be scarce, or hard won.  Unfortunately, the battle is never fully won.  While tolerance can give us a rest from this constant pressure, it is not complete.  Sometimes, all we can achieve is a buffer zone of privacy.

    Fortunately, when we have these three allies by our side, we can find the rest and inner peace we all need.  I have found the people on Manitoulin to be very accepting for the most part.  While all small towns and enclaves are evolved in the lives of those around them, visitors usually ride free through these interactions.

    "Good fences make for good neighbors" started as a country wisdom.

    When all else fails, you will always have your privacy at Black's Bay Lodge.

Original Version:   Sept. 7, 2003