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Pools and lakes were like magnets to me

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As a further enticement to stay local at places like Friday Harbor, Ontario trips in 2022 are eligible for a provincial tax rebate, which is a maximum tax credit of $400 per family or $200 per individual, in general. So save those receipts! (Photo: Supplied) 

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Even before the Pandemic, Airbnb was huge. By the Spring of 2021—everyone got the same idea at the same time. Just like 2020 was homemade bread and TikTok. This year—we all knew the drill—things were more open in the summer. Vaccines were happening and people were getting very tired of sitting at home and walking around the block while dodging neighbors and wearing masks.

Hotels, meanwhile, were getting even more expensive, at least in Toronto. If you weren’t ready to Fly – it was time to find some other way to escape. So, I started thinking about summary rentals that were easy to access by car. Two hours away was my limit.

Pools and lakes were like magnets to me. It was the dead of winter when I started surfing the net and looking for getaways to beachy towns like Cobourg, Orillia and Bobcaygeon. I soon realized that the best affordable places were already almost booked up. What was left looked amazing and had crazy rates like $1200 + a night! I was starting to wonder: who was able to afford these prices?

Where were all the regular cottage renters? What could they now afford? So, I compromised and booked places for less time and paid more than I would have in the past. In the end, I was glad that I did so. By May, when I had my bookings locked up, vacation rentals in Ontario were very scarce indeed.

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Airbnb options — visited in Summer of 2021

Friday Harbor: Two bedroom Condo with walkout to a Private Pool

https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/45788429?source_impression_id=p3_1653420187_1zu7ITHAKjUHk6Is

During the summer of 2021 (after that winter lockdown) I was looking for something a short drive from home. Everything was booking up like crazy!

Luckily, I had planned ahead and booked a three night getaway for our anniversary. Friday Harbor–a popular enclave in Innisfil has very strict rules about guests but I found a condo rental in the one building that has its own pool and confirmed that we would be allowed to use it. Less than an hour from my home, this nicely furnished Airbnb was a great choice for a semi-isolated getaway.

Unfortunately, guests are blocked from most of the other amenities. We had to pre-book our swims but the location with a walk out right in front of the pool on the first floor made everything so easy. A nearby stairway led down to a boardwalk with some shops and restaurants. We had drinks at the lakeside restaurant that was open to us. Very windy but we enjoyed being outdoors by the lake. A real winner for Staycation traveling.

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Wasaga Beach: Scenic beachfront townhouse with pool and fire pit.

https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/42965328?source_impression_id=p3_1653420439_vfhoiQ%2FpyuLa2a9F

Our five day getaway to a unique Wasaga Beach Airbnb was also fabulous. It is rare to find places right on the beach and this unique townhouse complex is on a private stretch of  Beach 4 and also boasts a pool.

The townhouses are individually owned and ours was fully equipped with two bedrooms, air-conditioning, a kitchen and a couple of TV’s loaded with Netflix. Each unit had its own BBQ. Having the warm pool and the lake so close along with a fire pit and friendly fellow renters made for a relaxing and memorable getaway. Oh, those sunsets!

Private living in a 2 BR townhouse at Wasaga Beach in the perfect warm weather getaway! (Photo: Supplied)

Shangri La Hotel, November 2021

By this point, things had been opened and closed to varying degrees and with the rules constantly changing–I found this stay to be a bit challenging.

It was busier than in the early days but there was no staff outside to greet us, direct us to the valet parking or take our temperature before entering. I would say that a shortage of staff and a confusion on procedures lead to a rocky start. However, we got an amazing rate on this hotel through Hotwire and it is a very pretty and upscale looking place.

Bright colours and flowers abound. The lobby offers a classic tea service as well as music in the afternoons. The pool has indoor cabanas with TV’s and privacy curtains.

We visited a double room which we found to be comfortable and spacious but then received an upgrade to a suite. Both had spectacular bathrooms with all of the things that you might forget at home including toothbrushes, combs, cotton pads and nail files ( no need to call down) as well as a large waterfall shower and a deep soaker tub.

View from the Shangri-La Hotel on University Avenue in Toronto. (Photo: Supplied)

These local Staycations help businesses which are struggling terribly and give one the sense of “getting away” without stepping on an airplane.

Sometimes just leaving the space, where you have been locked down for many months, breathes fresh life into your being. Kudos to all the Ontario hotels, for taking extra steps to reassure guests and trying to stay open in spite of many obstacles.

Briefly, about a Home Staycation

Of course the ultimate Staycation for some, is really staying at home and making yourself as relaxed as comfortable as possible. For the cold winters, if you don’t feel like venturing out, I recommend staying warm by wearing the oversized Comfy https://thecomfy.com/ available on Amazon and ordering from your favourite restaurant. 

The joy of being able to lounge on a couch in a Comfy. (Photo: Supplied)

Watching Netflix and Prime filled a lot of nights for us in the basement rec room and recently I have added Israeli/Jewish programming to the mix.

Chaiflicks (https://www.chaiflicks.com/) is an Israeli streaming service which has some hilarious shows that I am greatly enjoying. Chaiflicks is a subscription based service priced at $7.60 a month. My favorite is The New Black. A must watch.

Stay tuned for more travel adventures as the world continues to open up. Follow me on Twitter @writer2sworker or Instagram @neiliaj

Neilia Sherman is a social worker and a widely published freelance writer. She specializes in personal essays, travel, Jewish issues, psychology and health. She can be reached at [email protected]. Check out her Blog: socialworkertravels.blog,

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

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