Friday, July 9, 2010

Petrie Island a hidden gem

On Thursday, as a result of a canceled bike trip, I took my Mother to Petrie island in Orleans. At first I was skeptical as I knew that the City had built a beach. I was expecting Moonies Bay in Orleans. I knew it was 'developed' and thus expected concession stands and the usual commercialization that follows development.

What a surprise. Petrie island is a nature preserve with trails, beaver lodges, an island for turtles, an interpretation centre and a lovely beach. It is clean and understated. There are two beaches that I found. The first, the larger beach is spacious with a volleyball court. The smaller is more private and shaded.

My mother and I set up at the larger beach. I put up a large Canada umbrella, and a chair for her and I went for a swim. My swim mask was not quite adjusted but my fins worked wonderfully. There were bouys to mark the end of the beach and I swam beyond them. No sooner had I come in then there was a moron on a ski do, roaring beside the bouys waving and proudly displaying the fact that he is further adding to pollution both with gas and with noise. It was as if he was saying "Hey folks look at me..isn't it wonderful I am ruining the planet and your experience with my shiny new toy which serves no function other than to annoy!"

The trails in Petrie island are suitable for biking and hiking and are well marked. There was an artist positioned near one of the trails putting finishing touches on an oil painting of the area.

When we were there, it was as if we were miles from anything although we were only 20 minutes from my Mother's home.

For those of you with children, I don't think you can do better than Petrie island. The little interpretation centre has books, displays, stuffed animals and a few skulls. It is large enough to engage even the most energetic youngster and the more academic minded could easily spend an afternoon looking at the books and displays and going out to find turtles, or beavers or warblers.

What a find!..Did I mention there is no admission fee?

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