Camping in Long Point

Shots of the gang – almost all taken with our GoPro Hero 3+.

We just spent a wonderful week tucked away on a camp site in Long Point Provincial Park.

Long Point is one of our favourite parks in Ontario. Only two hours from our storage facility in Hamilton, it’s easily accessible via winding country lanes. We love the lush, green landscape of Norfolk County, so different from the harsher feel of Lake Huron. The shorter trip is ideal for the kids who tend to get cranky when we’re travelling for longer than four hours.

I had been in touch with Karen Matthews, manager of Burning Kiln Winery, to secure an overnight spot for our upcoming trip in August, but as Burning Kiln happened to be on our way to Long Point, we decided to drop by unannounced for a quick lunch. Karen graciously showed us around the winery, pointing out a spot by a forest where we’ll be staying when we’re returning in a couple of weeks.


The Airstream parked at Burning Kiln

A delicious lunch of Lake erie perch tacos, for the adults, and pizza, for the kids, later and we continued on our way to the campground.

The road out to the sandbank is a little like a fairy tale of summer. Old, rickety family cottages, some little better than shacks, sit next to newer buildings along the sandy shore. Little beach stores sell ice cream and sun screen, boats are everywhere.

Arriving at Long Point, I remembered just in time that the main dumping and fresh water station is actually outside the park – last year, we had to turn around and go back out. We had booked a campsite just opposite the playground, so the boys could just run across. What we hadn’t counted on was the prolific growth of poison ivy that the park rangers allowed to grow, so letting the kids run unsupervised wasn’t a possibility after all.

Our campsite at Long Point

Add to this that our site was very exposed, I don’t think we ever had less privacy, and we’ll be choosing differently next time. On the plus side, we were very close to the beach and with the kids now all able to walk, we had a lot less work on our hands than we had last year, when we visited on our maiden journey.

When we arrived, I had the chance to try out my home made backup camera for the Airstream. Our GoPro Hero 3+ connects to a tablet or phone via its own WIFI network, streaming the camera view. The stated range is 600ft, but that’s line of sight with nothing between camera and receiver. A 34′ Airstream can cause quite a bit of an obstacle for a WIFI signal.

When we arrived at the Park, I mounted the camera to the back of the Airstream with a gopro suction cup, then connected our iPad to the camera’s WIFI signal. Driving on, the stream was clear, with perhaps a 1/2 second delay – ample for reversing into a tight spot.

Testing the gopro on the way into the Park

The stream did stop and reconnect a couple of times on the last mile or so towards our camp site, so it’s not a perfect solution for a permanent rearview camera. But, as these are in the $800 range, I think we’ll make do with the gopro for now when we need to be able to see what’s happening behind us.

The next morning we were joined by our friends Ed and Marina and their kids, also from Toronto. After a fun day at the beach, and a shared dinner, we all retired, tired but happy. The kids all slept the second their heads touched the pillow and didn’t wake up until 8:30 the next morning.

Ed and company packed up to get back to the city for the week, which turned out to be a good thing as a heavy thunderstorm drenched the entire campground the following night. A bolt of lightning struck a tree nearby, knocking out the electrical system in a trailer parked underneath and even causing a small fire. Not much fun in a tent.

The following days were spent at the beach, when it was sunny, and exploring the surrounding area, when it was raining for two days. Norfolk and Elgin County reminded us of England, lush and green with gently undulating hills. We visited some amazing lavender farms and wineries, we ate fried lake fish, we saw some beautiful little villages and hamlets.

Port Dover in the rain
What was interesting for me was that there were many opportunities to park the trailer for the night. Port Stanley has a huge, free, parking lot down by the harbour where one lonely Class C was already parked, the village of Sparta offered free parking to visitors as well and almost all the farms we visited would have allowed us to stay as well.

Steed and Company, a beautiful horse and lavender farm deep in Elgin County

The week ended with a visit from more friends, more good food and then, all too soon, it was Sunday and time to hitch up and drive back to the city. We dropped the Airstream off at the storage facility and were soon home in our brick house again – until next time.

Favourite photo


Felix, coming down the slide, a split second before splashing down into a puddle, soaking his pants. Anja, just realizing what was going to happen. Sometimes you just need to be in the right place at the right time.

For those who are thinking “bad dad”, these were swimming trunks and we had towels and a change of clothing with us.

Canada Day

After all the fun we had at Dufferin Grove last weekend, we decided to spend our Canada Day morning there as well. The second we left the house it started raining hard for ten minutes, but we decided to go on anyway.

In the end we were glad we did, as it cleared up into a bright and sunny day almost immediately. We bumped into old neighbours from Shirley Street days, we had coffee and an impromptu picnic and all the boys got suitably wet and tired.

I am having a lot of fun shooting with the GoPro Hero Three+. Out of the camera the images are a little washed out and pale, but that’s nothing a little time in Aperture and some adjustment using the Nik Collection couldn’t fix.

At the Dufferin Grove Playground

Today we spent a happy, muddy morning at the Dufferin Grove Adventure Playground. Water, sand, wood and shovels. Tasty hot dogs and macaroni cheese from a little volunteer manned cafe. It doesn’t get much better, especially in the middle of the city.

I took our waterproof GoPro Hero with me, so we could grab some pictures without worrying about a camera getting wet and muddy.

Lake Erie – a tour

We’ve always been fans of Lake Huron. The sandy beaches, the wonderful sunsets, the wide open spaces dotted with well kept Mennonite farms, those were the reasons we bought our little weekend getaway farm cottage near Kincardine some years ago.

Lake Erie via Landsat
Lake Erie via Landsat. The tongue sticking out from the top is Long Point Provincial Park.
But while we loved the cottage, we found that the upkeep of a rural property took too much of our time. We sold again and bought our Airstream instead. Since then, we started exploring Ontario’s most overlooked and often ignored lake – Lake Erie. With a reputation for danger, there are places where Lake Erie is known for its undertow, and pollution, much of which has been cleaned up, Lake Erie is a bit of the ugly stepsister of the Great Lakes. One of the results is that it’s actually possible to book sites in the Lake Erie Provincial Parks during August when pretty much anything else has been booked for months.

Airstream camping in Long Point Provincial Park
Long Point was the destination of our first trip after buying our Airstream – with three kids under three (at the time) it was quite the adventure.

This year we’ll be testing out three of the Parks – Long Point, which we know and love, but then also Port Burwell, which is getting good reviews and two nights at Selkirk, where the reviews are decidedly mixed. Some report that the beaches are dirty, but the sites look spacious and very well kept. We’ll see. One of the benefits of having wheels is that we can move on whenever we feel like it.

I’m also looking forward to exploring the surrounding countryside, farms and wineries. I just had a friendly chat, on twitter, with Director of Winery Operations for Burning Kiln Winery, Karen Mathews. Looks like we might be staying with them for one night. Burning Kiln take part in Harvest Hosts, which is exciting for us because that means we can use our membership for the first time. 


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