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Romantic times as the sun sets on the Bonnie View Inn just south of Haliburton. Photo by Mondo Lulu.

Dirty Dancing North

An end-of-summer motorcycle trip lands us at the most romantic (and fun) lakeside stop in Ontario's Haliburton Highlands—the Bonnie View Inn.



 

Envision this... you’re swaying to the sound of guitar music, under the stars with your sweetheart. After the band finishes their set, the two of you walk down the dock and dangle your toes in the water while listening to loons call to each other across the lake. It’s a perfect summer evening. You can smell a bonfire across the way, and hear the chitter-chatter of fellow vacationers getting to know each other. The odd laugh or giggle pierces the night air, which is the perfect temperature for some dockside cuddling. Your honey holds your hand ever so softly. No talking is needed, aside from when you agree to call it a night and head back to your cabin. 

Live music on the patio at the Bonnie View Inn. Photo: Martin Lortz

The setting is as picturesque, and, quite honestly, reminiscent of the movie Dirty Dancing. Imagine a quaint lodge with cabins nestled throughout the property, a volleyball court, beach, and as many games and water activities as your heart desires. It may seem like I’m describing Kellerman’s from the iconic 1987 movie, but I’m actually describing the Bonnie View Inn, which is located in the "authentically Canadian" Haliburton Highlands.

The resort in Dirty Dancing was actually in Virginia but turns out Haliburton is for lovers too. Photo: Martin Lortz

Chalet No. 1 is where I personally stayed, and although it’s not quite the honeymoon suite (that one is chalet No. 8, if you’re interested), I’m certain Baby and Johnny would have enjoyed this room as much as I did. It features a comfy king size bed, fireplace, and private balcony overlooking Lake Kashagawigamog.

The Bonnie View is family-owned and offers a total of 28 rooms between the coach house and chalets, all of which have different amenities including jacuzzi tubs, lakefront views, and living rooms. The number of rooms and chalets is perfect and gives the entire resort and property a quaint, intimate feel.

How We Got There - Route

A motorcycle trip with friends brought me to the Haliburton area, located just over two hours from Toronto, where we spent the day exploring some of Ontario’s twisty motorcycle roads, and then the evening enjoying dinner at the Bonnie View’s lakeside dining room, with libations on the patio, and campfire stories down at the private beach.

Trading stories from the road around the campfire. Photo: Martin Lortz

After a long day of riding, we parked our bikes parked securely in the large parking lot, and traded our gear for bathing suits before heading out on a wakeboard boat. Here’s a fun fact: the Bonnie View Inn is the only resort in Ontario that has an onsite ski and wakeboard school, in addition to jet ski rentals, parasailing, and hydro flight activities!

The moto crew takes a ride of another variety on Lake Kashagawigamog. Photo: Martin Lortz

As my group laughed, took pictures, and got tossed from the banana tube, we finally let go of whatever stress we had been holding on to from the week leading up to our trip. The sun started setting as we cruised the lake, and though we didn’t want to stop the fun, our grumbling stomachs won the argument and convinced us to head in for a late dinner. 

The Bonnie View dining room has plenty of room for large groups as well as quiet corners for couples

Exhausted from riding, we called it an early night. I was asleep before my head hit the pillow, and awakened by rays of sunshine peeking through the window. 

Day 2

With a coffee in hand, I gradually woke up while sitting on the balcony overlooking the lake. It was a beautiful sight to start my morning with: calm, peaceful, and serene. An hour later, I was caffeinated, had a full belly from breakfast, and was sitting on an idling Honda CBR500r, ready to take on another full day of riding and exploring. 

My group of riding buddies were all from the Toronto and surrounding areas, aside from Casey, our guest from Arizona. Determined to give him a good overview of what riding in Ontario is like, we set off to ride the highlands—and ride we did! Surrounding the Bonnie View Inn are many fun places to ride, such as Dyno Road, Loop Road, and Elephant Lake Road. Being the true off-road, sand and desert rider that he is, Casey was amazed at the amount of greenery along our route. It was so fun to see an outsider’s perspective on the area! 

Within miles of the Bonnie View Inn there are fun places to stop and various activities to participate in. We mixed riding with a tour of the Artech Glassblowing Studio, and lunch at the Olde Ridge Authentic BBQ, which made me feel like I was back in Texas for a bit. Those ribs and cornbread were finger-licking good!  

A visit to the Artech Glassblowing Studio in Tory Hill, Ontario

Back at the Inn after the second day of riding, I took some time to wander the property. Daisy the pig has a pen located off the main lodge, which just adds to the unique, small-town vibe of this place. Really, where else are you going to see a pet pig at a resort?!

The private beach features lounge chairs, perfect sand, and water activities such as paddle boarding; kayaks and water bikes are available for use. With so much to do, I quickly realized that I would need to come back again to fully experience all that the Bonnie View Inn has to offer. Open year-round, the resort also has great winter activities, including an ice rink, toboggan runs, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing. And it’s in close proximity to snowmobile trails!


Lots to do all year round at the Bonnie View

Owner Andrea Hagarty thanked us for coming and waved us off as we rode away with a warm feeling in our stomachs. While this was likely from the delicious bacon and egg breakfast that morning, I think it was also due in part to the connection I felt staying at this place. It isn’t just another hotel or typical B&B; the Bonnie View Inn is full of warm hospitality, great food, and good memories. My time spent there brought me closer to my friends, and we all left with great memories of hanging out on the water, dock, patio, and at the fire pit.

Sunset on Lake Kashagawigamog courtesy of Wobblycat

It also opened my eyes to what it might be like to live a day in the life of a Dirty Dancing character. Whether you are travelling from the United States for a week, or just want to get out of the city for a weekend, this place is a must-stay for motorcyclists, families, couples, or really anyone for that matter! 

How to get there from Toronto

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