Also known as Tofa and Natalie’s Hallock family initiation.
After roughing it for three days in the wilderness, as was documented in our Glamping in a Poor Man’s Muskoka article, we made it our summer goal to have at least one positive experience associated with the outdoors. So, when Mira’s father said he was organizing a family trip to Sauble Beach, Natalie knew she had to get it on it. Inviting Nat and another friend, Tofa, to come along on this bonding experience, Mira surprised her family with, essentially, two complete strangers.
The already extensive group comprised of Mira’s two aunts, grandma, uncle, step-mother, father, step-brother, step-brother’s girlfriend, step-mother’s cousin, and step-brother’s uncle, welcomed the two outcasts with open arms. However, what was supposed to be a heartfelt farewell between Mira and her family turned into the ultimate girls trip, filled with lots of beach time, cooking, and sad attempts at various water sports.
Hitting the road on Saturday at 9AM, we made a quick detour to pick up Tofa, and were able to start our journey up north. In convincing Tofa to come on this trip, we embellished a few of its key details, including its location. However, Tofa was left with no choice but to come as she had already gotten in the car. Another secret that was kept from Tofa was that Mira had a three-hour hair appointment booked in the middle of our road trip, which was an hour detour off of the path.
So, the first few hours of Tofa and Natalie’s trip were spent watching a Toronto bank getting robbed while sitting in an un-airconditioned Nissan Rogue while Mira got pampered.
Four hours later, arriving at the cottage incredibly tired and a little on edge, Mira and Tofa’s spirits were lifted when they realized that Natalie was wearing the exact same hat as both Mira’s father and step-mother, pictured below.
After a few hours of socializing with them, the real bonding began with a game of Barbie-themed Uno that we played against Mira’s step-brother and his girlfriend, whom we shared a cottage with– yet another surprise for Tofa. After a few rounds and some really awkward small talk, we decided to go to bed and prepare for the next day.
Sunday being Mira’s grandmother’s birthday, we knew we had to do something special to help her ring in eighty-four years on earth. Deciding to prepare a Mexican feast for fifteen people, a Nigerian, a Sri Lankan, and an Italian set out to the grocery store to attempt to make the most authentic Mexican food that we were capable of making. This obviously included frozen margaritas. These were honestly life-changing, and you definitely need to try making them at home:
For every single can of Minute Maid Limeaid, blend:
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of ice
- 2 shots (plus a little or a lot extra) of tequila
Slaving away all day preparing the food, it really came together at the end and we were actually super proud of our final product– with chicken tacos, sweet potato and black bean tacos, Spanish rice, and guacamole. After dinner, we took the time to relax, watching TikToks until it was time to go to bed.
Our whole summer led up to this next day.
Waking up on Monday at 7 AM, (surprisingly) we drove to the Blue Heron dock and boarded a ferry to Flowerpot Island. Tofa being the water-safe queen that she is, decided to be the only passenger to bring their own life jacket and wear it the entire ferry-ride there. To be fair, she can’t swim.
However, we knew that we had arrived in paradise when Natalie couldn’t think of some sort of complaint about the island. It was stunning, and this moment was truly the climax of our summer.
Spending our entire time there in the water, Tofa got too caught up in the euphoria of the beautiful scenery that she forgot that she is unable to swim– oftentimes floating a little too far out with her lifejacket. Thankfully, we never had to reel her back into shore.
Devastated to be leaving Flowerpot Island, we knew we still wanted to spend our day on the water, so we used Mira’s stepmother’s kayaks and rowboat to putter around on the lake. Our skills even inspired Mira’s aunt to ask Natalie, the retired coxswain, to take her out on the rowboat. While on the water, the joy of being able to row prompted Mira’s aunt to utter “Thank you Jesus” to the sky several times.
Coming back to shore, we ate dinner and prepared our dessert–s’mores and watermelon. With Natalie roasting the marshmallows to perfection, Mira and Tofa prepared the graham crackers and chocolate on a tray, which Tofa dropped several times.
Mira’s step-mother not knowing which dessert to choose ended up “double-fisting,” as she put it, both a slice of watermelon and a s’more. We couldn’t recommend this more.
On Tuesday, we decided to spend our final day at Lion’s Head beach which gave us the same vibes as Flowerpot Island, but with shorter travel time. The water was the best we had been in the entire summer and we were sad to leave.
However, we had to prepare a charcuterie board so that we could have a little beach aperitif while watching the sunset, which we previously wrote about.
Our final noteworthy event was discovering an old karaoke machine in our cottage. Singing forgotten hits like “Timber,” “Wrecking Ball,” and “Say Something,” we were entertained for hours and finally ended the debate on whether it was Mira or Tofa who took the spot as the second-best singer in the group. We’ll let you figure that one out for yourself.
Driving back to Niagara early the next morning certainly felt a lot shorter, however, this could be due to the fact that Mira surprisingly didn’t have a three-hour-long commitment in the middle of our road trip.
This was the most perfect way to spend our last weekend together before we all head off to school. While we’ll all be apart for a few months, keep an eye out for when we’re back together for our Christmas content. We promise it’ll be worth it.