Friendly Hospitality at the Beacon by the Bay B&B

My last few hours in Peterborough had started and my three and a half day escape in the Kawartha Lakes region was rapidly coming to an end. After a very active day yesterday with lots of bicycling and kayaking, I enjoyed sitting on the lovely lakeside balcony on the third floor of the Beacon by the Bay B&B, having breakfast, watching the shimmering reflections of the morning sun on Little Lake.

What a gorgeous place for a bed and breakfast!

I had already packed my bags but before my drive back to Toronto I would still have an opportunity to meet my B&B hosts, Jeff and Sheila Roberts. I walked down from my third level self-contained suite and sat down with them in their living room. Jeff explained that the house was built in 1910 and is exactly 100 years old. Having worked for many years as a draftsman for General Electric, he retired a decade ago and bought this lakeside house. Eight years ago he decided to start a bed and breakfast and hired a contractor to renovate his third floor attic.

Sheila and Jeff Roberts. sitting on their lovely lakeside porch

Jeff himself did all the interior renovations and equipped his self-contained suite with a kitchenette, a bathroom with an air-massage therapy bathtub, and a large bedroom with a king-size bed, a pull-out couch and a balcony with a breathtaking view over Little Lake in the heart of Peterborough. One very unique design feature that is popular with the guests is the star-studded blue ceiling in the bedroom of the aptly named Cloud Nine Suite for which Jeff hired a local artist.

The stars are twinkling on the blue night sky of the Cloud Nine Suite

Guests have come from all over the world, including places as far away as Switzerland and Oman. Sheila added that this year they have had more American guests than ever. Many of the guests at the Beacon by the Bay come here on corporate postings as well and leisure and business travelers alike enjoy the central location of this bed and breakfast that is just steps away from Del Crary Park and downtown Peterborough. Del Crary Park, of course, is home to the Little Lake Musicfest which enchants locals and tourists alike with free concerts throughout the summer. The Peterborough Art Gallery is just a few steps up the street, and restaurants and shopping can easily be reached on foot.

The Beacon by the Bay Bed and Breakfast

Even dragonboat racers from Australia have stayed here for a large international dragonboating festival that was held in Peterborough this year. Jeff and Sheila welcome all the guests with their warm hospitality and are great local resources when guests need directions to local businesses or when they are figuring out what to do. When one of the guests had injured himself, Jeff even drove him to the hospital. That’s the kind of personal touch you get in a bed and breakfast.

The kitchen is fully stocked for a continental breakfast

Jeff and Sheila then took me outside to their immaculate front garden that faces the lake. A home-made wooden lighthouse graces the yard and was the inspiration for the name of the bed and breakfast. The corner of an old canoe sticks out at the edge of the garden, and the garage in the back has a huge wall mural that features an ocean scene with a lighthouse. Everything is in keeping with the nautical theme at the Beacon by the Bay Bed and Breakfast.

Even the mural on the garage is nautically inspired

It was now mid-morning and I had to be back in Toronto by mid-day, so I thanked my gracious hosts Jeff and Sheila for their hospitality. Driving back west through the lush hilly landscapes I reflected back on my last few days in this city. I had long enjoyed coming to Peterborough, as a matter of fact my husband and I had spent our honeymoon 10 years ago at a bed and breakfast just north of Peterborough.

People enjoy themselves in Millenium Park

So it was clear I was going to enjoy my time here. But there were definitely a few things that surprised me. Number one was the culinary diversity and sophistication offered in Peterborough. My evening meal at the Riverside Grill and Gazebo at the Holiday Inn, prepared by Chef Hanuman Ramdoo’s crew was absolutely first-rate. I had the same experience at my lunch at the gorgeous Elmhirst’s Resort on Rice Lake, a place that offers one of the broadest recreational selections and opportunities I have ever seen. The cultural offerings also impressed me, from the Canadian Canoe Museum, to the fascinating lessons taught at the Lang Pioneer Village, to the great barnyard theatre action at the 4th Line Theatre. I had enjoyed a wonderful cultural program that far exceeded my expectations.

Flowers at the Peterborough Farmers’ Market

Of course the outdoor opportunities are fantastic as well as I experienced first hand in my bicycling and kayaking adventure with Lloyd Graham from Pedal and Paddle. My sightseeing cruise with the Lift Lock Cruises Company really exposed me to Peterborough’s most well-known engineering marvel: the historic Peterborough Lift Lock, built in 1904. Last but not least, it was the personal hospitality of homegrown travel entrepreneurs like Cora Whittington from the Golden Pathways B&B and Jeff and Sheila Roberts from the Beacon by the Bay B&B that made me feel really welcome and at home in this city that is right in the heart of the Kawarthas. There is absolutely no doubt I will be back again soon in this area that is right at the doorstep of Toronto.

Summer is a beautiful time in Peterborough

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