If you're in dire need of an escape at this point in the summer, I totally understand. Between work, school, personal commitments, and whatever else is on your plate, planning a quick summer getaway may have fallen by the wayside. If this is the case, I'm guessing you want to go somewhere you can completely relax and disconnect; somewhere isolated, but not too remote, beautiful, but not too far from the city.
I'm here to tell you that paradise is closer than you think - Amherst Island, less than four hours away from Montreal, may just be the perfect, serene escape you've been dreaming of.
Although Amherst Island is close to the 1000 Islands region of Ontario, it's technically not one of the 1000 islands. A part of Lennox and Addington County, this island is close to the city of Kingston. But of course, you can't drive directly to the island - it is accessible only by ferry, which you can access from nearby Millhaven.
The island's permanent population is only about 400, and although tourists almost double that number during the summertime, the island provides the ideal amount of solitude to truly feel like you've escaped from it all, without having gone too far.
So, what is the main draw to this island, aside from the obvious natural beauty and calm? Maybe you just want to swim in the pristine waters of Lake Ontario and relax on the shoreline. Maybe you love to fish, and are looking to spend a day on the boat. Maybe you're into sailing, and are looking for the perfect spot to launch your boat.
Or maybe, you want to try scuba diving - yes, scuba diving. Amherst Island is a popular launch site for scuba divers, as the waters are clear, and nearby shipwrecks are ready for exploring. And if you're not quite up to par on the scuba diving front, snorkelling is always an option, as the photo below depicts. All of these activities and more are totally possible. Convinced yet?
If relaxation is your goal, Amherst Island can make it happen. With breathtaking sunsets, rolling hills, meadows, and local farms, the island is not only picturesque, but gives off the distinct feeling that this is somewhere you go to truly rest, recharge, and enjoy life.
There are a few quaint lodging options - one bed and breakfast, and two cottage-style accommodations. The food in the local restaurant is sourced locally from the island, and there are a couple of art and antique shops to peak your interest. While this is not exactly somewhere you go for shopping or fine dining, there are plenty of ways to experience the friendly and fun local community.
As we head into August, it's more important than ever to find time to get away, because the good weather is only here for so long - and it's the ideal time to restore and centre ourselves. Maybe Amherst Island isn't the setting for a crazy cottage weekend with your friends, but if you're looking for somewhere to de-stress, somewhere quiet where you can simply marvel at something, this place is it.
The island could even work well for a solo vacation, because, let's be honest - sometimes you've just had enough of everyone. And that's ok. Because after a stay on Amherst Island, you'll return ready to tackle everything in your way, and hopefully with a little more patience for everyone. Maybe.