The Countdown to the First Outdoor Swim of the Summer

Friday, June 2, 2017

This winter was cold, gray and loooonnnnnnng.

I sometimes plan a trip somewhere south to shake the February blues, but this year I was working on a big project – the launch of – and I couldn't get away from my design shackles.

So, I decided instead to pass the cold months with a countdown to the first outdoor swim of the summer -- arguably the greatest swim of the year, especially in Ontario. My countdown was a #tbt series on Instagram, revisiting of some of the best & worst swimming holes I have known in the past.

For those of you who missed them on Insta, here's the recap... and at the end... well let's just say Summer 2017 has BEGUN... with a SPLASH!!


1. March 23 #TBT -- Provence:

That time we all lived at Poor Peter's Chateau in Provence. (*this is Chateau de Massillon in Uchaux. Spectacular place. Was there doing a photoshoot with Rob Howard for Butterfield & Robinson. Chris T was an exceptional sport and dove into this pool about a million times for the camera. Poor, poor Chris. Luckily, CHAMPAGNE afterwards.)


2. March 28 #TBT -- Puglia:
This one had ancient olive trees and palm covered chairs to fall asleep in. Puglia, Italy. (*Can't recall the name of the hotel at the moment. But it was the first time I had burrata and I. WENT. BANANAS. (Photo: Rob Howard)


3. April 6 #TBT -- Tulum:

This was Tulum. I went on a retreat to this beautiful place called Amansala, for which they refurbished Pablo Escobar's former beach house. Magnificent place. (Relocated due to sad and terrifying mafia story two weeks after I left). Wish I was reading and jumping into those waves from that swinging bed today....


4. April 12 #TBT -- Santorini:

This swimming hole was a real-life fantasy. The infinity pool at the Perivolas Hotel on Santorini overlooks where they say the Lost Atlantis dwells. Arguably the most beautiful place in the world. I can hardly believe I came home.  


5. April 20 #TBT -- Baja:

This was Baja and you weren't really supposed to swim on this particular beach. There was a menacing Undertoad, as Garp would say. (Plus schools of stingrays and the occasional dolphin / whale). But we did swim here, just briefly enough to be reminded of the awesome power of Big Water. Big beach. Big sky. Big feels. I loved Baja.  


6. April 27 #TBT -- Marrakech:

This is Jnane Tamsna, in the Palmerie just outside of Marrakech, which I ended up at because Carmen and I had a impulsive late night bidding session on LuxuryLink a few years ago... oops! Gorgeous, elegant place, look it up! (Photo credit: Hip Hotels)

7. May 4 #TBT -- Aruba:

This was Aruba, where I went with my mom a couple of Februaries ago. I was extremely exhausted when I got there so I slept on a lounge chair everyday with this as my view and a few times a day I would slip in and swim back and forth beside that breakwall. It was quiet and so beautiful. UNTIL around 5pm when the tide went out and these little holes in the sand underwater would appear and all these toilet-papery ribbons filled the bay... took a moment to realize they were CREATURES of some kind (eeeek!!!) but we just took that as our signal that happy hour was upon us and we'd go for a cocktail and get ready for dinner. 


8. May 11 #TBT -- Costa Rica:

This was Costa Rica. I stayed in this nice teeny hotel owned by a Canadian couple with a good wine cellar, and you had to walk down (and then back UP!) this steep hill to get to the beach. I regret to inform you that I did not have a good time at this swimming hole... it wasn't its fault though -- it had a great beach shack with cold beer and fish sandwiches, and I read an excellent book there (The Shadow of the Wind). But my companion was really mean to me on that trip and you all know that I don't like meanies. So, I guess I need a Do Over, Costa Rica... and I have a plan... 


8. May 18 #TBT -- Tuscany:

My fave day of the week, the Swimming Hole Countdown! with a look back to Tuscany and the insane view from the infinity pool at winemaker Roberto Cipresso's agriturismo.


9. May 24 #TBT -- Lake of Bays:

The big question of the day is: will the Swimming Hole Countdown end this weekend??? Will the Paper Crown Queen end up IN THE LAKE IN MAY for the second year in a row?? Stay tuned... but in the meantime, THIS Swimming Hole I Have Known is the Lake of Bays which I have loved for many reasons... there is a very nice boat from which to jump off the back, and that same very nice boat often has margaritas hand-delivered to it while we read twin copies of the same book and I ask my friend Don all the questions I can think of.


10. And the countdown brings us to Georgian Bay, May 28, 2017:


Parka: 1. Bathing suit: 0. 

Wool socks with sandals: 1. Bathing suit: 0.


Found in cottage closet: wetsuits circa 1983. And our inner Charlie's Angels.  


WE ARE IN!!!!  

May 28, 2017. Bone Island, Georgian Bay. The water temperature was below 60° C.

Summer has officially begun. Get in!

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