Autumn is perhaps the favourite season for visiting Muskoka and the Almaguin Highlands. When the air is crisp and the leaves are glorious, countless visitors flock to the area to hike the trails, drive the country roads and marvel at nature's fiery colour palette.
At this time of year, some of the most popular parks and attractions of the area can be busy and crowded, which is why we have a few out-of-the-way places to share with our guests. These are the hidden gems and under-hyped scenic spots that don't draw quite as many tourists but are well worth a visit.
One of these spots is the Dyer Memorial. Located deep in the woods on the outskirts of Huntsville, the Dyer Memorial was once a beautifully maintained botanical garden requiring the services of a full-time seasonal gardener. It has long since lost the funding needed for such maintenance, but it is still a public park and, to my mind anyway, quite lovely in its naturalized state.
The memorial itself is a large stone monument "erected in fond memory", as the plaque explains, "of Betsy Browne Dyer, 1884 - 1956, by her husband Clifton G. Dyer, 1885 - 1959". The rest of the plaque is a sweet sentiment of appreciation for what must have been a fulfilling marriage.
The monument stands on a hill and overlooks gentle slopes of grass and overgrown flower beds spilling over stone paths. A few wooden bridges span the Big East River which winds through the park. Willows, birches, maples and pines create the backdrop.
It's an idyllic picnic spot, especially at this time of year. You might expect it to be a busy stop for sight-seers, but it's a little off the beaten path, and down a road that doesn't quite live up to the term 'road'.
The pictures here were taken late one October, after the maples and birches shed their leaves and the forest was getting ready for its winter sleep. A visit at the peak of the fall colours is sure to reward you with a stunning sight—and very likely few people to share it with.