Family Vacations are the best at Eldorado Beach on Lake Superior

As I interviewed Maria, one of the owners of Eldorado Beach on Lake Superior B&B, I quickly learned that she is a stalwart believer in Bed and Breakfasts. She describes much about the business, reiterating the value of B&Bs over hotels and adds that Canadians are still discovering their value where the Americans have been ardent fans for a long time. Maria says about 85% of her guests are American. To be a B&B owner she says is a real commitment: “You have to be there for people all the time.”

Eldorado Living Room

Maria can take in a family with five children and she especially understands the value of B&Bs for children. “Children much prefer them,” she says. Maria has a collection of children’s books and has given kids books away as gifts, along with a piece of amethyst. Children can choose their favourite piece from a full bucket. Her waterfront location lends itself to outdoor delights for children. The rocky shore provides natural climbing structures where kids can find unique rocks, crayfish and clams. There’s a lot in the area to see: trails, the amethyst mines, Ouimet Canyon, etc.

Related: Ouimet Canyon, One of Ontario's Natural Wonders

Eldorado Bedroom

The family experience had one guest from London, Ontario saying, “Everyone should have the experience of staying at a B&B. I will never stay in another hotel in the region again.” This was said not to disparage hotels, but simply to point out that the family experience, with children, is so much better at a B&B.

“If the kids are happy, the parents are happy!” declares Maria.

Eldorado Bedroom 2

Most B&Bs will have repeat customers and each has a story of particular fascination. Maria had an elderly guest from New York City, back in 1999, who flew to Toronto, rented a car and drove to Thunder Bay on a whim, simply because she liked the name of the city. “Thunder Bay” sounded exotic. Maria received the woman as a guest as a result of an overbooking from another B&B. Maria and the woman got along swimmingly.

Maria happily reminisces about first encountering this woman. “There she was, this little old lady, who had bussed all the way from Toronto, standing next to her rental car from Thunder Bay. She was a short little round lady with white hair, with her hands on her hips and giving my place a solid inspection. From that day on that lady came back every year.”

This woman flew from New York City to Minneapolis and drove from there to here every year until her death just a couple years ago. After the woman’s funeral Maria got a call from one of the woman’s granddaughters who wanted to know what the fascination was with this northern city, Thunder Bay.

Maria knew all about the woman’s family and history. Maria told the granddaughter in detail how her grandmother had fallen in love with the area and regularly talked about her many “grandbabies.” The woman’s granddaughter learned why her grandmother drove so far, and why she drove the back roads of Northwest Ontario. It was simply because in New York City owning a car was a burdensome problem for her. Surrounded by people and buildings she never felt as much freedom as when she drove in our region. With our big skies, rough and interesting terrain and many small worlds to discover this elderly woman became an explorer. “Gone in the mornings and returning in the late afternoon,” says Maria. “That was my first customer.”

Eldorade Hot Tub

Maria continues. “People come from all over; Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Israel, Finland, South America. We talk about geography, governments and economics. You learn so much!”

Maria has had conversations with famous Canadian children’s book authors, the American poet Laureate of Alaska - Tom Sexton, a former Premier of British Columbia, Rita Johnston, a recipient of the Order of Canada, and many motorcycle adventurers from Europe and the United States.

Related: Ride Lake Superior - Ontario's Epic Motorcycle Route

Eldorade Fireplace

When planning your next Northwest Ontario adventure, consider staying at a B&B, the experience is one you’ll never forget.

About Duncan Weller

A writer and visual artist, Duncan Weller is a Governor General's Award winner who lives in Thunder Bay. You can visit his website at His latest two books are a novel, Flight of the Silk, and an expanded edition of the award-winning children's picture book, The Boy from the Sun.

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