Club Offers a Touch of New Castle in Georgian Bay

by Ralph Martone
August 19, 2004

A 400-mile drive north followed by a 45-minute boat ride will take you to an island with a Lawrence County connection dating back to 1896.

In that year, eight gentlemen from New Castle made the long and difficult journey to what would later become known as Pennsylvania Island for a fishing vacation. Today, 108 years later, the Pennsylvania Club still offers magnificent fishing vacations to members and their guests.

Breathtaking scenery, fantastic fishing and superb food would seem to make for a great vacation. However, when you get an invitation to the Pennsylvania Club on Georgian Bay in Ontario, these are just part of the weakling treats. The real joy of the trip are the people.

As guests of new member William Devido, my wife, Denise and I, along with Lonny and Renee Dean and Steve and Sara Sloan took the 400-mile journey north. Long-time member and club president Jim Haas and his wife, Karen, daughters Jane and Alexandra and family friends Rachel Karmecy and Jimmy Birtalan accompanied us.

Pennsylvania Club treasurer, John McConahy, his wife, Deb, along with daughter Katie and guests Ed Bartosiewicz, Kate, Wes and Tim Flynn and Anna Stockamore made up the remainder of the caravan of Lawrence County residents heading north.

The final leg of the journey is a six mile boat ride. Weaving through a maze of islands, narrow channels and small bays makes the trip to the remote island an adventure in itself.

As the boats round each turn, islands of every size and description greet our group. Smaller islands consisting of large granite boulders in various shades of pink, green, black and white dot the waters; while larger pine and spruce covered islands added incredible beauty to our trip.

The Pennsylvania Club offered a week we will long remember. With the area's spectacular beauty, incredible fishing and the Club's great food, any trip would be a huge success. But in this case, the real treat was the people.

Club members McConahy, Haas and Devido provided the group with everything necessary for a memorable experience. Days were filled with water skiing, tubing, jet skis, kayaking and more. For the more adventurous, Devido provided a high-speed boat ride to the area's only grocery store and restaurant where customers arrive by boat or seaplane.

And while all the water sports were fun, Denise and I came for the fishing and we weren't disappointed. From trophy-class smallmouth and lunker largemouth bass to feisty northern pike we found great fishing everywhere.

Wes Flynn proved to all that when it comes to fishing, it's perseverance that counts. Fishing from one of the Pennsylvania Club's docks, Wes landed a 37-inch pike, which, along with a dandy Chinook salmon caught by Jim Haas, provided fresh fish for dinner. Camp cook, Dorothy, served one memorable meal after another. The combination of good food, busy, active days in the sun and water and peaceful evenings spent enjoying each other's company in the main lodge made for the finest of outings.

With all that the Pennsylvania Club had to offer it was the Club's history that we will long remember. The lodge's great room is filled with photos and memorabilia of a long and storied history. Mounted fish adorning the walls offer a testimony to the many generations of Lawrence County residents that have journeyed to an island in Georgian Bay and found fellowship and adventure.

From its perch on a high rock, known as Pennsylvania Point, the Pennsylvania Club continues to offer its members the same freedom and adventure its founders sought over one hundred years before. William Devido, the Haas and McConahy families provided a week we will long remember. Tight lines to you.