Yesterday we got to strike another thing off our summer list and it was in such a marvelous way. We were invited to spend a day at the cottage of friends' up in Muskoka.
-swim in fresh water at least once (probably while visit my parents or the in-laws)
These are friends of ours from town but the funny thing is, I got to know the mom at the library with our eldest kids when they were babies and my husband, it turns out, works with her parents. This is the kind of family that I want our family to be when we all grow up - they are very close but in a loving, supportive sense, not in a cloying, sickly sweet sense. They are a family of individuals who genuinely like, respect and care for each other and the sense they have of belonging to something is palpable. The cottage has been the family getaway since the late 1970's. The father of my friend built the cottage, they had a road put in and have done all the work on the property. Being welcomed to the cottage felt like being welcomed into this wonderful family - it was so special. It also said something that Dh and I had such a great time, as neither of us are "cottage" type people - we like our hot showers with good water pressure, a/c and lack of grit just too much.
When we left our house, it was POURING rain. The Weather Network was predicting that when we got up north, it would clear and the forecast was actually correct. When we got to just outside the largest town in the area, the rain stopped and shortly after we arrived, the sun came out and the heat came up. It was a perfect cottage day.Needless to say, Pk was very excited. Little Bean, not so much - it was about a 2-and-a-half hour drive and he wasn't thrilled.
I always associate going into cottage country with the appearance of the rock at the side of the road. I believe this is Canadian Shield country but I may be wrong.
The road in was a bit harrowing. The family put it in themselves (most of the cottages on this lake are water access) and it's very narrow (there's only room for one car). We were worried that we were in the wrong place but suddenly, the sign with the family's name appeared in front of us.
When we arrived, we got the tour. It's lakefront access with a sand bottom lake (at least at their beach) and set in the trees. You could see other cottages so you didn't feel eerily remote but you definitely had privacy.
Pk and B, her friend, immediately started to play in the water and we couldn't get them into their swimsuits fast enough.
Little Bean didn't want to be left out and he was in the water right away, too. It was a struggle to get him to wear his hat.
Luckily, good friends lent us a pair of lifejackets to take with us and thankfully, Pk didn't give us any struggle about wearing hers, unlike her little brother, who flat out refused.
The babies had fun sitting together on the raft. They are so funny to watch playing together!
Little Bean was not a fan of the float.Pk wasn't so keen either. She wanted to be jumping off the raft into the water, again and again.
This gorgeous, screened-in porch area was added for my friend's wedding (they have hosted the weddings of two of the three siblings here at the cottage). I don't think you would get me out of the porch if it were my cottage, other than for the odd swim. The shade was lovely and the view was breath-taking. While LB had his nap, I got to sit and knit in this area - divine!
They designed the cottage so that the lake could be seen from everywhere (the joke is that as long as you leave the bathroom door open, you can even see the lake from the loo).
Pk was desperate to go out in the boat and M, my friend's wonderful husband, was quick to oblige. He chauffeured the old kids around over and over again. They found a lovely family of ducks, got to scoop up tadpoles and visit a beaver dam. Pk was in heaven. He's also just so slightly paranoid about the safety of the kids, which was wonderful for me as mom- I knew that if they were with M, they would be totally safe in the boat. Pk also got to try a canoe but I missed getting photos of that.
Then, it was time for a ride in the big boat. Pk was heaven (she's such a rides girl). Dh and I each got a ride, too. The sun was really bright but the breeze from the water kept things comfortable.
Pk and her friend B had a marvelous time having all kinds of adventures. I love it when they play together. She has some friends with whom I feel like I need to wear a black and white striped top, since I am refereeing all the time. B and she, while they both have their three-and-a-half moments, really get along so well and have so much fun together. At times, it's "ah!" kind of sweet to watch.
Dh got a chance to fish, which he says that he used to do but hasn't in the time we have been together (just shy of 20 years!) He really his the Zen of fishing and it was hard to get him in. He was happy to catch three fish, all of which he put back. Pk found it fascinating.
This is the cottage. It's marvelous. It's roomy, well-designed, open-concept and a wonderful mix of rustic and comfortable. If I were to design one, I'd certainly copy this. The photos don't do it justice. But then, I love screened in porches.
The best part of the day? When we got home at 10:30, both kids were in bed asleep within 10 minutes and slept all night and after a quick shower to get tidied up, I had a glorious night sleep, too. I wouldn't want to be at the cottage all the time, I just don't have it in me but for a day, it was magical. Pk will remember the day forever, I think.
I lied - truly the best part? Having such great friends :-)