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The Cottage Diaries: Finding Our Wildhood

by - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I wanted to share more about our cottage so I thought I'd start at the beginning and tell the story of how it came to be. I'm always curious about the story behind a house. What causes people to move, take on a vacation property, renovate, downsize? Here's our story.

The Old Cottage

If you've been a reader here for a while, you'll know that we used to visit a family cottage. Sean grew up going to this cottage and we were happy to give Chloe some of those same experiences.

Get out the weed whacker, Chloe!
It was a good cottage, but as cottages do, it became old and worn, needy and demanding. Over time, cottage weekends meant more time spent doing odd repairs and landscaping than lazing on the dock or swimming in the lake. Add in a growing family of our own, aging parents and relatives to take care of... when it was decided to sell the cottage last year, we felt a twinge of sadness but mostly a sense of relief. It was time to say goodbye, and get back some margin and leeway in our life. We gave the old cottage a polish and closed the door, not knowing what our next adventure would be.

A Chance Encounter

The great thing about long country roads is you never know where they'll lead.  We've been taking vacations in the Prince Edward County and Kingston area for the last six years. About 2.5 hours outside of Toronto, the County has become the "it" destination for city folk looking for a taste of the country and it was on one of those trips that I first saw a sign for Sandbanks Summer Village. The cheery sky blue cottages are what drew me in. A quick tour of the resort had me convinced that we needed to learn more so we booked a five-night stay in one of the cottage rentals.


I remember it was on Canada Day when everything changed. The resort put on a fireworks display and everyone was down at the lakefront, enjoying the show. We were packing up when Chloe was approached by another little girl who wondered if she wanted to share some marshmallows the girl had roasted over the campfire. It's amazing how quickly kids make friends. They just start playing, barely knowing each other's names, and quickly become inseparable.

We adults took their lead and started a conversation, slowly making our way back to their porch. The girls headed inside to climb on bunk beds and play with dolls. We sat outside, the warm summer air enveloping us, as we shared stories, drank wine, and finally stumbled back to our cottage at midnight.


The next morning, our new friends walked by as we ate breakfast out on the porch. They came in and stayed for coffee. The girls played some more, running back and forth between the cottages. The scenario repeated itself a few times throughout the week, as we made more new friends while at the pool or at movie night. We stopped in at each other's cottages. We made trips to town for ice cream. And, strangely and most unexpectedly, we found something we weren't even looking for.

We found our wildhood.



I am a child of the 1970's.

I remember playing outside unchaperoned, only coming in once the streetlights came on.

I remember leaving house doors unlocked.

I remember walking to the convenience store for 50¢ chips and 25¢ chocolate popsicles

I remember games of Red Rover and Frozen Tag and Hide and Seek

I remember riding my banana seat bike around the neighbourhood for hours.

I remember what it was like to play outside, without a time limit, without fear, without rules or a schedule to keep.

In that moment, I could see how I could give some of what I remembered and loved about my own childhood back to my daughter. The cottage would be a wonderful place to make memories. It would be a good investment. But that feeling... that feeling of freedom and innocence and safety and home... it was priceless.

And so our story began.

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