Monday, May 20, 2013

The End of an Era

I sat at the dining room table in our Muskoka cottage this morning eating my breakfast. I looked out through the almost floor to ceiling windows at the lake, smooth as glass. The sun was trying hard to make its way through the clouds, succeeding and then retreating. There was still a bit of fog coming off the lake. A lone boat made its way across the lake, humming in the distance. I tried to soak it all in. It was never enough. Even if I had a thousand more mornings like that, it wouldn't be enough.

Our family's cottage was sold recently. The closing date is set for the end of June. We spent this past long weekend up there and it was most likely our last. It is the end of an era.

My Dad's parents built that cottage when he was just a teenager. I've been going there since I was in the womb. As a child, I have fond memories of spending weeks up there in the summer. We would spend our mornings at tennis and swimming lessons. After lunch, we would spend hours down at the dock, in and out of the water. Life was so simple. The way it should be as a child. After dinner, my brothers and I would sometimes beg our mom to take us in the boat to "Seagull Rock." We would boat to the massive rock island, home to hundreds of seagulls, with bags of stale bread. Throwing the bread off of the boat in all angles, watching the seagulls race hungrily for the pieces, never got old. While driving back to the cottage, the huge orange sun would slowly set. The TV would only go on, on rainy days. We didn't even care. Time never mattered at the cottage. We would eat when we would eat. No plans. Always casual. But, always delicious. We would even get up there in the winter. The snow would be several feet deep. Bundled up we would take rides in the little caboose of the snowmobile. After testing the ice, we would shovel off just enough to skate or play shinny (pick-up Canadian, I know!). As we all got older, things changed, but they also stayed the same. Mornings often included exercise - a run or a hilly bike ride. Afternoons were enjoyed on the deck or the dock with a cold beer in hand. Dinners were always a group affair. Everyone pitched in, in their own way. Some were master BBQ'ers, others great with sides/salads and some were whizzes at cleanup. Depending on the weather we would sit around the dining table inside or out, enjoying a feast, that included delicious wines. Last Thanksgiving was celebrated over candlelight because the power went out. The turkey and all the fixings were cooked on the BBQ. The meal was fantastic. When I think about the thousands of cottage memories that I hold dear, the central theme is always the same -- family and friends.

I remember the excitement that I felt when we planned to take Teagan and Quinn up there for the first time. While they were only 5 weeks old, I couldn't wait for them to experience one of my favourite places. They were fortunate enough to spend four weeks up there last summer. On the huge deck that spans the entire cottage, Teagan took her very first unassisted steps. I know that they will probably not remember the cottage but I'm happy to have the pictures to show them.

The dogs. Cottage life is heaven to Riley and Finn (and their Wheaten predecessors). The cottage is on a quiet private road making it safe for the boys to run free all day long. They run, swim, visit the neighbours and then crash at the end of the day. Heaven.

It is truly surreal. While I know that we will enjoy cottage life in the years to come, Muskoka will always have a very special place in my heart.

A very picture heavy post with a few pictures from recent years.

Captain Riley
Leapin' Riley!
Mr. Finn - happiest when he's fetching a stick.
Mommy and 5-week old Teagan on an evening boat ride.
Grandpa and Q.
Jenn and her girls on their very first ride. 
Cousin Katie and Q.
Family of ducks swimming away
Q & T swimming in their lifejackets. 
Canadian flag flying in the wind.
Jenn and the girls enjoying a drink - summer 2012.
Muskoka chairs!
TT talks to nature
Walking the deck with Grandpa - summer 2012
Teagan pauses briefly to give Aunt Gillian a hug
Beautiful Muskoka sunsets
Team Wheaten
Jenn, Atty, Quinn and Riley.


  1. That BITES. WHY ?
    I'm so sorry ! I can only imagine the kind of memories you had there.
    I hope you are able to get one of your own. :)

  2. Wow, the cottage looks and sounds like such a magical place. I can totally understand why your family is going to miss it so much! Are you all planning to buy another cottage one day?