Here in Canada, or at least Ontario, during the summer months or at times of brief vacation people do what is affectionately known as ‘going to The Cottage’. When people tell you they are ‘going to The Cottage’ you don’t have to know exactly where this particular cottage is, you just know it’s somewhere where peace can be obtained and the hustle and bustle of a busy life forgotten, even if only for a small time. Having never experienced this particular way of life I was more than willing and intrigued to accept an invitation to visit ‘The Cottage.’
The cottage we were driving to was a good 4 hour drive north of Toronto by Lake Nipissing and boy was it a doozey of a drive! Toronto has only two major routes in and out of the city and on a Friday both are jammed. Add to that the PanAm games that are currently happening and you have a long way to go so for a seven and four year old this was their first test of a semi long haul drive and it was exactly as my husband and I expected; half an hour outside of Toronto my son said those famous words: “Are we nearly there yet?!” Thankfully we were able to make use of the carpooling lanes so we did manage to escape some of the traffic but it was a good crawl all the way to Barrie before we were able to set cruise control. Of course there was the obligatory pit stop for dinner which everyone found exciting and another stop further along for Tim Hortons doughnuts before we turned off highway 11 and into the countryside.
Upon arriving at our destination we were instantly struck by the silence. It was glorious! The cottage itself sat meters away from Lake Nipissing and the view was breathtaking. The kids inhaled the pine infused air and marvelled at being able to see more stars than their little city-born eyes have ever laid eyes on. We were greeted by loving family members as we unloaded the rental car and settled into our new surroundings.
The next day the whole family just did their thing. The children became water babies and if they weren’t fully in the lake they were at least up to their ankles in the shallow, warm water. I became a kid too and showed my brood the art of building sandcastles and moats and dams and, and, and! Time completely slowed down and my husband lost himself in the peace and freedom of not being near a computer or telephone. By the time evening gently rolled in we were treated to one of the most stunning sunsets we have ever seen. If it wasn’t for the mosquitos I would have stayed out all night looking up at the galaxy above me and remembering stars I haven’t seen for so long as I sipped my wine and lounged on a beach chair.
<Deep exhale as I remember the beauty…>
Although we were only there for 36 hours it was a beautiful break and one that left a huge impression on my kids and a yearning to repeat the experience again next year. Now we get it; ‘The Cottage’ is a special term that when stated you know relaxation, peace, play and happiness will be experienced and worries temporarily forgotten. It’s not just a wooden shack by the lake, it’s a place of laughter, reading, jokes and memories. My husband is currently searching for a place right now…