A North Ontario cottage visit — bliss!

By Caitlin Kelly

If you grew up in a place you loved, and have since moved (far) away, the landscape is an indelible part of your history.

It is for my husband Jose, who misses the Sangre de Cristo mountains of his native New Mexico.

It is for me, the very specific landscape of what’s known as the Canadian Shield, a northern part of the country with slabs of red granite, wind-bent pine trees and lots of wildlife.

Evidence of beavers!

I was lucky enough to attend Ontario summer camps ages 8-16, so this landscape is full of happy memories for me, and also not easy to return to.

I was invited for the long weekend to a friend’s cottage, reachable only by motorboat — which was filled with 6 adults, a cat (in a cage), a large black dog and everyone’s stuff and food for all of us for three days. What an adventure!

Even navigating through those waters — Georgian Bay — meant somehow avoiding hundreds of rocks and shoals. Impressive!

We stayed in a separate cabin, called a bunkie…but no heat! That meant sleeping in a wool hat, wool scarf, wool socks and buried beneath a massive Hudson Bay wool blanket.

But also — amazing stars at night, with no light pollution.

I sat on the dock one morning at 6:00 a.m. and saw a beaver swimming past, a loon and two minks. That was cool!

It was also so cold I could see my breath and watched mist rising from the warmer waters into the colder air.

The silence was absolute — only the wind in the pines.

There are a few things I miss a lot about Canada…and this weekend ticked all the boxes:

old friends

new friends

wildlife

a spectacular landscape

clear skies

boat rides

delicious dinners

no agenda at all

It was a difficult return to the U.S. the day after the latest massacre, this time in Texas, and of small children.

(I started that day looking, once more, at real estate in France. No, not kidding.)

6 thoughts on “A North Ontario cottage visit — bliss!

  1. Dreamy is exactly the word I was thinking. I’ve been searching in the New Hampshire lakes region for a getaway home. Or I need to find a friend like yours I can visit 🙂

  2. Fond memories indeed. I last spent a week in a bunkie at a friend’s cottage on Georgian Bay while pregnant with our son over 30 years ago. The memories of that peace and stillness stay with me yet. Glad you were able to get away from the madness.

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