A few short weeks ago, John.e and I decided to take an extended long weekend after being offered a stay at our friend’s cottage. For the past couple of years, John.e’s long time friend (and my new friend) Gloria, and her husband, Michael, have offered us the use of one of their cottages for a weekend away from the city. Gloria and Michael have two cottages – the first, Harmony, is their own personal cottage, and a few hundred feet away, there’s a gorgeous little marvel affectionately referred to as Serenity on the Water, which they rent to people like us who love to spend time at a cottage, but do not own one ourselves.
Last year, we visited Gloria at her cottage for a weekend in June, and then John.e, my daughter, and I were offered the use of the cottage for a weekend in July. This year, we didn’t get time to visit Gloria, however, she and Michael offered us the use of their rental cottage the first weekend in September when their normal renting season was coming to a close. We gladly accepted because we knew how utterly beautiful and peaceful that neck of the woods can be. With a quick chat to our respective bosses, we had booked off work for Friday and Monday, packed up our rental car, and drove north to what would be our little piece of heaven for 4 days.
We stopped in Gravenhurst on the way to fill up on groceries – that was when John.e convinced me to buy a pair of track pants, because the nights were bound to get a little chilly and I had insisted on only packing shorts. I was so glad he did too! The temperatures dropped to 12 degrees at night; not unbearably cold, but enough so to need a little extra warmth. They were put to good use when sitting outside and gazing at the stars at night.
We arrived at 2pm on Friday. The sun was still high in the sky and the temperature was in the mid-20s. We quickly unpacked, placed our grocery items in the refrigerator, and set up the Muskoka chairs on our personal deck/dock. John.e loves to whittle, so it didn’t take him too long to find a piece of wood and grab his pocket knife. Me, on the other hand, lay back in the sun and soaked as much of it in as I possibly could.
When 5pm rolled around, we were beginning to feel a little hungry. Now, Gloria had emailed us a Serenity-on-the-Water Cottage Guide, so I knew there would be access to a BBQ. That evening, while John.e dined on veggie cheeseburgers and potato salad, I opted for grilled pork belly. 🙂 Dear Reader, you know that I’ve never posted anything meat-related on my blog before, but I had to do this! How does the saying go… when in Rome? Well, Serenity-on-the-Water was my Rome, and damn it, I was cooking meat!
After dinner, we relaxed a bit more; shook off the city stress as much as possible, and once it was a little too dark outside, we both found a comfortable seat on the couch and watched movies.
Saturday morning came early. The bed was extremely comfortable, and with the sounds of birds and the bright sun shining in the windows, the morning was a welcoming site. While John.e lingered in bed for a while, I took a hot shower and brewed a cup of coffee. I sat outside to enjoy my coffee and to watch the stillness of the lake. Before long though, it was time to cook breakfast. If you’ve ever cooked breakfast at a cottage or a camp site before, you’ll know how excited I was to get going! There’s just something about breakfast in the woods. Why does it taste so damn good? 🙂 None too concerned with presentation – I was there to let my hair down too – I prepared eggs, toast, and baked beans.
Saturday was a beautiful day as well. On a normal weekend, we would have stayed at the cottage, but considering the fact we had an extra day, we decided to do a little exploring in Bala, a nearby town. Bala is a community famous for the Bala Falls. It is considered one of the hubs of cottage country, most likely why its year-round population of several hundred is increased by thousands of seasonal residents and weekenders during summer months. It is known as the Cranberry Capital of Ontario, and boasts the province’s largest cranberry farms. Just a little trivia for you, Bala was once the smallest incorporated town in Canada!
It was our first visit to Bala, and we were so pleasantly surprised! It’s stunningly scenic with little touristy shops everywhere. Since we were visiting in September, we had no issues with parking, or line ups. The shops weren’t crowded, the highway was free of traffic, and the falls was at our disposal. The only downside to Bala was a quaint little store called Twig. If I were a lottery winner, I’d drive up to the store in an 18-wheeler and buy everything in stock! I managed to drop $200 in 15 minutes! (Bring your Visa!)
Once back at the cottage, I once again put the onsite BBQ to use and made us some dinner. After cleaning up, we retired to the couch to watch movies. I have to tell you this – John.e is not a fan of horror movies; I, on the other hand, LOVE them! Unbeknowst to me, he decided to bring some DVDs with him (yes, the cottage is equipped with a television and a DVD player for those days when it’s cooler or poor weather). Well, the one DVD that he brought was The Shining. He had never watched it. Strange – we are in the middle of nowhere, and he decides that now is the time to watch horror. No worries, he survived. 🙂
Sunday came and the weather was terrible. It was cold and rainy and damp. But, truth be told, it was the best day of the entire weekend! We turned on the cottage heaters, made breakfast, ate lunch, and dinner, and in between we truly relaxed. And, that is what weekend getaways are for! John.e spent a good part of the day reading, and I crocheted feverishly in a very comfortable rocking chair. Cliché? Maybe. But, now I want a rocking chair; hey, I wonder if Twig has one!?
On Monday, since Gloria and Michael were so kind to let us use their cottage for the weekend, we dusted, swept, vacuumed, wiped, polished, and tidied. We packed up our belongings, made one last cottage breakfast, and headed back to the city ready to take on another work week. (Thank you so much, Gloria and Michael!)
Serenity on the Water is a great vacation destination or a weekend getaway for singles, couples, and small families. There’s a master bedroom with a double bed, a bedroom with a single bed, and a pull out couch which can comfortably sleep two. All of the amenities are at your disposal – electricity, running water (hot and cold), a shower, toilet, refrigerator, oven/stove top, and a propane BBQ. The cottage is stocked with cleaning supplies, dinnerware, silverware, cooking vessels and utensils, toaster, coffee maker, microwave, etc. With your own private dock, lounging area, canoe, and picnic table, you’re sure to fully enjoy your stay!
I can’t wait to go back again. Next year, we are renting Serenity-on-the-Water for an entire week, for sure!!
If you’re interested, you can find more information and contact info for the cottage at the following link: SERENITY ON THE WATER
Here are a few more pictures: