It doesn’t take long to fall in love with the cottage lifestyle

By Todd Lewys

Think back to how you spent your summers when you were a kid.

If you’re like many Manitobans, you spent time either at the family cottage or the cottage of a relative in the Interlake, Whiteshell, Lake of the Woods or another of the province’s many cottage-friendly areas.

It doesn’t take long to fall in love with the cottage lifestyle; there’s just something about being out in the middle of nature in a beautiful, secluded spot that seems to resonate with our soul.

Perhaps it’s the fact that cottage life takes us back to a time when life was less complicated.

When you’re at the cottage, time just seems to slow down. You can do things without feeling hurried or pressed by a schedule.

You can go for a walk in the woods, take the canoe out for a leisurely paddle along the lakeshore or just sit and read a book on a veranda or deck that comes with a magnificent forest or lake view. The choice is yours; no one is dictating how you’re to spend your time.

Here are a few other reasons why it’s so beneficial to own a cottage:

• It’s your own piece of the wilderness. Come spring — as is now the case — you can head out to open the cottage up after (especially this year) a long, cold Manitoba winter. Whether your cottage is a 1940’s family classic or a new, cutting-edge creation, it’s your own private retreat.

• A place to create memories. Over the years, cottages have served as summer gathering spots for families and friends. A cottage is a place for everyone to congregate — visit, create meals together, do things together. You can watch your kids grow up there, then revel in them bringing their children out to the cottage. A cottage is a place where timeless, treasured memories are created.

• Your own sanctuary of sanity. Simply put, a cottage is a place to which you can retreat to escape the grind of everyday life. All you need to do is gas up the car, stuff a backpack with a couple days’ worth of clothing — and, perhaps a bag or two of groceries — and enjoy a relaxing highway drive out to your special spot. Within hours of arrival, you feel the stress falling off your shoulders and the return of equilibrium.

• The unfettered ability to indulge in hobbies. With nature right out your front door, you can take advantage of all the different opportunities that are right at your fingertips: going for a hike in the woods, taking a canoe ride or going fishing, water skiing or swimming. Best of all, many cottage areas are close to golf courses and privy to some wonderful restaurants with delightful menus. Immersing yourself in nature and doing something you enjoy is true balm for the soul.

• Your time is your own. When you’re at the cottage, you can do what you want to do. If you simply want to veg on the couch, you can do it. Just want to read a good book? Go right ahead. Want to aimlessly jig off your dock for a trophy-sized perch? By all means. How about puttering about the yard? You bet. Embrace this laid-back lifestyle and renewal quickly follows.

• It’s a place to retire to. One day, whether it be in the near or relatively distant future, you will retire. With that in mind, regularly update your cottage so it can capably serve as a year-round residence when you decide to call it a day. What could be better than retiring to the cottage – a serene spot you love in the middle of nature, just an hour or two from the city. You can have it all: comfort, tranquility, visits from family and friends. Life with unparalleled quality.

Granted, owning a cottage can be a lot of work.

That said, it’s worth it. There’s no better place to be in the spring, summer and fall – a place that provides relaxation, renewal and lasting memories.