Wednesday, March 4, 2009

on letting go

Here's another thing to add to the list of completely unnecessary yet wonderfully fanciful things to own :  an island.

For a brief couple of summers, we were the proud owners of an island on a lake in northern Ontario.   Before you think this was a posh place with all the mod cons, think again (well, it did have most of the mod cons, actually, but only because we put them in).  It was just a rustic little cabin, built in the 1930's , probably as a fishing camp, on a tiny island.  These boat-access properties are actually a lot more affordable than road-access cottages, which have recently gone up very steeply in price.  

This little getaway had been for sale for a long time, because it was in need of repairs, had only a hand pump in the kitchen as a source of water, and an outhouse.  The lady who had owned it for thirty or so years had died, and her family was selling it.

Being the impractical fools that we are, we bought it.  But only because the place had worked its charms on us from the moment we saw it.   We set about to refurbish the cabin using mostly elbow grease and endless cans of paint.  That was the summer of being very tired, but happy (although my kids did not enjoy the three-hour drive).

As with many things in life, though, we had to let the island go.  A change in my husband's career path led us to the conclusion that it wasn't practical to have this extra place anymore. And so, though we are not practical people a lot of the time in many ways, we decided to sell it.

With the cold weather and never-ending winter I have been thinking about it quite a bit lately, and thought I would blog about it.  So, if you'd like, please accompany me on this semi-sweet jaunt down memory lane (but I'm warning you, the post is rather long and picture-filled).  

First, you have to jump on this large old boat from the '70's.  It's noisy and makes a huge wake. Don't worry, the driver's very experienced.

Here we go.....and it's a beautiful summer day.

It takes about ten minutes from the marina....once I got lost on a dark night by myself, and had to spend the night at the neighbour's place....they were very nice and gave me tea and homemade cookies and let my smelly farm dog stay indoors....but that's another story for another time.

Here it is!   Told you it was small!

This photo is out of order, but it shows you our little morning sunshine deck (that's where you bring your coffee and toast and enjoy the morning sunshine and the quiet beauty.

Here's the little old gangplank that leads from the old dock.  The water levels fell quite a bit at the end of the summer.

Here's the main room.  All of the furnishings came with the place, because of the difficulty of removing them.  There was a lot of old smelly stuff (couches, mattresses,etc...) that we disposed of (we had to haul everything by boat).  But there were many vintage pieces that made my heart pitter patter when I saw them.  Did I mention we painted every inch of the place (including furniture)?

Look at these quirky little feet-face it, you would have bought the place too.

There was even a stuffed fish on the enclosed porch.  And horseshoes over every door-if that wasn't an omen that I was meant to own the place, I don't know what was....

Pretty hand-hewn beams on the ceiling of the porch- and a water view out of every window.

The ceiling in the main room.

Interior windows with old rippled glass, old maps of the lake, a little bookshelf and two thick vintage wicker rocking chairs with at least 4 coats of paint under the final fresh coat of white paint I applied.

The original ice-house with the old ice tongs hanging inside (and every imaginable piece of discarded junk as well as vintage tools).

This tree was basically horizontal, but very much alive.

Even a wee little beach, about ten feet wide, but it was enough to build sandcastles on.

A picnic table for al fresco meals.

The little sunset deck where you could sit and read, and ponder (with a rickety old ladder to the water).

No tv at the cottage, so the kids were forced to watch the greatest show on earth:

Yes, I'm a sunset picture-taking dork...

Despite its small size, the island has huge trees on it...this part was sort of park-like.

And water, water, everywhere you look...the quietest, most peaceful spot...made for dreaming and napping and swimming and reading.  You would have loved it.


Firefly Hill said...

That is about the most charming, beautiful, perfect place I have ever seen!! Now I want my own island darn it!

LadyFi said...

Ooooh - how beautiful! Must have been hard to let something that delightful go!

And how beautifully you re-decorated it - just like giving Cinderella a ballgown...

hayseed said...

Thank you so much! I forgot to mention that my husband built an outdoor shower (just a wooden booth with stone slabs on the ground, and little peep-holes looking out over the water-it was grand!!)

Far Side of Fifty said...

Oh I love it, what a magical place, I often wonder how it would be to live on one of those Islands. Your cottage was beautiful, so fresh and clean looking..I love the old stuff too. Thanks for the comment over on my blog! Stop by anytime! :)

P said...

It must have been heartbreaking to let that charming house go! Houses are like people though - they require a lot of upkeep. But when they're gone, you miss them terribly.

Tami said...

What a lovely lovely place to spend time.

Tami said...

I'm desperate for a bath tube. I'm trying to figure out how I can put a bath tub outside to use during the spring summer and fall. My house is way to small for a tub....and I miss it.

Maria said...

OMG this is an adorable place, I want it now. The pictures are beautiful and I loved the little journey!

natasha the exile on Mom Street said...

That is a wonderful post.

I feel more peaceful just from reading it, I can only imagine how it was to live there, even if only for a little while.

bekah said...

oh my goodness. What a wonderful place to make some memories! And it seems you have them in spades!!!

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

That was a amazing journey, thank you. It seems so serene and peaceful, that it felt unreal. As if it was a lovely article out of a favorite magazine.

I really hope that you kept the furniture..... so sorry that you had to give it up.


Muddy Boot Dreams said...

Did I mention that it is so much like my vision of what I would like our guest cottage to look like when we move up country. Minus the water, sigh... they are kind of land locked up there.


ashley english said...

My husband and I have long dreamed of packing up all of our assorted animals and housewares and heading to BC to find an island exactly like this. So gorgeous! It was yours for a season and for a reason.

Molly said...

Oh wow! What a wonderful hidden gem. I bet it was hard to give up your own island. It looks like you put a lot of hard work into restoring that cabin.

Spruce Hill said...

Oh that looks so wonderful. So quiet and secluded. I agree with Annie. I want one too!

I would totally take pictures of the sunset everynight too since I am such a nerdy camera geek :)

Ah and an outdoor shower? Heaven on earth!

Pony Girl said...

Wow, that is a really cool little place! I love it's rustic quaint charm. I dream of owning a little place like that someday, to take my future children. How sad you had to part with it, but it looks like it printed some special memories in your heart.

C-ingspots said...

Oh wow, what an amazing place! I can just imagine spending summers there and boating back to the mainland for supplies. Truly peaceful and quiet. I would have been a sunset picture-taking dork too!! Beautiful pictures, serene and so very relaxing even through your camera's eye. Everything seems just perfect! Why would you ever want to part with it?? Seems like a dream to me, perfection would have been if my horse could have come too, with little trails to explore...oh what fun!!