My first experience in a cottage near Ottawa: two thumbs up!

People say that cottage life is as compelling for Canadians as is their love for hockey. I had always heard from my Canadian husband how awesome it was spend the summer in a lake-front cottage. I am a native of Lima in Peru and have always associated summer days with the ocean. So I was not very interested.

I wondered how a lake could compare to the inmensity of the ocean. Lakes don’t have waves, or the endless movement of the ocean and lakes don’t have conforting sea breezes. It sounded to me like a lake would be too quiet compared with an ocean front home.

But after experiencing for myself one week in a water-front cottage, I must say that I loved it! It’s certainly not like spending days in front of the ocean, but in a different way it was still awesome.

So, two years and a half after setting up in Ottawa, we could finally made my husband’s dream come true: to take all his family to a lake cottage. The first two summers, it didn’t happen because I was so nostalgic that I preferred to spend vacations in my hometown.

The cottage we rented was in a place named Val des Monts, in Quebec, just 30 minutes from downtown Ottawa, and 40 minutes from our home. The cottage was located right in front of Girard Lake and in the middle of a dense forest.

It was well equiped with all everything we could need, a canoe, a row boat, lifejackets, noodles, a barbecue, umbrellas, board games, etc. It had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large kitchen, a cozy living room with a fireplace, a little beach and a dock, from where my children endlessly jumped into the water.

Getting close to pristine nature

What I liked the most about the place is that we were surrounded by deep forest and the views of it and of the lake were just magical. Waking up in the morning and having an outstanding and magnificent view of the lake from our windows was just amazing.

Relaxing days in a water-front lake cottage

Blue sky, intense green forest, and lake water so clear that was like a mirror – it was just like looking at a colorful postcard! I’m not sure when the most beautiful moments of the day were: the clear mornings, the bright afternoons, or the golden hours of sunset.

And the sounds! For the first time in my life I heard a loon. My husband had told me about the eerie song of this acuatic bird and he even imitated it, but hearing the real thing was a completely different experience. It almost sounded to me like the howl of a wolf. It was a long howl that penetrated and faded in the deepness of the forest. Magical!

And the bull frogs. There must have been hundreds or maybe thousands of them, all croaking at the same time. It was a loud concert of croaking, and even louder at night. The first night, I couldn’t fall asleep because of the bull frogs. But I got used to them, and by the end of our stay, I missed their croaking!

The most delightful dips in the lake

What’s is better on a hot day than taking dips in fresh, cool water? That was divine! Right from the first moment my children discovered the fun of running to the end of the dock to dive right into the water.

Jumping and diving into the water is so much fun!

I was a little doubtful because that part was deep, but they convinced me and I eventually jumped right in with them. I took a few dips, but they took dozens. They had so much fun!.

The water temperature was just perfect. Not too warm not too cool, just perfect to refresh ourselves from the heat and the sun.

Going canoeing is so relaxing and fun

My husband had told me many times that when he lived in Ottawa in the nineties, he used to go canoeing on the lakes in the summer after work. It was so easy to go to a lake and relax canoeing, he used to say.

I had little idea of what it was like canoeing on a lake but I discovered it at the cottage and loved it. It’s the most relaxing thing and is not that difficult. I went canoeing with my daughter and we were lucky enough to get close to a loon that was diving and fishing. Just beautiful!

Canoeing in Girard Lake

Peaceful nights

Peaceful nights around a campfire, playing the ukelele and watching fireflies shining in the dark was simply blissful. Other nights we played boardgames like Monopoly or Risk, or we watched a movie while eating a lot of popcorn.

In conclusion, I had a revelation: summers in a lake cottage are really awesome. It’s different than spending time in a beach house, but it’s equally great, and I’m looking forward to going back.

A few recomendations: Don’t wait until the last minute. Demand for cottages can be really high. The best places are taken way before the summers starts. The renting prices vary from $1,000 to $4,000 a week.

The cottage we rented cost us $1,750 for a week and it’s all booked until mid-September.

There’re lots of webpages to look for the perfect cottage. The one we consulted was but you can also search, and so on.

If you have to buy more food when in the cabin, no problem, there are many places to replenish your stock of groceries, from 15 to 25 minutes away.

Have lots of sunscreen in hand and insect repellent, the good thing is that mosquitos mainly bother in the late hours of the afternoon. And just have fun!

If you are a lover of cottage life and have experiences to share, feel free to leave your comment. Take care.

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