Today my mom and dad celebrate a very special milestone: 40 years of Marriage!
I am really happy for my parents and I want to dedicate this blog post to them. One of the things that has always been important to my parents over the past 40 years has been spending time at the lake in Minaki, Ontario. Over the past four decades,my mom and dad have built three cottages, which they have lovingly maintained and worked hard to keep beautiful.
1. Little A-Frame (The early years)
After my parents were married at age 21, they decided they wanted to buy their own little piece of paradise. They found the perfect, pristine bay, with no other cottages in sight. They constructed a cozy A-Frame on their own, with help from family and friends, with scrap wood and supplies that totaled $500. On the front, was a pure white deer skull, which seemed to welcome them to the cottage as they drove up in their little tin boat. Inside, there was electricity, but no running water.
When my sisters and I were born, my mom and dad didn't come out to the lake as often. They began to wonder if it was worth having the cottage if they were not able to make use of it. It takes a lot of energy to make the 2.5 hour drive and 10 minute boat ride with four toddlers! But they decided to bring out all four of us (ages 2 and 3) as a test to see if we liked being at the lake.
Well, we loved it!
2. Cottage on the Cliff (The Middle Years)
We all loved coming out to the cottage, but the A-Frame was just a little too small! There was only one bed in the loft and two pull out couches down below. If we were going to enjoy the lake as a family, my parents thought that a slightly bigger cottage would be in order. A much larger cottage they built!
My parents had been married for almost 20 years when they started to build this cottage.Barge after barge full of supplies being hauled across the lake. I remember seeing the bones of the new cottage being put up and running through the open rooms, with the excitement of possibilities. The new Maple floors were put down, beautiful pine cabinets installed, and a long staircase was built from the deck by the water, raising up to our new cottage on the cliff. I even loved the rock that this cottage stands on. It is covered in the most beautiful moss and I would climb it instead of the stairs
Surrounding the property are hundreds of white pine that my dad planted. He loathed the beaver and deer, who would chomp on the saplings for snacks. he protected many of them by wrapping chicken wire around them. The A-frame was eventually torn down, but in its place is a small sprouting forest.
Long summers were enjoyed at this newer cottage and there are so many memories of the 20 summers we spent there.. While this cottage is still beautiful, my parents had a new dream: to build a timber frame cottage.
3. Timber Frame Lodge (The best years!)
My parents knew of a piece of property that was for sale. It was just in sight from Cottage on the Cliff. They jumped at the chance to buy this piece of land and they spent hours upon hours of clearing trees and cleaning up the area that was to be where their new cottage was built.
The building of this cottage was a long and slow process, but it is a work of art. It is the kind of place that you can walk into and notice something that you had never noticed before. I could spend pages listing the beautiful wood flooring, masonry, and countless details of the artisans who worked on this cottage, but that is not the most important part of this place.
This place is a haven for my mom and dad. They have worked so hard over the years and I am so happy that they have this cottage to go to. They are constantly working to make it even more beautiful and I am in awe of their dedication to the upkeep of the property. While there are so many memories at the old cottage, I think that there are going to be many here too.
Last summer, Kent and I were married here, at the cottage on the stone patio. I couldn't think of a more perfect place.
Mom and dad, Happy Anniversary. Not only have you been together for over 40 years, you've spent the same amount of time dedicated to our family cottages in Minaki. You are an inspiraton to me and I often wonder "how do they dot it?". I hope there are many more years of memories to make at the cottage and the Lake.