Living the Cottage Life

September 11, 2020 | Bill V.

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For some lucky folks, summer means going to a cottage. We're fortunate my husband's cousins (Betty and Peter) generously let us use their cottage most summers. This year we did the hand off with everyone keeping six feet apart and also wearing masks. We generally give them two cases of wine as a thank you and they give us the idyllic seven day cottage experience on Stoney Lake.

Just because it's September doesn't mean that cottage season is over. There may be warm weekends to come, plus some cottage owners enjoy their cottages year-round.

Signs of the good times Toronto Star Photographic Archives 1988
Signs of the Good Times: Who's who and Where's What in Havelock-area Cottage Country. Toronto Star Photograph Archive, 1988.


If you're a cottage owner, or into cottagecore, these books and photos from our Digital Archive may appeal to you.

What's cottagecore, you ask? Nostalgia for the "simpler life" and a general love of the cottage aesthetic.


150 Best Cottage and Cabin Ideas

 " 150 Best New Cottage and Cabin Ideas profiles exemplary designs of getaway homes and countryside residencies...This book offers an extensive collection of cabins and cottages from all over the world."


Cabins & Cottages The Basics of Building a Getaway Retreat for Hunting  Camping  and Rustic Living

Cabins & Cottages: The Basics of Building a Getaway Retreat for Hunting, Camping, and Rustic Living

"Cabins & Cottages takes you through the basics of constructing a sturdy retreat that will withstand the worst of Mother Nature can dish out."


Cottage view at Stoney Lake
Cottage view at Stoney Lake. Photo by author.


Contemporary Cottages

Contemporary Cottages

"The homes featured in Contemporary Cottages update beach and mountain cottages with fresh, modern appointments, magical entryways, updated and repurposed rooms, open ceilings, custom floor plans and unique lighting."


The cottage Bible

Cottage Bible

"The Cottage Bible is the most important reference for a cottage owner. The expert guidance is essential for any vacation home, especially one near water with unique challenges. There is year-round advice on maintenance, buying a cottage, repairing burst pipes, and how to keep a lake healthy."


Vintage Cottages

Vintage Cottages

"Vintage Cottages features unique and personalized décor focused on second homes and retreats with a vintage cottage theme...Vintage Cottages shows how to "come home" to a serene retreat that's unlike anything else."


Camp and Cottage Cookbook

Camp and Cottage Cookbook

"Camp and Cottage Cookbook is the perfect companion for all your outdoor and cabin cooking needs! This book contains the essential information you will need to provide your family and friends with the fun, tasty, and easy-to-make meals they know and love while enjoying their home away from home."


Cabin  Cottage and Camp New Designs on the Canadian Landscape

Cabin, Cottage and Camp: New Designs on the Canadian Landscape

"This large-format survey showcases some of the best Canadian getaway homes. Featuring the work of major individual architects and important firms, Cabin, Cottage and Camp is both a tribute to the architectural possibilities of the wilderness and an inspiration to those who dream of building their own weekend cottage or cabin."



Cozy Cottage & Cabin Designs 200+ Cottages  Cabins  A-Frames  Vacation Homes  Apartment Garages  Sheds & More
Cozy Cottage & Cabin Designs: 200+ Cottages, Cabins, A-Frames, Vacation Homes, Apartment Garages, Sheds & More

"Featuring over 200 functional floor plans for cabins, cottages, a-frames, vacation homes, apartment garages, sheds, and more, this book will allow you to browse, select, and order expertly prepared plans." 


Design Inspiration

While it may not be exactly our cottage style here in Ontario, these are some other "cottage" related interior design books that may also interest you.

Cozy White Cottage 100 Ways to Love the Feeling of Being Home

Cozy White Cottage: 100 Ways to Love the Feeling of Being Home

"In Cozy White Cottage, Liz Marie Galvan of the Liz Marie Blog shares one hundred of her best home décor tips, budget-friendly tricks, and project how-tos for adding comfort and warmth to every room in your house...Let Liz's room-by-room tips and inspiration help you create the sanctuary you long for so you can love the feeling of being at home."


French Country Cottage

French Country Cottage

"With beautiful photography and a tale about a little forgotten house that could, Courtney shares the story of her renovation of a 1940s cottage in the California countryside... The journey has been shared on her popular blog French Country Cottage, and now, through the publication of her first book."

See also the same author's French Country Cottage Inspired Gatherings.


The creative cottage

The Creative Cottage

"Whether built by a 1770s French Huguenot or a 1940s American starlet, cottages capture hearts and imaginations for generations to come...Two hundred luscious photos combined with engaging narration give a window into the heritage, inspiration, and creativity that made each cottage its homeowners perfect match."


Boats, Docks and Getting Out on the Water

Growing up my family didn't have a cottage (we did rent at Wasaga Beach though!) and we certainly could not afford a boat... nor did we have the know how to run one. That's where this DVD might have been helpful for those like me who didn't have this knowledge passed down.

Don't Hit the Dock - The Boaters Guide to Boat Handling & Safety In and Around the Marina

Don't Hit the Dock - The Boaters Guide to Boat Handling & Safety In and Around the Marina

"An excellent hands-on guide to boat handling and safety in a marina or harbor for the novice or refresher for the experienced boater. Divided into six sections, the program will help boaters gain valuable information about handling a boat safely and responsibly in and around marinas, launches, and inlets. Subjects include: General, Mooring & Docking, Rules of the Road, Fueling the Boat, and Waste Management."


Dock at Stoney Lake cottage
Dock at Stoney Lake cottage. Photo by author.


If you have a boat at the cottage then you likely have a dock as well so the following may be handy.

Building Your Own Dock Design  Build  and Maintain Floating and Stationary Docks

Building Your Own Dock: Design, Build, and Maintain Floating and Stationary Docks

"In Building Your Own Dock, you'll find detailed plans, expert tips, advice on building methods, and insight on materials and specialty parts for all the most popular types of docks"


Ontario holiday Manitoulin
Ontario Holiday Manitoulin. Toronto Star Photograph Archive, 1984.


While I may not know how to use a boat I do know how to paddle a canoe and kayak – but something like this book may also be of interest. Remember to always wear your life jacket!

Basic Kayaking

Basic Illustrated Kayaking


Kayaking on Stoney Lake (Bill V photo)
Kayaking on Stoney Lake. Photo by auhtor.



There is also the magazine Cottage Life which is available online through RBdigital Magazines

Cottage Life magazine

You may enjoy these other digital magazines as well:



Reading on the Dock Ursula K. Le Guin
Reading on the Dock Ursula K. Le Guin. Photo by author.


If you had the chance to relax at a cottage or dock this summer, share your favourite relaxing reads in the comments below!