Lifestyle matters. It’s a statement I believe wholeheartedly. It is my business model and the reason I relocated my entire family to the cottage to enjoy a more rural lifestyle.

Lasting friendships have been formed and strengthened over summers at the cottage and the campfire is the perfect spot to sit quietly and reflect on important life decisions. Buying a cottage is a much more emotional purchase than buying a house because so many family memories are formed at the lake.

While more and more people are looking for that special place to go and recharge from the hustle and bustle of every day life, it is important to take the time to get to know your true cottage lifestyle before you start your cottage search. There are as many cottage lifestyles as there are lakes in cottage country.

Are you a cottager with an adventurous cottage lifestyle? If so, you would likely prefer larger lakes, several lakes connected in a chain so you can get out and explore. You may want to be close to hiking and biking trails, or ski hills for winter activities. Maybe you have an ATV and want to be close to trails. A secluded cottage on a small non-motorized lake may not be the best option for you. Some questions to ask yourself might be:

  • Is the cottage close to a town with a larger social scene?

  • Can I access bike/hiking/ATV trails?

  • Do I have winter access to the property to take advantage of ski/snowshoe/snowmobile in winter?

  • How big is the lake and where can go from here?

If you cottage lifestyle is social, you will want a larger, well-equipped cottage with plenty of space to entertain friends and family. You may want to consider a cottage property closer to a town so you can stock up on supplies, and the possibility of finding the rare cottage on a municipal sewer system. You may want to find out:

  • Does the cottage have enough bedrooms for visitors?

  • Is the property large enough for guests to play?

  • Is there the kitchen equipped for entertaining and will the septic system support numerous guests?

With a quiet retreat cottage lifestyle, you may be looking for a quiet place to recharge. You will likely want a private secluded cottage property where you can reconnect with nature. You may want to consider a non-motorized lake where you can canoe, kayak or fish without interruption, and internet access and cable TV may not be high priorities for you. Some questions to think about:

  • How close are the nearest neighbours?

  • How far of a drive (in hours) is the property?

  • Is the lake private or is there a public access boat launch on the lake?

The traditional cottage lifestyle is a combination of everything. You want a nice-sized lake for boating, swimming and fishing.  You want to be close enough to the action to join in when the mood strikes, but not too close. You want to entertain close friends and family on a small, casual scale.  You want your cottage to be remote enough to feel like a refuge from the city without compromising the access to internet and cell phones. You may want to ask:

  • What is the shore like: Deep water, sandy beach, weedy?

  • Is the road accessible year round? Is there a cost to maintain?

  • What type of fish are found in the lake?

Maybe you don’t fit one particular cottage lifestyle, but pull in parts and pieces from a few lifestyles. The important thing to remember is to be sure to bring your lifestyle needs into the picture when deciding on the location, size and amenities for your cottage.

Finding the perfect cottage is not an easy task - nor is it a quick one. But with a bit of hard work and a lot of planning, it is something that can bring you years of happy family memories.