Opening the cottage
LINDEN – Carolyn MacAloney’s parents had a summer place when she was young.
“My father hated the cottage,” said the retiree.
Her dad’s problem with it, she said, was there was always something to do. It’s a common complaint: cottages are money pits and you spend as much time working on them as you do enjoying them.
Apparently that depends on the cottage. That cautionary tale doesn’t describe MacAloney’s current experience. She and her husband built a cottage over a number of summers spanning four or five years. They’ll be opening the summer retreat soon – or not – depending on the weather.
“Last year we went around the first of May,” she said.
Perhaps because it’s a new build, the married woman said she anticipates little or no expense when she opens the cottage each year. The structure, sited on a lake in the Wentworth/Millbrook area, was built with a basement and has vinyl siding. A wood stove for heating has taken them through two winters there, although she and her husband don’t over-winter now.
The woman’s son, Kevin Duguay, also has a cottage on the same property. Linda Duguay, Kevin’s wife, said it’s nothing fancy and takes little upkeep. Opening the cottage for the season is something she enjoys.
“It’s just good to go…,” she said, after a long winter.
Duguay didn’t grow up with a cottage in her family, but the couple have embraced it since they parked a cabin there about 10 years ago.
“Oh, we use it all summer,” she said. “We go down on the weekends…the phone doesn’t ring 24/7.”
Myrna Cranton has had a cottage in Linden for 35 years. She didn’t grow up with one, although she got to visit friends’ places in her youth. Cranton should be opening her cottage soon.
“Usually the end of April.”
The 68-year old has two brothers, and she’ll get help opening the place. At some point, the expense and effort of keeping a cottage may outweigh the pleasure.
“Last year was expensive,” she said.
A fridge just a few years or so old needed a major repair, and there was a plumbing problem. Cranton said it’s the expense of keeping two places instead of one.
But even with the costs and challenges of maintaining a cottage – Cranton had a stroke a few years ago – selling the place isn’t something she’s seriously considering right now.
She doesn’t like to go away on vacations. She has a brother in Ottawa with a cottage right be hers. He’s out three months of the year. And she likes being around the water.
MacAloney’s father hated her childhood cottage.
“It’s nice and peaceful,” she said of the place she has with her husband.
“I enjoy it.”