A few weeks ago we embarked on our first ever group cottaging adventure to Huntsville Ontario. My friend Kim stayed at a little place called Allen's Landing (now Stillwater Cottages) with her family 2 summers ago, and since then has been insisting it's the perfect place for us all to bring our families.
She wasn't wrong.
Stillwater Cottages is a small cluster of 4 simple cottages on Clear Lake in Perry Township.
View from the laneway as you enter the property
Owners Clarence and Ingrid Dykstra live on the property in a larger home, and just in front of their spot sit 4 sweet little cottages that you can rent for approximately $1000 for the week. We decided that if we were going to rent, then we should try to rent all four cottages so that we'd know everyone on site.
Clarence and Ingrid's Home
Brad and I claimed one, and the others were occupied by our friends Kim and Pete (and their two boys), Josie and John (and their two kids), and my sister Meghan, her husband Jeff and their four kids.
Between the four families we had 10 kids and 8 adults.
The whole crew. Still smiling on the last day!
Ages ranged from 6 months to 40 years young...and thankfully the younger generation never did do the math required to figure out they had us outnumbered.
The week was amazing.
The space had a great waterfront with multiple docks, a lillypad, 3 kayaks, 2 paddle boats and a small beach. We had a fire pit, a climbing structure which the kids basically lived in (and on), a swing set and loads of toys. The kids just played played played.
Boys digging for God knows what at the beach.
Treehouse of dreams.
"Mom! Check out my cape. I'm going to jump!"
There was even this amazing waterslide which no child was too small to fly off of.
John takes CeCe for a wee rip
This is our normally super cautious, over-thinking, "what if?" Clementine hurling herself off the wrong side of the slide, and knee boarding for the first time.
My heart explodes.
Besides the littlest girls, Clem was a woman among goofballs and had no trouble rising to the occasion, leading the charge in games made up as she went along.
"Ok boys. Here's the challenge. Everybody grab a ball and try to get it in this bucket without falling off the playhouse. Kay? "
I think, for me, the best part of being a parent is witnessing my kids having experiences like this. I know they won't soon forget how much fun they had, and so so many memories were made.
Kids ruining a perfectly good game of bocce ball.
Spending this kind of time with their cousins was especially awesome.
Cousins pondering life. Cohen and Griff.
Cousins chillin' like villains. Griff and Olie.
I don't remember the last time I spent more than a few days with my sister and bro in law (not to mention my friends!) and getting to hang with my nephews and niece with zero agenda was just something really special.
View from Cabin 2.
Two of my best besties. Josie and Kim.
Melissa, John and Isla. Mixing things up and sharing the parenting load.
Auntie Lou with CeCe, Isla and Hanky Joe.
The magic hour. Aka time for s'mores.
Henry experiments (unsuccessfully) with marshmallow eating methods.
Watching this guy relax was pretty special too.
Brad reading approximately 1.5 pages of his book before being interrupted.
We made a couple of day trips into Huntsville to visit Deerhurst Resort (perfect solution to a rainy day at $20 per family for unlimited swimming, playing and arcading. Clem won the jackpot!) and the famous Kawartha Dairy (note to my future self: go for the kiddie cone) but other than that we were more than happy to stay put on our little compound away from reality.
Olie showing the early signs of Bubble Gum Ice Cream overload.
Our attention starved son, Olie, Rory, Clem, Cohen and Henry.
I was honestly prepared to be staying in less than ideal conditions. Because, generally speaking, that's what cottages are. Cobwebs and sand in your bed sheets basically. But Stillwater Cottages, is everything you need and more.
We rented Cabin #2.
Our home for the week. Cabin 2.
Front door to our cabin
Screened in porch
Our cabin had two bedrooms.
One master with a queen and a second with a double bunk bed that slept 3.
Master with queen.
View from Master doorway.
The place had electricity (WiFi!), running water (drinkable!!), a shower and flushable toilet. We brought our own sheets, but you can rent them for only $15 a room or something super reasonable. I can't remember, but I know it was worth it.
The kitchen was small but all you'd ever need and came fully equipped with dishes and cutlery (like corkscrew AND cheese grater equipped!), fridge, stove, coffee maker and microwave.
Living room with tv
Though we had a "no electronics" rule for the week, it sure was handy for me to be able to check emails, and in the evenings we made a mutual agreement to let the kids pass out in front of a movie so we could better enjoy adult time by the fire.
And enjoy it we did.
The BEST part about this place is that we get first right of refusal on booking the same week next year. I really hope that we can come again.
I dunno know though.
We'll have to ask Griffin and see what he thinks.
Until next time Stillwater Cottages!