5 reasons why cottages are sacred places

A rainbow and Muskoka chairs on a dock on Go Home Lake Photo by Julie Talbot's father-in-law, John Talbot, who took this shot at their famly cottage on Go Home Lake.

Cottages are not only a financial investment, they are an investment in our souls. More and more people are renting and buying cottages, so there must be reasons why beyond what we might initially think.

Cottage life is an investment in our health as well as a great opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family without the distractions of daily routine life. Participating in cottage life gives us permission to unplug from the business of our lives and to engage in the splendour and simplicity of the natural world. When cottaging, we need not seek out reprieve — it is all around us — we are immersed in all the elements of nature taking in the beauty of our surroundings. These are the sacred blessings experienced when at the cottage that keeps us coming back for more.

Like many of you, I have a very busy life and a family. My husband owns and operates a Real Estate Company and he needs his time at the cottage, even though we drive three hours to get there to then load and unload a boat just to be able to enjoy our getaway.

However, the journey is well worth the benefits that await us. On the drive to our cottage, I observe how my husband begins to slowly unwind — slowly leaving the stress of his job as we travel the three hours. I can see that he is anticipating all the benefits of his time at the cottage, such as being able to enjoy the water and the simplicity of the concrete tasks that need to be done.

Being busy is different than being active. Busy makes us think of tasks that can be stressful, and active is related to moving the body and clearing the mind. This is a hidden gem of cottage living in being able to balance the mind and body with activities that are pleasing and apart of cottage living.

What does sacred mean? Traditionally, sacred is defined as being a connection, reverence and devotion to something awe inspiring — associated with divinity or divine things, holiness. What can possibly be more divine than the beauty and expansiveness of nature and all that she has to offer us? Cottages provide us with opportunities to connect with our natural selves.

Let’s be honest, not much in today’s society can be considered natural and wholesome, especially bearing in mind today’s technology, which takes us further away from our roots.

1. A cottage is place to recharge and regenerate. I invite you to close your eyes for a moment, take a few deep breaths and visualize your cottage or a special place that you visit in nature. Almost immediately, your body’s response to this visualization is to activate the “rest & relax” part of our nervous system, sending healing hormones throughout your blood stream and this is happening just by visualization.

Cottages are places for rest and rejuvenation — a break away from everyday mundane life. Cottages make the daily grind of work worth the reward of being able to participate in cottage life.

2. Cottages are located in beautiful areas allowing us to engage in the natural world. Studies show that the more time we spend in the natural world, the healthier we become. This is especially true for children. Spending too much time indoors being inactive puts us at risk of experiencing health problems and potential emotional issues. This disconnect is becoming more serious as generation after generation are spending less time outside.

3. Spending quality time with friends and family is a lost value in modern society. Many of us say we want more of this, however it’s more likely to occur without the daily distractions of our day-to-day lives at home. Spending time at a cottage removes us from the regular duties. Cottages are places where special memories and family traditions are created.

4. Spending time at a cottage creates a respect for the environment that will translate to future generations. Children learn through modelled behaviour. If they see their parents respecting the environment, then they will learn to do this themselves. Bearing witness to the magnificence of nature through cottage living creates a respect for nature and in turn possibly becoming an advocate for the environment.

5. Cottages are a reflection of who we are and what we value. Our values and priorities are demonstrated by how we live and what we deem important. Owning or renting a cottage gives you a chance to enjoy and respect all the beauty and wonder this magnificent earth has to offer—and an opportunity to in turn look after it. Engaging in the natural world demonstrates our ability to unplug and reconnect to nature, family, friends — discovering that it’s the simple things in life that matter and participating in cottage life allows time for more of this to transpire.






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