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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

a family cottage vacation in muskoka | ontario pet photographer

Last week we packed up our Mazda3 hatchback — like, REALLY packed it up — and headed north to Ontario's Muskoka region for a cottage vacation. It was our first real trip with a toddler and it was a totally different kind of "vacation" than what we were used to! There were a few obstacles, but in the end we had a great time. We had perfect weather, a beautiful lake to swim in and the gorgeous backdrop of Muskoka to enjoy. Plus, no Internet, no cell phone and seven full days of wet-dog smell!

On day two of our trip, a pipe burst in the cottage and we were without water for more than a day. Next came the excavation of the backyard to fix the pipe, which was not exactly the peaceful, relaxing retreat we were hoping for. But it all got repaired and our week ended on a happy note. Here are a few snapshots of our vacation taken on our iPhone — it was our go-to "camera" for most of the trip.

We've been renting a cottage in Muskoka for the past three years. It's one of my favourite ways to vacation, plus we can bring the dog. Here are just a few of the highlights from this trip and why we keep going back!

1. The Moose 99.5.
We listened to this local radio station on and off for the entire week and I don't think I heard the same song twice. I will be tuning in online!

2. The general stores.
I love general stores and this region has some fantastic ones! Many date back to the turn of the century, and have been in the same family for generations. They are full of character (and are often run by characters!) and it takes you back to a more simple time. I love being able to rent a video, buy construction adhesive and a watermelon all in one place that has history to boot.
The Rosseau General Store dates back to 1874.
The Raymond General Store welcomes Nana and Papa — love it!

3. Butter tarts at Schat Bakery and Café in cute downtown Huntsville, and a Muskoka Maple or Loon Call coffee (fresh from the Muskoka Roastery) at Seven on Main, which is just up the street. This is a great way to start a day of shopping and antiquing!
Mmmm .... butter tarts.

4. Simply Cottage in Bracebridge. I could LIVE in this store.
Simply Cottage is in an amazing old foundry building and full of antique and new items for that cottage vibe.

5. The pet-friendly attitude. All the stores have posters in the windows not only reminding patrons to not to leave their pets in hot cars, but welcoming four-leggers into the stores. The beach that our cottage shared with a handful of others was pet-friendly too, and all the vacationers were happy to share the sand and water with the pooches. Back home it's pretty much impossible for us to find a place for Chloe to swim, which makes us sad because Chloe seriously loves to swim.

Where are your favourite places to go on vacation? Have you gone on a getaway this summer?

Wags,
Stacey

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