My urge to travel again has been very strong lately. I have been so tempted to just point at a map and book a flight there. The excitement of planning an itinerary, the anticipation of packing a suitcase, and the thrill of looking out a plane window as it takes off into the clouds, and lands in a new destination waiting to be explored, is an itch I really want to scratch.
And we will. Soon.
But for now, we have been lucky and grateful to enjoy local getaways away from the mundane routine, unplugging just two hours away from our little concrete box in the sky.
This has been a long overdue post. I’ve been meaning to write about this little Muskokan paradise ever since our first visit there last October. We recently went back again this April, and as I write this, I find myself so lucky to have been able to experience this little getaway twice in the last six months.
Destination: Beach House Muskoka.
A serene and luxurious retreat away from the city, and deep into the pristine calm waters of Lake Roseau.
Our visit in October was our “mini-moon” getaway. It was our occasion to recharge from a hectic season, and make time to commemorate a milestone event in our delayed newlywed chapter.
Our time there in October was met with rainfall during the entire duration of our stay, but it was actually the perfect setting for a cozy Autumn getaway.
The outdoors may have been wet, cold and grey, but the indoors was warmed up with an indoor fireplace, butter tarts, and movies under the blanket and over the fireplace while grazing on a cheese platter and wine.
Albeit these are activities we enjoy in the comfort of our own little urban condo, doing them in a faraway luxury cottage rental, away from the hustle and bustle of the same-old routine, felt like an intentional vacation.
This second time around, our return to Beach House Muskoka was with our friends, during a season we’ve all been working hard and had busy life milestones. We all felt like we needed a little pause and refresh, so we booked a three night getaway for the end of April.
I was a little worried we were going to be welcomed with rain again, or worse, snow (in true unpredictable Canadian fashion, this April has felt more like winter – gloomy, cold, and did I mention cold?).
Well, it seems the universe must have had a little pity on us, and granted us three days of absolute perfect weather.
Clear blue skies, crisp springtime air and multiple bursts of warm golden sun caressing the body, and soul.
It was glorious.
The weather, the company, the food, the beach house.
It was a much needed reset button, and a way to finally enjoy a mini trip with some close friends.
In this post, I highlight my favourite parts of our Beach House Muskoka getaway.
The parts that left a soothing imprint to the mind and soul, and the parts I know I can return to if overseas travel isn’t yet in the works.
The outdoor space
Given the beautiful weather during our second visit, we took advantage of the gorgeous outdoor space this beach house has to offer. This time around, the big screen TV remained off.
The front deck is equipped with a hot tub, a sauna and a cozy lounge area, as well as a fire pit down the steps to enjoy campfires. The back deck faced the lake, and was equipped with a BBQ and patio set.
From sunrises to starlit skies, the utter quietness of the cottage escape, void of city sounds and sirens, and inhaling the fresh Muskokan air was definitely my biggest joy of this trip. Our afternoons were spent flipping the pages of a book (or journaling) in the sun with a cold drink, music and the laughter of friends around me. I can’t think of anything better.
“We ate really well”, our friend said as she nodded with satisfaction and chewed the last bite of her hamburger, her eyes scanning the empty plates of the food we just consumed. Her statement summarizes the other main highlight of this trip for me. Food always tastes better on vacation, and shared in the company of the people you love.
From BBQ’ed hot dogs and hamburgers, to spicy chicken wings, to cheese and charcuterie, to fresh berries and ice cream, to peameal bacon and coffee, to fire roasted marshmallows. Good meals were in abundance during this trip.
This is a special one for me. This past winter has been mentally very hard on me. As much as I find it easy to identify and bask in the simple joys of our everyday life, it can’t be denied that we are still going through difficult and unusual times.
The work from home routine in a condo during the long and gloomy winter has not been gentle on the spirit of a sunshine-seeking soul like me. So that is why the early mornings at the beach house were extra comforting for me.
Every morning at six, I would quietly make tea, gather my throw blanket, book, or journal, and gently slip out into the back deck while the rest of the house slept. The sun would be making its debut on the horizon, and that first sip always tasted glorious with this view.
When it got a little too brisk to keep sitting out, I’d slip back inside and nestle in the corner of the couch, already warmed up from the sun rays.
These mornings were just me and the sun. No one else. Yet this sort of solitude always made me feel the most complete.
If I could describe the aesthetic of Beach House Muskoka, it would be Miami meets Scandinavia. The white washed wood, the cotton textiles, the rattan baskets, the surf boards and airy palettes of greys, whites and creams.
The little touches of luxury were easy to spot. Couture fashion books were strategically placed on the coffee table and end tables, brass hardware in the sparkling clean bathrooms, and cashmere throws were neatly folded and ready for use near the stone fireplace.
The beach house even smelled wonderful. It smells woody and fresh, thanks to the fragrant aroma of the Santal 26 candle scattered around the house.
In addition to the pristine lake views, the fresh air, and the slow life that encompasses this cottage escape, I think the element that gives it that added “luxury retreat” is the sauna.
This amenity is one we enjoyed during both our visits. As someone who loves spas, and as someone married to a Finn, this was a nice steamy treat to enjoy, in both the crisp evenings of late October and late April.
The aroma of cedar wafts through your nostrils as you step into the sauna, and the brisk outdoor air is the perfect companion to a good sweat session when you need to cool down and hydrate. I always slept so soundly after a good steam.
Until we can stamp our passports again, I have grown to truly appreciate our local getaways.
It is the right amount of adventure and retreat. The right amount of scenery change.
The right amount of appreciating what’s around us, without going too far.
And with that, I am curious to know: what is your ideal local vacation to “reset”?