Changes afoot in Paradise

View from the dock on a September morning

For years I knew responsibility for our family cottage would eventually fall to me, but that is coming to pass sooner than expected. There is no mortgage, but taxes and insurance need to be covered. I am determined to keep the place in the family. Most likely I will have to rent it out for a few weeks per year to cover expenses.

This will be a difficult path to navigate. For more than 30 years cottage life has provided a private escape for us. Putting it at the disposal of other people brings many unknown factors. We have always enjoyed managing without hydro (fridge, stove and wall lights all operate on propane), but now must decide whether equipping the place would make it more marketable. I am aware of agents who look after renting out cottage properties; this could potentially reduce the hassle.

Visiting the place last week I also had a brainstorm to arrange small weekend fibre retreats for between five and eights guests. The fee would cover workshops in natural dyeing, knitting and spinning as well as good food and simple accommodation in remarkably beautiful, peaceful surroundings. Well, it is an idea.

There is a lot of research and work to be done. It feels like the beginning of a new chapter. Whatever happens, Paradise will not be the same.

5 thoughts on “Changes afoot in Paradise

  1. Van, I might also recommend:
    – AirBnB. We recently stayed with some wonderful folks in Beijing, and it absolutely rocked. They found it relatively simple and pleasantly lucrative.
    – Writers retreat. Looks like a place where I could get a lot of work done. Although, I always say that and then just take a nap… 🙂

    1. Joan, those are both terrific ideas. Thank you! It is just the place for writers to get some peace, quiet, inspiration and rest. AirBnB looks pretty cool.

  2. I was fortunate enough to have not one but two similar places to grow up in. One was an old farm and surrounding countryside, and the other was the northern woods by a large lake. The latter has been lost to me through time, two deaths, and other passages, in quick succession. The first seems soon to follow but in a more terminal, lingering form, and there isn’t anything I can do to make it mine or influence its course. The owner (my grandmother) sees no reason why, after she’s gone, it could/should become a wellness center or some kind of retreat grounds. Thinking long-term, I suggested she approach the Mayo medical center about gifting this place as a center for healing or something, but she doesn’t share that vision. Since I am only a grandchild, not one of her children, my voice is drowned out by many older voices (i.e., aunts and uncles) who live out of state and who see mostly dollar signs where I see a place to retreat from modern life.

    Wow, I didn’t start out with the intention of writing this much!

    1. Joe, thanks for sharing these stories. I enjoy learning more about your life.

      I also had two places. One was this cottage property, which I am incredibly grateful to be able to keep. My parents had the foresight to put the deed in my name some years back, otherwise I would not have any control over its destiny now with Mom dead and Dad remarried. The other was our family home on the shore of Lake Erie. It was equally beautiful, richer in some ways, with a much different, warmer climate–in the countryside, but by no means isolated. It was lush and torrid as the cottage was clear and peaceful. I had to go say goodbye to my childhood home today because Dad has just sold it to move into a smaller place. It was the only reasonable course for him. Today’s farewell was an emotional one, but I am content with the outcome.

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