We had a great time. For the most part the weather cooperated and we all enjoyed a lot of time outdoors. The cottage is absolutely beautiful inside and out. The cottage was affectionately called "the glass palace" by our teenagers. They appreciated all the architectural elements of the design and the stunning glass views from many locations. The location on Otter Lake itself is wonderful; it is nicely secluded but close to town and any amenities that you might need during your stay. The owner (Colin) welcomed us with some local pastries and wine, which was a nice touch. We had a great time and will consider renting again in the future. We made some great family memories.
Back Deck/Waterfront Area
This was ideal and we all enjoyed the sitting areas for reading, talking and gathering over snacks. The waterfront set up got everyone out swimming, into the boats and fishing. The floating mat was a huge hit too. The fire pit and BBQ were also great and the kids appreciated the use of the roasting sticks. Fishing was incredible at this lake. We did “catch and release” for most of the week and probably caught over 100 fish. A few of the bigger ones did make it into the frying pan and were very good.
This was a popular place for gathering and reading.
Kitchen was very nice and there were some big plusses but also a few challenges for us with the size of our group (10) and the fact that we love cooking. We cooked all week and the fridge did not have the capacity to accommodate all our food. I think having a second fridge, even if it is not part of the main kitchen would be very helpful for groups of 10-12. We ended up using coolers but it was difficult to keep everything iced down.
The other challenge for us was that many of the storage cupboards were already filled with things so we ended up putting a lot of items on the counters diminishing greatly our workspace. This is an easy fix if Colin is willing to free up some additional storage space.
The frying pans/baking sheets were excellent. The pot situation was not. The largest pot was 5 quarts so pot-based meals had to be cooked in batches making it difficult to accommodate a sit-down dinner together for everyone. By just adding in a few larger pots (8-10 quarts) that can accommodate corn, soup, pasta etc., the situation would be greatly improved. Dishes/cutlery were "just enough" so this necessitated running of the dishwasher after every meal. Consider having extras of each to accommodate for larger rental groups. That said, we loved having a dishwasher!!! Colin has a nice collection of serving platters, large spoons/salad tongs, cutting boards, knives etc. and these were all highly utilized through week.
The kids did use this area for reading, games and they did watch 1-2 movies. It was nice to give them and us some separation. We did not get the codes for the internet so didn't use it; amazingly, our teenagers survived without the internet for more than a week.
All the rooms had nice comfortable beds, lovely bedding and great views. I would have liked extra towels for each room because the towels don't dry easily in the humidity. The saving grace was the laundry, which we used to refresh towels. Adding a few extra large and hand towels for each bathroom would be great.
a) The rooms on the end worked great for my brother and his three kids. They distributed as follows: Room 1 (my brother and wife) and Room 2 (the 4 kids). My brother and his three kids used the adjacent bathroom. I would say it is small for 5 to share for 10 days and it would be even more challenging if the two rooms were at full capacity (8). It was a very nice bathroom but small. My daughter slept with her cousins but used the master bathroom and closet.
b) Loft Room with Private Bathroom. This loft space was very nice and perfect for two, except it is so exposed. As my Mum says, the views were great from both the bedroom and the living room. There is no privacy and it is very noisy. Put your sound sleepers in this room!
c) Master Suite and Private Bathroom - This suite was amazing and suited our needs perfectly. Hanging seats on the adjacent deck were a nice respite and my daughter was on them almost everyday reading.
The ping pong table was a huge hit with the kids and they enjoyed access to all the board games - Monopoly X3, Clue, Trivia Pursuit, etc. Large fan at the roof peak is also wonderful to circulate air.
While we were at the cottage, two tornadoes touched down in the area causing power outages across about 20,000 cottages, homes and businesses. Although the cottage had a back-up generator, it was on the fritz. Our power was out for about a 24-hour period. The owner was very responsive and did everything he could to make our stay as smooth as possible during this time. We appreciated that.
I was not a big fan of the cleaning portion. All told, it took us about 10 hours of work to fulfill the cottage clean-up checklist. I think that at this price point, some of the basic items should be covered by the owner’s cleaning service - bathrooms, dusting, floors, changing sheets etc. Renters can ensure the big items are returned to the state in which they were found – waterfront, kitchen, outdoor furniture, grill, fire pit, games/equipment etc.