Cabin lifestyle is very individual

As kids, anytime a fancy boat drifted into the bay, we’d imagine the occupants as wealthy people from faraway places.
And it wasn’t just the boat that set them apart. Their unique flair for clean white shoes and colourful shirts matched their equally flamboyant voices and large tackle boxes.
Nowadays, I don’t make these stereotypes between locals and seasonal residents. Some locals have some of the nicest boats on the lake while some visitors embrace the most primitive outdoor experience.
Also, I don’t make assumptions about people’s wealth.
One professional Winnipeg couple I know regularly hike four miles to reach their off-the-grid cabin. Even though they can afford luxury (she’s a judge and he’s a family therapist), they spend their holidays without electricity or an indoor toilet.
They have visitors who park their BMWs and hike the four miles, as well. Baking in a solar box oven, showering outdoors, and using an outhouse are quaintly different than the city country club.
This kind of cabin doesn’t suit the desires of most modern consumers, however. The trend tips in the direction of comfort and convenience–well-appointed bathrooms, satellite TV, computer games, and even dishwashers.
Even with the current global economic slowdown, spending on cabins in the district continue to increase. “Both locals and seasonal visitors are now spending more on their cabin dwellings,” says Emily Mosbeck of Tompkins Hardware in Emo.
It’s her feeling that most people want to enjoy every aspect of their cabin life, and they take pride in maintaining a comfortable place where they can visit more often.
I understand what Emily is talking about. As much as I reminisce about the simplicity of maintaining a water system which consists of two buckets, I can’t deny the quick convenience of a running tap.
Plus once winter hits, a warm shower after a day of splitting wood is pure heaven. I say this honestly because until recently, winter showers consisted of water heated on the wood stove and a shower bag hung from the woodshed.
I wonder, however, what cabin development will look like in Sunset Country in the future. Will this area ever look more like Muskoka, Ont. or Whistler, B.C.?
Cottage magazines have pictures of these busy places with cabin-dwellers dressed in fashionable whites, sipping martinis beside their designer boathouses. I don’t envision this as the predominant scene at our lake, but as everyone knows, the need for “escape” is escalating while the supply of remote places is on the decline.
I’ve talked to many high-income earners who crave remote experiences with a high level of service. It makes me wonder–to what end will our need for convenience continue to escalate?
Certainly the time-honoured practice of puttering around doing chores is less appealing as our lives get more hectic. As well, this shift in appeal has me wondering about the luxury condo concept.
Condo unit owners worry less about whether the grass needs cutting or the pump needs repair, plus they feel good that their multi-unit dwelling creates less of a footprint on the environment than if they built a detached cabin.
Again, this reiterates that lifestyle at the cabin is individual.
I don’t like the idea of a luxury condo on our lake, but it could happen. Certainly lake life has changed a lot already since I was a youngster watching people from faraway places drift by.
P.S. I hope to hear from you. E-mail me at to report about your own cabin and outdoor lifestyle experiences.
Whether it’s an unusual bird sighting, some quirky cabin ritual, or a trail you’ve just discovered, it’s all exciting news to me.

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