By Sarah Pountney
I’ve spent a lot of time in Muskoka – as a resident, a realtor, and as a witness to its splendor – and I tend to hear about the same lakes and hotspots for buying, for visiting, and for admiring that you do. It’s impossible to deny the pull of the Big Three: Lakes Muskoka, Rosseau and Joseph. They are undeniably majestic, and a dream spot for any prospective cottager.
But Muskoka, boasting over 80 lakes, is more than just its three biggest ones. And if you’re looking to get into the market, then considering some of the lesser known – but hardly lesser – lakes offers the opportunity for a lower price point than the Big Three, while still meeting your cottage wish list: modern design, incredible boating, swimming, fishing, and magnificent views, while offering you a property investment that holds its value.
While the smaller lakes may not have the cachet of their larger and more celebrated counterparts, they are still some of the most beautiful lakes in the world, and they’re all places you and your family will immediately fall in love with. Plus, they’re still close to all the Muskoka lifestyle and amenities that make the region the most desirable second-property market in the country. World-class golf and restaurants, exciting nightlife, bespoke boutiques, delectable bakeries and farm-fresh produce aren’t only found next to Muskoka, Rosseau and Joseph.
In fact, there are some incredible advantages to your decision to be adventurous and step outside the Big Three in your cottage search! Some of the smaller lakes offer more affordability, more privacy, and more variety than what’s available elsewhere. And when you’re not using your cottage, your off-Big Three property can fill and open up space in the rental marketplace, where competitively priced accommodations are in great demand.
Another great advantage to smaller lake properties is that they offer the kind of remote, away from the city, rural feel that first attracted cottagers to the region. While you may love the excitement of a busy lake bustling with Jet-skis and wakeboarders, long weekend parties, and lively late nights, smaller lakes tend to promise less through traffic and quieter waterways. You can step back in time to a Muskoka of the past, and bask in the luxury of the woods!
I’ve seen your “must-have” lists for your new dream cottage. You’re looking for a four-bedroom, three-bath, with contemporary construction and design, modern amenities, and a southwestern exposure. But does your budget match your desires? When you work with a seasoned realtor like Cayman Marshall, we can show you smaller lakes with big hearts that fit both your dreams and your chequebook. An open mind provides the potential to see more properties on smaller lakes, where your dollar can go further.
The reality is that Muskoka is not getting any bigger, but the opportunity exists for you to join the community on one of the smaller lakes. Because at the end of the day, what are you looking for? Luxury? Rural beauty? A home away from home? Convenient access to amenities? The Muskoka life? All of these things are readily available, just adjacent to the spots you’ve had your mind set on. And trust me, these smaller lakes are small only in size, not in what they offer the next phase of your cottage living!
The next time you head up to your friends’ or family’s cottage on the Big Three, I want you to think about this: What do you remember most from your visit? What were your impressions of the property? The lake? The community? Did you stare out at the sunset and admire how big the lake was? Did you marvel at how many cottages bordered the shoreline? Did you delight in the innumerable boaters populating a Saturday afternoon? Or do you recall the beauty of the quiet, birds chirping you awake, the rustle of a doe in the woods, the way the sun skipped across the bay as it rose, a distant chord travelling from another shore’s campfire? What you’re looking for isn’t grandeur, but rather comfort and splendor. And in small packages come wonderful lakeside homes.