Since buying our cottage, we’ve been hauling massive loads of stuff from the dock up the hill to our summer getaway. Every time, we complain about the hill and the many trips we have to take. We tell ourselves “We need to get a golf cart!”, which are common on Keats to putter around / haul up stuff. But we kept putting it off. We’d already bought a lot of stuff this year (cottage, boat, etc). But then we took over a BBQ and that was the final straw. Hauling that box up the dock and the hill took forever.
So, we said screw it, we may as well get the golf cart now and actually make use of it on future awkward items being sent over. It was, of all the things we’ve purchased in the last few months, one of the easiest transactions to complete. The team at Attica were incredibly helpful and had our golf cart customized and ready to ship within a week. They arranged the whole shipping process, including the water taxi. We just had to hand over the money.
As logical as this sounds, our experience with many cottage-related things has been that money doesn’t matter – there are still a million hoops to go through!
So, huzzah, golf cart! And let me tell you, ripping around in that thing is a lot of fun! I invented many reasons to use it on our first weekend!
With two very active little boys, there’s not much “break” to Spring Break. Two weeks off school is necessary and great, but it did throw a wrench into a routine I felt we were all finally getting used to. I struggled to fit my work time in, but we did not struggle to create new memories.
We went to the cottage. Twice. The first weekend (the first trip for the kids!), we discovered a leak (yay!) and our pump broke (yay!), but we had glorious sunshine. The second weekend, which originally looked like it was going to be nicer, wasn’t. Still, we went. We just didn’t stay long. It was cloudy but less chaotic. We now have a huge pile of odd sticks, shells and sea glass. Pinterest to the rescue!
We had a kid-free weekend to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary (which is coming up in 2 weeks). We went to Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler. Why not just go to the cottage without the kids? First, we LOVE it at Nita Lake. Second, I scored a deal on a Facebook moms group! It felt so good to be lazy, get a massage and eat amazing food.
We spent a lot of time outside going to some favourite local parks, meeting with friends, or just chilling in the sun with scooters and bikes and sidewalk chalk.
We went to our favourite activity spots, namely the Aquarium, Science World and Maplewood Farm. These are always the top requests when we have a full day off!
We threw in some last-minute fun! To top it off, we drove back from Whistler and decided to treat the kids to a visit to the PlayDome. I hadn’t been willing to take both kids myself mid-week, but I am SO glad we went. They both had a blast!
So, was it relaxing? Sometimes. You know, if you don’t count the unexpected leaks and things breaking and rain and ongoing frustrations in trying to find a boat. But, you know, if you forget about those things… then yes!
Our second night on Keats Island, I received “the call.” You know, the one with sobbing children. Aiden and Damien had been roughhousing (no surprise there) and Aiden had hurt his fingers. Looking at the time, I thought “ok, maybe he’s fine and it just triggered his need to go to bed” so I stayed cheery and asked him to give my Mom a big hug and have a good bath. I promised to sing his song in a later call.
Unfortunately, he didn’t bounce back. His finger was hurting and then he started complaining of a sore ear. My mom was able to locate our Advil and stayed up with him for a very long night. Damien was up a couple of times too, which was not easy for one grandma!
I received “the call” again the next morning at 7. More crying. We decided Aiden should go to the clinic and I made plans to come home early.
Well, I should have double checked the schedules. Getting off of Keats Island in the Winter is not as easy. There are two main ways to return home: direct water taxi or through BC Ferries. Well, we thought a certain time was the earliest time, not realizing we had forgotten to refer to the water taxi, which had a direct option to get into Horseshoe Bay early that morning. Missing that, I was kicking myself all morning feeling guilty and replaying the crying children in my head. Mom guilt.
I took the next Stormaway into Langdale to connect with the BC Ferries return trip, but it didn’t connect on Sundays. I knew this, and yet it was still the fastest option at the time. I had to wait 2 hours. With no food beyond what could be purchased from the vending machine. The whole process took me 4 hours, when it could have taken 35 minutes.
I made it home to two smiling kids, who of course felt fine after breakfast and Advil (for Aiden). Aiden sprained his finger (it looks like 2 of them) and had an ear infection caused by a super congested nose he’s had for a while now. They were tired and grumpy, but not as my mind had pictured them. What a trip.
So, today I took them both to the aquarium and let them go at their own pace. I felt like I needed to reconnect with them after the weekend away and the chaos of my return. It was a beautiful morning…. until we had some issues over lunch since the Aquarium appears to have modified some ingredients on their menu and they were no longer to the satisfaction of either child. And so they ended up tired and hungry and super cranky leaving through the gift shop. Ah. The reality of parenting returned.
This weekend we went to our new cottage on Keats Island to give it a thorough clean. We thought it looked clean when we purchased it, so we went hoping for some relaxing couples time too. Well, after 8 hours of cleaning a kitchen top to bottom (including the hand washing of every dish and utensil that came with the place), I can say we didn’t get much couples time. We did, however, get a cottage that’s probably cleaner than our current house.
We washed 4 beds worth of linens, overflowed the washer twice, shrank the couch slipcovers (boo), accidentally left a footstool in the rain (oops), and discovered the many things we forgot to bring or must soon bring. Our list is enormous.
And yet, we have a cottage! And were welcomed into an amazing community! From our reception on the island being handed the keys to a truck to take our stuff across, to the vacuum we borrowed, to the welcome bonfire we sat around late our second evening. And most importantly to the warm welcome by friends who made the daunting work list seem like a trifle in comparison to the amazing experiences we will soon have.
The cottage is now cleaned and winterized. We look forward to Spring!
This past week, my husband and I closed the deal on the purchase of this lovely cottage on Keats Island. It’s still not hit me that this is really ours, I’m feeling quite amazing and lucky about it all!
For the past few years, Ianiv and I have been toying with the idea of a summer cottage (and a larger house). We live in a 3-bedroom plus office townhouse nestled in a really great community walking distance from Aiden’s school. Finding the right house without doubling our property cost was proving… difficult. It’s an expensive market.
While we’ve tried to research and juggle both priorities, a summer cottage seemed more like a dream that wouldn’t come true. Most locations we considered, such as the Sunshine Coast, were too expensive. I spent hours researching locations and prices and random lakes all over BC. We even considered border hopping. We decided against an RV community and against a townhouse community. Those felt too “packed in” and not the quiet and nature-inspired cottage life we dreamed of. The idea seemed not destined to happen.
And yet, it has. Keats Island came onto our radar last summer when we visited some friends there. Keats is a great little island, completely on its own with no local restaurants or stores or other amenities, and yet bursting with a wonderful community and beaches. At the time, we dismissed Keats as an option since it’s more-or-less boat accessible only. Well, you can take a water taxi or a ferry plus Stormaway or water taxi, but it’s a time consuming and expensive process. The goal for us with a cottage was to find somewhere close to Vancouver that would be easy for us to go to anytime we wanted.
After researching so many other options, buying a boat no longer seemed expensive in comparison with the cost of other locations. Really, a boat was a fraction of the price compared to other cottage destinations, so for us it became a non-issue. We’ll simply buy a boat. And learn how to operate it, of course. So, with Keats back on our radar, we paid a visit to the island to check out all the available houses as well as lots, for building. Building a pre-fabricated home was an option we were considering, but none of the available lots on Keats were very family-friendly (lots of cliffs or rocks that needed blasting).
The cottage above fit our requirements, plus it came furnished. Since everything large must be barged into Keats, that was a nice perk. The cottage is 3 bedrooms, enough for us to have guests over (and we love the idea of guests!). Since both of us work from home, we can spend more time at the cottage in good weather anytime we want, and yet still return to Vancouver to enjoy the Summer lifestyle we have here. It’s really a win-win for us.
This weekend, Ianiv and I are headed to our new cottage to clean it and inventory what is there, then winterize it. A big learning process for us. But still, SO EXCITING.
Island Life here we come!!