Lesley Rooke, Cottage Queen

My life is filled with love and laughter thanks to the amazing people I get to hang out with. As well as being awesome, they’re creative, talented, generous, and fun! I thought you might like to meet them so I’ve asked them to come and give us a behind-the-scenes look at what they’re passionate about. I have to warn you though – creativity is contagious! 

My special guest today is Lesley Rooke, the hostess with the most-est, talking about cottage life! I know some people wonder if it’s worth the effort to pack it all up and make the trip to a cottage on the weekends or for a special week-long vacation. Lesley would say ‘Definitely yes!!’ So for all you sitting on the fence about renting or buying a cottage, here’s some sage advice.

blanket insideLesley, how long have you been heading out to your cottage? L: Our cottage has been in my family for 102 years!!!!! Wow eh!!! In 1913, my paternal grandfather took a trip from Toronto to Haliburton (part of the way was by horse and buggy) because one of his friends had just purchased property on the lake and he was so excited to share his excitement. My grandfather instantly fell in love and he himself purchased 1800 feet of shoreline for $75.00!! Isn’t that just unbelievable??? This cottage has been passed down two generations and is currently shared by my brother and myself. So, to answer your question, I have been going to the cottage since I was born, which is over 50 years!!!


lesley dockWow – what a legacy for your family! That’s such a cool story. What do you love about cottage life? L: I love everything about cottage life!!!! I have always felt so fortunate to have had this life experience and I never take it for granted. There is just no comparison to city life! The nice thing is that everything you do there is so different then the city. It’s kind of like the analogy…country mouse/city mouse. We do all the water sports, we hike really cool trails, we go for midnight boat cruises to see shooting stars, the northern lights and constellations. We canoe, paddle boat and fish. We have a lot of campfires with s’mores of course, and we play board games that we would never play in the city for some reason. There’s a whole group of people that we call our summer friends because we really only see them then. We have the odd party too!!!

A few things we don’t do are…shop, drive, race around. Once we are there, for the most part, we stay put.


cottage sepia


My favourite thing is how peaceful it is…coffee on the deck in the morning is heaven. Our property is quite private with no immediate neighbours.




Sounds like great family time – away from screens! What makes a good guest? L: When my children brought friends up, it was important that the friends were active, energetic and liked water sports and boating. And for us…most of our guests have always been great. People enjoy the getaway.

dog in boatdog on raftWhat is your favourite cottage memory? L: I have too many favourite memories to mention, but a recent one was just last summer. I spent three nights there on my own with Elvis (our new little pup) and in the evenings I sat in the sunroom listening to the evening cottage life sounds and sorting through letters from the 70’s and 80’s! That was a really fun trip down memory lane!!!!


Oh and one more…

Etched in my mind is a visual memory of my late father sitting on the deck and enjoying all his surroundings and saying “This is a little piece of heaven on earth.” He said that more than once!!!

Ryan on boardI always think being near water is relaxing and soothing. How do you keep the kids interested in going to the cottage? L: Fortunately, and I mean that sincerely, we never had to keep the kids interested. They share the love and it’s in their blood.



They love to be active too! Any tips for packing or preparing food for the weekend? L: There is no question…weekends back and forth are a lot of work. Pre planning and being organized is the key! And of course, taking Fridays off…

Nice. Do you use your cottage in the winter? L: Growing up we never used our cottage in the winter, as it was not winterized. We have rebuilt in the last five years and it’s now winterized, but I find for me, I enjoy all that summer has to offer and don’t feel the need to go up during the winter. It’s a three-hour drive so that being said, I’m ready to stay put for the winter. We have enjoyed a few fabulous Thanksgiving weekends there though.

It would be beautiful especially with the fall colours. If you had to pick a song to be your theme song what would it be? L: I have always had a connection with Its a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong – it reminds me of my mom and dad!

And Kelly Clarkson…What Doesn’t Kill you Makes You Stronger! Her words are to a lost love, but my application is to life in general. Any life event can change you and shape you and make you stronger – at least that’s what I believe.

I agree. What would you pick as a superpower? L: Teleporting would be very cool! I wouldn’t want it to be so easy that travel to exotic places would become mainstream. I would just want it to be an easier, safer and faster way to travel. With the way technology is advancing…it just might happen!!

That would be so cool – I hope it does! What’s your favourite dessert? L: I’m sorry to all you chocolate lovers but I have to say Treacle Pudding. It’s a British dessert that is basically sponge cake that has been steamed all day in Treacle Syrup which would be similar to Corn Syrup.

blanketSounds deliciously sweet!! Thank you very much Lesley for sharing your love of all things cottage. I think anytime you can find a relaxing place where you can be active, enjoy the activities you love, and spend time with family is wonderful! Hopefully spring will be here soon and you’ll be up at the cottage again! Be active everyone! Linda

One Comment

  1. Ping from Linda Brent:

    Thanks for sharing.