This cottage rental near Toronto is the dream project of two couples
Just a few months into lockdowns, two couples who are old school friends decided to make their dream of co-owning a cottage together a reality.
They called it Cider Haus, and it's been a hot all-season commodity in Brandy Lake in the Muskoka area since opening.
"After making a few renter-friendly adjustments to the space, we listed it on Airbnb, and were pleasantly surprised by the demand for short-term rentals," co-owner Rachel tells blogTO (who wishes to keep her last name and the names of her other co-owners anonymous).
"Things have just taken off from there."
They fortunately bought the place fully furnished, so they didn't have to put too much work into making it ready to rent, but the small touches they've added have made a big difference: writing up how-to manuals for things like the stove and saunas, adding WiFi locks, keeping a good stock of supplies and taking on a maintenace company.
With three bedrooms and two bathrooms, Cider Haus sleeps seven. While the inside is cozy and cute with an indoor fireplace, it's the outside that's most resplendent with a sprawling multi-level dock that leads right down to the water and an outdoor fire pit.
The crown jewel of their property that people keep commenting on is a barrel-shaped sauna looking out over the lake perched just above a lower dock.
"It's a great place to warm up after a cool evening dip in the lake, or a great place to take a break from the cold in the winter," says Rachel. "The sun heats it up beautifully on a sunny winter day."
The couples have also taken inspiration from their own family life to make the cottage as convenient and welcoming as possible, as they each have children under five. That includes stocking items like high chairs, baby tubs, change pads and even white noise machines on site.
They were inspired by their fur babies as well, as it can be so tough to find a place to stay that's perfect for both their kids and dogs.
"Makes our lives so much easier when we go up to stay. We wanted to offer the same convenience for our guests," says Rachel.
"It's also a pet-friendly property with a fully fenced yard. This was so important to us, as we had always struggled ourselves to find rentals that allowed our dogs."
The vibe of quiet Brandy Lake is also exactly what you're looking for if you've struggled with booking rentals with lots of other large, loud groups disrupting the quiet of nature.
"The loudest sounds we hear in the summer are kids laughing and jumping off the nearby docks, with the occasional boat that goes by," says Rachel.
"It's important to us to find trustworthy renters who will respect our neighbours and other cottagers on the lake. Everyone deserves to enjoy some quiet time in nature. This is not a rental well suited to large groups who may be on the louder side, our vibe is more close friends and families cozied up by the firepit with a glass of wine."
Rates for different times of year are available to look up on Airbnb, where you can also book. While summer 2022 is all booked up and they haven't opened summer 2023 bookings yet, Rachel encourages anyone thinking of coming through to consider planning ahead for a magical fall or winter getaway.
"Fall and winter are our favourite times of year," says Rachel. "Fall colours, cool days spent out in the canoe, snowshoeing on the lake, etc., can't beat it."
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