Muskoka and Almaguin Area Cottage Rentals           

Cottager's Guide

A must read before departing for the cottage:

There are some things you don't know about Cottage Life that we want you to be aware of before you are in the thick of it...

Hydro Outages: Often in Northern Ontario the hydro does go out and sometimes it is out for a bit. Unfortunately Amy and I do not have control over this even though we wish we did. Like you our hydro is most likely out and we all just have to roll with the punches. You may call us to let us know the hydro is out and we can call Ontario Hydro in case they are unaware of the problem in your area.

In the event that the hydro does go out please DO NOT USE THE WATER…this includes flushing the toilets, running any of the sinks and anything that uses water. If you do then there is a chance the pump will continue to run and can burn out. In this situation you would be held responsible for the replacement of the pump and can be quite costly along with furthering the time before you have use of water again as we will have to have it serviced. You can go down to the lake and get water in buckets or whatever will hold water and use this to force a flush in the toilet. So pour it down the toilet and it will flush with the pressure of the water.

We do not have generators at our cottages so if the hydro is out for a couple of days you have to take the appropriate steps to make sure your food stays good. Keep your fridge and freezer closed at all times and if you have to open do it as quickly as possible only to grab what you need. This will keep the cold air in the fridge/freezer. Although at some point it is a good idea to get some ice from the store and put things of concern on ice in a cooler. According to our experience your fridge should keep things cold if you don't open very often for about 24-36 hours and your freezer for about 72 hours. Lots of different variable affect those estimated time frames so don't hold us to it if we are off by a few hours.

If all else fails and roughing it isn’t your thing then we suggest slipping to Huntsville Home Depot to pick up a generator for rent which runs about $50.00/day. You can buy a couple of extension cords and plug in the necessities like the fridge to keep your food cold.

There are some things you don't know about Cottage Life that we want you to be aware of before you are in the thick of it...

1) All cottages are on Septic Systems: put plainly they are not like town services in any way shape or form!! There are special instructions on what you can and can't do with a Septic System and they are as follows: Only flush when absolutely necessary, use small amounts of toilet paper and never flush sanitary napkins or any personal hygiene products down the toilet. 

2) Most cottages water supply comes from a well that is situated somewhere on the property. This means that water is not considered an endless supply by any means. If we are having a dry summer then obviously there is less water so please conserve whenever possible because it is not fun to run a well dry!! Stagger your showers as well as utilize the lake for a freshening up ( no soap or shampoo can be used in the lake!!) Do not overuse the water or you can be held responsible if you are at fault. That means if you have a washing machine, dishwasher, 3 bathrooms and 10 people don't use all of the above amenities all of the time and don't try to shower all of those people because you are bound to run out. It can be a costly repair if you burn out the pump which can happen if you drain the well as well as plumbing issues in the cottage once the well does fill back up. Please remember to be conservative and have a talk with all people involved in your group so everyone is aware and works together to save on water.

3) Something that many people don't know about the north is that we rarely get channels on our T.V.'s unless we have satellite T.V. so if you like to kick back and watch T.V. you might want to think about bringing some videos or DVD's depending on what electronics are included with the cottage. There is a chance that during your stay you might encounter bad weather ( always keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't happen!!) but just in case be prepared with games, cards and whatever else you think could entertain your family.

4) Please treat the Cottage as if it were your own which means take your shoes off at the door when you come in, hang wet towels up outside, encourage your group to eat at the table so there is less chance for spills and possible damages, keep screen doors closed, close up all windows upon departing, lock the doors when you are away from the cottage, respect all electronics by using a gentle hand, use kitchen utensils as you would use them at home ( i.e. don't use kitchen spatula's or kitchen pots for barbeque ), don't use non microwaveable stuff in the microwave, etc...I could go on and on but just use the cottage as you would use your own home. Respect it as if it where your own investment!

5)Damage: We would like to ask for complete honesty from our renters regarding the issue of damage!! If you spill Red Wine on a white carpet we expect to hear about it mid week right when it happens so that it can be dealt with rather then overlooked. If you damage one of the watercrafts we expect you to report this to us so we can have it repaired for the renters to follow your vacation ( it is only fair that it be in working order for them). If you damage something that is quickly replaceable at Wal-mart then we would encourage you to go into town and replace the item and also mention it so that we can pass the info onto the owners just in case it is a little different then their original item. Things happen and when they do then we fix it but the only way we can do that is if we are told about it. You are responsible to report any damage that happens during your stay at the cottage. If it is not what we consider to be wear and tear on the cottage you may be charged for replacement or repair but your upfront honesty about it will go a long way when we are discussing with owners.

6) Departing the cottage: We ask that you leave the cottage as close to the way you found it as possible taking into consideration that we do have a cleaning company come into the cottage between rentals. If you leave the cottage in a disaster then you can be expected to be charged a cleaning fee out of your security deposit. Basic tidying is what we recommend before departing and please make sure your garbage has been removed from the property or an additional garbage removal fee will be charged from your security deposit. 

7) Bugs: Please be advised that we do have bugs in the north and they include black flies in late May and for most of June and then the Mosquitoes come out for most of June and July. During the middle of July the Horseflies and Deer fly's make there way out and then depending on weather August is usually the least amount of bugs. Be aware that at dusk is the worst time for mosquitoes and on an overcast rainy day they are bad. The hotter the better because it usually keeps the bugs away. Be prepared and come equipped with bug repellent, citronella candles, mosquito jackets, etc...Make sure you get the right stuff for adults and kids as far as repellent goes because some are not good to use on kids skin. Make sure you keep screen doors closed at all times unless you want to be fitting the mosquitoes off all night.

Wasps Nests: There is a chance that you will come across a wasps nest while at the cottage. Please do not panic just locate it and then look around the cottage and you might find  wasp Raid. If not you will have to take a trip to the closest store to purchase. Then in the evening once all of the wasps have entered the nest you spray the nest and it will kill them all. Do not do it in the day as none of them will be in the nest.

8) Fires: Some cottages are equipped with a fire pit and allow campfires. That being said you have to check with the local ministry to make sure there is no fire ban on the area that you are visiting. Normally you will see a sign on the side of the road as you are getting close to the cottage area and it will give you details about the level for that area. ex. it might say Low-Moderate which means you are probably good to have a fire but if it says Extreme then absolutely no fires. If you have a fire and it is in the time period where there is an extreme warning against fires and you are caught there are serious fines given out by the Ministry. Please respect our Northern land when having campfires!! Once you have found out fire status in the area and you are ready to have a fire make sure that the area around the pit is safe and that you have gone over all safety issues with kids and adults alike, last but not least make sure you put a fire out properly with lots of water and don't leave it burning unattended.

  Some cottages do not allow fires and if that is the case Do Not make a fire pit and have one anyway or you can lose your entire security deposit and be asked to leave. This also applies to anyone that decides to make another fire pit on the property other than the one provided just because the one that is already there isn't in a convenient place for you. 

9) Do not cut down any trees on the cottage property or remove any bark as it will kill the tree. It is important to respect all aspects of the cottage and that includes it's trees. 

10) Garbage /Bears/Raccoons: We have Bears, Raccoons and all sorts of wildlife living around the cottages. If you leave your garbage outside overnight you will attract the bears and raccoons. They will tear open the garbage and make a real mess so it is best to keep your garbage indoors overnight and take it to the dump mid week or as often as possible so that you aren’t keeping it around the cottage. At night don’t leave any low windows open or main doors as the raccoons and bears might try to get into the cottage to get at the garbage or food they can smell.

11) Keeping the cottage as cool as possible: At night open the windows that are not low (or you will attract the raccoons) and let the cottage get as cool as possible. Then in the morning close the curtains, all windows along with the doors and you will keep the cottage as cool as possible.

12) Mice and Cottage Country: In cottage country we have mice in our homes /cottages and it is a very natural part of the cottage experience. Unfortunately due to our mild winters our mouse population along with other rodent families have exploded and we are dealing with an over abundance of mice, rabbits and other small animals. Long story short you might see mice during your stay, you might hear them in the walls and ceilings of the cottage and if you set traps you will catch them. I would suggest bringing some traps with you in case there are none in the cottage and use cheese or peanut butter on the trap. We have had feedback from the renters and homeowners that they have seen and caught some mice. We just want you to be prepared. This is not in the control of the owners or us unfortunately and if we all work together and keep the traps set then we will stay on top of the problem. It might be a good idea to keep your dry goods in a cooler so that the mice can’t get into it. You might also see mouse droppings in different areas depending on where they are hanging out in the cottage so just keep that in mind.

13) Boat safety: You are required by law to have a boat safety kit in all watercraft including non- motorized watercraft. You are also required to have a life jacket on board for each person that is in the watercraft. Please ensure you follow these rules or you can be subject to a $250.00 + fine from the police if they stop you on the water

Please make sure that you read over everything that is provided to you by Northern Retreats and the owners so that you are prepared for your trip up north. Ask questions as they come up and lets try and get all questions answered before you depart for the cottage so that it is just straight relaxing from the time you arrive on. 



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