Sep 27, 2010

Autumn – The Other Travel Season

My husband doesn’t like the heat, so we don’t get to Mexico very often. We are typically a paler shade of white, even during the summer months…and we are not overly fond of mosquitoes and their heftier relative, the horsefly. Where does this leave us? - with fond family memories of fall colours in all of their glory. That’s right, we travel in the autumn. I’m a true sucker for the crispy air, the cozy sweaters, and the children’s giggles as they throw leaves at one another.

As a couple without children, we typically traveled to Sudbury and Elliot Lake, our hometowns. We took day trips, hiked and frequented the last of outside pubs and cafes all across the Toronto and Chicago areas (where we lived pre-kiddies). We even did an autumn honeymoon in Whitehorse, in the Yukon! A little different, but remember my husband’s squeamishness to the sun? If you’re ever there, be sure to check out a free tour of the Yukon Brewing Company … and arrange for a designated driver (www.yukonbeer.com).

Now that we have two wee ones, I’m even more fond of vacationing at this time of the year. Guess what? No one gets a sunburn! With two toddlers, we’ve only ventured to Ottawa and surrounding towns so far; and just last weekend we were lucky enough to get back up to Elliot Lake for a long weekend. The fall colours were in full progression, we noticed shades deepen with each passing day. My son was genuinely surprised to see ‘pink’ trees! It was the perfect time to travel north of Barrie because the colours weren’t really present in Southern Ontario yet, and it was if we had fast-tracked the fall process for my curious three-year-old, who had been enquiring about the season at hand.

As always, we stayed at Dunlop Lake Lodge in Elliot Lake (www.dunloplakelodge.com). We were joined by family and friends the first day we arrived, as the lodge hosted a memorial service for my husband’s grandmother. It was a very special event which honoured the life of a spirited, proud and hard-working woman. It was made more special by the warm sunshine peaking through the lounge windows while we heard the recitation of ‘The Cremation of Sam McGee’, one of Grandma’s favourite poems. I looked out over pretty, painted treetops awash with jewel tones and remembered meeting her during our honeymoon in the Yukon.

The warmth of the day allowed for the gathering to move out onto the patio and deck following the service and lunch. Young and old mingled and shared memories of a strong mother; grandmother; sister; aunt. As the service concluded, my children migrated to the waterfront and adjoining gardens onsite. The kids enjoyed the weather, the waves and even a couple of four-wheeler rides that afternoon.

The following day, our immediate family joined the supporters and participants of the Terry Fox Run down at Westview Park on the shores of Elliot Lake (http://www.elliotlakestandard.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2768498) . We proudly watched my three-year-old son run his first Terry Fox Run on the 30th anniversary of the event. Again, the weather didn’t let us down and we enjoyed the event route and the adjoining playground at Westview Park that whole morning.

Monday morning came around too soon and we had to pack up and regrettably leave the panoramic beauty of the lodge. I wish we could stay on Dunlop Lake year-round. I wish we could dine at Paradise Found every night. I wish our family could spend a lifetime surrounded by autumn hues and hints of sunshine. I bet Grandma and Terry would feel the same.
***
By Tricia MacDonald

Aug 11, 2010

Personal Vacation Rental websites for free

We are offering personal vacation rental sites to the Rent Cottage Canada listing owners.

This is a limited time offer, so please SEND US AN INQUIRY NOW if interested (Provide your LISTING ID, or URL on Rent Cottage Canada)!

Your personal site will be based and hosted on blogspot.com (same as this blog is).


What we'll do for you:
  1. Reserve an unique site name on blogspot.com reflecting your rental property location and features
  2. Create the following pages on your site:
  • Our Cottage (the Cottage description) - including amenities, the floor plan and your YouTube video if available
  • Photos
  • Directions
  • Attractions (optional)
  • Pricing and Availability Calendar (optional)
  • Reviews (optional)
  • Contact us
3) Then we'll fill it in with the information from your listing on Rent Cottage Canada.We have created a sample site, so you could see how in general your site will look like:

http://sample-cottage-for-rent.blogspot.com/

or, here are some real sites created since we've sent out this offer:
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http://guysboroughoceanfrontcabin.blogspot.com/
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http://peacefulblisscottage.blogspot.com/
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http://haliburtontwelvemilelakecottage.blogspot.com/ 
http://greenbaycottage.blogspot.com/

4) We'll submit your site to all major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing)

5) We'll provide you a secured access to the site so you'll be able to post there anytime you want.

All changes made to your listing on Rent Cottage Canada (new photos, pricing changes, availability calendar etc) will immediately take affect on your site, so no extra maintenance required!

6) You will be able to begin marketing your property by your own with this site

7) Your listing at Rent Cottage Canada will automatically receive higher PageRank than it is now, so it will be displayed noticeably closer to the beginning of Cottage Finder search results list.

With a personal site created by Rent Cottage Canada you will have 
- no domain renewals
- no hosting expenses 
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- a wide choice of domain names, and much more

No EXTRA fees - the site will remain online for as long as you have a listing with Rent Cottage Canada and have on your new website Premium listing features, such as Unlimited Photos, Google Maps location, Four Season pricing, Points of Interest, Area Photos, Google local search, 12 Months Availability Calendar, FiveStar Review, Video clip, and more

Sorry, but we are currently serving PREMIUM TYPE LISTINGS ONLY.


Jul 31, 2010

Feedback~

My family and I, we like to think that we’re pros, wise to the game, so to speak. We vacation at cottages twice a year, every year. We never encounter any problems, and always leave with leftover fish, a sunny disposition, and positive feedback.

…Until about a week ago, when we got back from a cottage we rented out for a week. A few months beforehand, we were looking through personal cottage websites. This was our routine, what we always did. Most of our previous rentals were letter-perfect to their online versions. The ones that weren’t, we figured it wasn’t a big deal, that things change with age, that the owners of the cottage were probably a nice little old couple who just hadn’t gotten around to changing the website to match their aging cottage. But this time, it wasn’t just one little problem. It was as if someone directly followed a “What Not To Do” list perfectly, leaving not even the smallest detail unattended.

The website stated that the cottage is “a cottage like no other”. The d├ęcor was modern, very unique, very “in”. Or, at least, that’s how it would’ve been described if someone had bothered to dust the place once in a while. It was very unhygienic, absolutely filthy, and most definitely not safe for small children or allergenics. To my horror, dust wasn’t the worst thing to be found atop the bookshelves and behind the tv. There were spiders in each otherwise unoccupied corner, moths helplessly clunking against the lights and windows, and flies whose eternal buzzing could not be quelled even by the highest setting on my trusty electric bug swatter.

The basement was unfinished, so instead of a glamorous looking sauna and comfortable Japanese-style bed in the middle, there were bricks, cement, wooden planks, and tools, blanketed by a thick layer of dust. It reeked of mold, sawdust, and inadequacy. On the site, however, the basement was listed as finished. Huh. Interesting.

There was yet another thing missing: firewood. The cottage came equipped with an indoor fireplace and an outdoor fire pit, for campfires. There was no ready firewood for either. My father had to go into town, and buy it and later chop it by himself to get a nice hearty campfire started. Not too relaxing for what was supposed to be a vacation.

This utter lack of care doesn’t stop at the door, unfortunately. On the site, it said that there was a canoe and a paddleboat available for our enjoyment, free of additional charge. You couldn’t have paid me enough to get into those boats. When we flipped it over, we discovered a thick layer of scum on the seats, paddles, and back of the boat. Already disgusted, we anxiously flipped over the canoe. It didn’t look too bad. Just a stray spider in its web. When that was cleared away, we hurriedly put on our life jackets and pushed ourselves out onto the water. After a few minutes of smooth sailing, we hit a snag. I felt my feet getting wet, and to my disdain, I was stepping in a puddle! Which wouldn’t have happened if not for the minute hole on the bottom of the canoe. We rowed quickly back to shore, our tempers rising in time with the water level in the boat. As we sat down, I couldn’t help but notice the grime and bugs on the furniture itself. Out of two patio swings, four chairs, and a picnic table, the only relatively dirt-free area was the hammock.

When we’d had enough, we piled in the car and happily left the miserable place behind in the dust – no pun intended.

Once at home, I tried to figure out what went wrong, why wasn’t this search as successful as the others? Why was this cottage not worth the staggering $2000 we paid? The answer is this.

Dear cottage owners: if you’re going to advertise your cottage on a rental site, then please make sure that we, as renters, can leave you feedback. Believe you me, having the option to leave feedback shows that you are confident, truthful, and that what you see is what you get.

Maria, Mississauga, ON