Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Best “Room” in the House

Photo by Frank Micklethwaite

Welcome to the most important space at the cottage. When we’re not in or on the water, we’re relaxing on the expansive veranda, reading, writing letters, playing games, dining, and entertaining.  Like many others, our outdoor “room” encircles the main building, separating the kitchen and servants’ wing so that the rest of the cottage isn’t affected by the heat of the wood stove that has to be kept burning to boil water and cook meals. So there’s always a dry and breezy place to sit, even on wet days. We don’t spend much time indoors, except for evenings, especially when part of the veranda is screened against bothersome mosquitoes. The uniformed maid will be serving tea shortly. Won’t you join us?

Photo by Frank Micklethwaite
This is a quintessential picture of Edwardian Muskoka summer life, typical of the ethos of the era.

The following passage from The Summer Before the Storm takes place just weeks before this idyllic world is shattered by the outbreak of war:
“They lounged with practiced ease on white wicker chairs and rockers and chaise lounges on the broad, pine-boarded veranda that wrapped around the cottage. The youngest children, sitting side by side, swung lazily in the hammock that hung in the band-shell on the southwest corner. A silver tea service and plates of small sandwiches, thick scones, and rich cakes were set before them. To nourish the soul there was the stunning panorama of the lake - rocky islands adrift along miles of shimmering blue water. A few sailboats and the distant smoke from a steamship wafted across the horizon.” 

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