White Pine Vista Cottage gets a new look!

In order to keep our Vacation Rental homes in renting condition we know that we occasionally need to replace & update key items.  These are often mechanical things that you wouldn’t necessarily notice but are essential to ensure you have a solid cottage in good working order to host your family vacation.

I always wanted that ‘picture perfect’ beautifully decorated lake house or waterfront cabin…. it was never in the budget to gut our White Pine Vista cottage and make it the cover of House & Home Magazine…. but that’s what I wanted to do…. so we compromised!  I spent several years collecting nautical themed items, going through cottage magazines & websites for ideas and then I made almost everything myself  – kept the cost low & here’s how I did it!


….. as you can see we aren’t going to win any design awards….at least not this decade! LOL


… granted, we still aren’t going to win any decorating awards but it looks much better!  For cheap & cheerful wall art, I picked up some large planks of wood at Home Depot.  I painted canoe paddles on them in bright colours and then distressed them to give it them that reclaimed piece of wood charm.  Total cost of the paddles wall art was less than $15 for all three!

NEW VALANCES ~ I picked up this nautical themed fabric in the clearance bin at Fabricland a few years ago, the grommets were also from a clearance bin at Len Mills and the rods were old ones we took out of our own home when I made custom box pleated valances… I love the large wooden rods and I am glad they are re-purposed here at our cottage.  TOTAL cost of each valance was less than $7.00


Master Bedroom… it wasn’t horrible before


… but I now LOVE it.  I just painted the walls a warm colour, added some cottage artwork and an orr… you ALWAYS see orrs used in cottage magazines as decorations.  Usually, vintage orrs are REALLY expensive but I hunted around and got this little guy for $5 and since I already had the cottage art this room was super cheap!


second master bedroom…boooooorrring!


… we couldn’t afford to spent hundreds of dollars on new headboards so I used a little creativity and made these headboards out of beadboard and old trim I had laying around in the garage…for years my husband has been asking me to clean out the garage and get rid of odds & ends… i just couldn’t part with perfectly good lumber so I am thrilled to have made it into something….and clean out my garage at the same time!

I made the wall art using old pieces of wood in our garage & I painted just the sides of this book shelf to give it a hint of nautical without being too over powering…. just kidding, I painted only the sides because that’s all the ‘left over’ paint I had in the garage…hahahhaa.  TOTAL price of this room was about $15 for the beadboard and $6 for the sisal used for the wooden buoys on the books shelf = about $21


…. this room was always so basic and boring


… I used the other half of the beadboard for this headboard and remnant fabric for curtains & fish pillow…about $20 for this room.

This project had it’s challenges~ it’s always a gamble buying fabric for projects that haven’t been dreamt up yet and never easy to pick out paint colours when your not in the room or worse a 7 hour drive away!  I had to use plumbing and electrical supplies as curtain rod holders and borrow a neighbours sewing machine when I arrived and mine machine that I dragged all the way up there, didn’t work….but it all worked out and I look forward to my NEXT decorating project!

Manitoulin Island Restaurants

Manitulin Island is truly a special place and so are the restaurant hours.  We suggest that you always call the restaurant to confirm that they will be open for the date and time you are hoping to head out.  Many restaurants are run by a family and the family wants to have some nights off so it is important to call before you assume that a restaurant will be open.  It would take me a few hours every year to sort out what is open when.  Having said that there are a number of restaurants open year round.  Here is a descent list of restaurants on the island.

From our personal experience, for more upscale:

Garden’s Gate – far side of Mindemoya from our cottage,

Hwy 542 & Smeltzers Rd

Tehkummah, Ontario P0P 2C0, Canada

  • (705) 859 -2088
  • www.manitoulin-island.com/gardensgate/

    School House

    46 McNevin St
    Providence Bay, ON P0P 1T0
    (705) 377-4055


    Royal Michael’s Bay Restaurant

    221 Pennie Ave., in the township of Tehkummah, Ontario



    We’ve had great meals at all of the above places.


    For fast/pub style food:

    Buies’s in Spring Bay – BBQ in the summer

    50’s Dinner in Mindemoya

    Mom’s in Mindemoya – especially for a ‘greasy spoon’ style breakfast

    There are more places that are decent but we find ourselves going back to the above places if we want to grab a quick bite out.


    There is a native american restaurant in M’Cheeging (West Bay).  The name escapes me at the moment though.  It is on a side road and they have a good weekend buffet breakfast and apparently good dinners but definitely call ahead as it took us a number of times to find a time that we wanted to go and they were open.


    While not a restaurant I personally think that Farquhars is the world’s best ice cream.  I’m constantly striving to find better but I haven’t been successful and I’ve done a decent job of North America, and Europe.  It is creamy which isn’t everyone’s favourite but worth trying, you may add it to your favourite list.


    Misery Bay Nature Reserve & beach

    Do NOT let the name fool you… Misery Bay is a wonderful 1005 hectare provincial park and is located about an hour drive from our cottage and is a great way to spend a with the friends and family.   There are hiking trails, beaches, a board walk and more. 

    This is the Misery Bay Visitor & Interpretive Centre, it’s only open from May 24 weekend to September long weekend.  Washrooms are located inside.   Trail maps (below)are located in boxes all year long.

    The first time we visited this park we hiked the Forest Trail which takes you to the most amazing large rare rock called alvar.  

     A few years later my mom, aunt & me spent a girls weekend up at our cottage.  I remembered the amazing rock “beach” so I tried to take them there (……but I am not good at reading maps! and I am directionally challenged!), so we took the Lakeshore Trail to the wolf den trail…and to my surprise we ended up at this WONDERFUL beach! 

    While we were hanging out at this beach we watched a pair of bald eagles soaring above the beach.

    And on our way out of the trail we spotted a couple of Snowshoe Hares… this is a rather blurry photo of the smaller of the two we spotted.  There are a few of these rabbits on our property and in the winter they turn white!  Often spotted by the fire wood shed.

     Misery Bay is a wonderful place to take a picnic and hang out for the day – REMEBER TO PACK IN & PACK OUT your trash because there is no garbage collection on the beach.

    Our Favorite Restaurants on Manitoulin Island


    Homemade Breakfast sandwich and fresh brewed coffee at the Teepee take out in near the Ferry Dock

    A variety of fare is available on the Island and most of it is homemade!  Here is our top restaurant list… in no particular order – although they all have their own distinct charm and a favourite item or meal I look forward to ordering!

    TEEPEE TAKE-OUT – located near the ferry dock in South Baymouth this small Take out counter is a perfect place to get a pizza made to order or a sub with a fresh homemade bun – but my favourite… maybe it’s because this place is on the way home and if you take an early ferry it’s very convenient – is the home made breakfast sandwich that is made to order and is delicious with a cup of fresh brewed coffee.  Eat in their internet cafe, outside picnic area or take it to go! 

    ROUTE 50… BAR & GRILL – located 2236, Hwy 551 in Mindemoya,( 705) 377-7040
    with a 1950’s atmosphere and generous portions this restaurant is a regular one for us.   I always get a greek salad for a starter here! 

    THE SCHOOL HOUSE RESTAURANT 46 McNevin St. Providence Bay, 705 377-4055
    Located in a century-old elementary schoolhouse, this restaurant offers elegant dining in a casual setting. We have come here to celebrate Larry’s Birthday!

    MUM’S RESTAURANT & BAKERY – Located in downtown Mindemoya 2217 Hwy. 551 (705) 377-4311
    casual diner atmosphere and homemade baked goods. We like this place for breakfast!

    THE ISLAND PUB Manitoulin Island – located downtown Mindemoya 6089 Hwy. 542 (705) 377-4205
    the Island Pub is open daily year round and is a real birgers and fires joint! There is always a game on the tv and your fav beer on tap! Even Saturday night karaoke. Free wireless Internet access is also available to customers.

    THE COFFEE SHOP Mindemoya 9310 Hwy.542 (705) 377-6099
    The Coffee Shop, located in Mindemoya, offers specialty coffees and teas and some baked goods to best coffee in town and it also has wifi!

    GARDEN’S GATE Family Restaurant – located Highway 542 Tehkummah 705 859-2088
    This restaurant offers fresh food that is locally produced and prepared with care. My fav is the Portobello mushroom burger. We have been coming here to celebrate Laurie’s birthday for a few years now! It’s always a special dinner!

    TWIN BLUFFS Gore Bay (705) 282-2000
    Home baked bread, rolls and a variety of desserts daily… this place has really good food!

    If you are visiting off-season (between October and May) I suggest calling ahead to make sure the restaurant is open.  Some places shut down for the winter and others stay open but only seat people until 8 or 9pm.   

    Bon Appetit! 


    Deer on the Island

    Deer coming out of a clearing
    Deer coming out of a clearing
    It is estimatated that there are approximately 30,000 deer on Manitoulin Island.  That’s a LOT of deer considering there are only 10,000 year round residence.   Over the years we have seen many deer on our property and out while driving around.  We spotted this one coming out of a clearing about to cross the road.  Manitoulin island is over 2,766 square km (that’s  1,068 sq miles for our American Friends).   you can see the Deer's shadow as she jumps through the snow
    you can see the Deer’s shadow as she jumps through the snow

    Osprey Nest on Manitoulin Island

    Osprey Nest on telephone pole

    We found this nest on a telephone pole close to a bridge near Lake Wolsey (Gore Bay twp) in October 2008 and the Osprey was still living in it then – likey getting ready to move south for the season.


    Ospreys eat fish almost exclusively.  So when the lakes freeze over they head south.  Unlike bald eagles which have been spotted all year round on Manitoulin Island.

    Municipality of Central Manitoulin Boat Launches

    All public boat launches are free to use.  Please be courteous and ensure that others have easy access to the launch of you are parking a vehicle near the launch.

    Big Lake – at Highway 542 where it meets the lake on the North West side.

    Kagawong Lake – Perivale Road West, South West, shortly after Perivale Road branches to Perivale Road West, and Perivale Road East, across from the Penticostal Camp.
    This is the closest public boat launch to our vacation rental cottages.  The launch is less than 5 minutes south of the cottages by car and about the same by boat/motor.

    Lake Huron – at the south end of Providence Bay at the Wharf.

    Lake Manitou – at the Sandfield Government Dock.

    Lake Mindemoy – at the Mindemoy Government Dock.

    Windfall Lake – on Dial Road

    Providence Bay Beach, Interpretive Centre

    In Providence Bay there is the Harbour Centre located at the beach.  It is open from the end of June until the end of August.  Inside is a restaurant, Interpretive Centre, and public washrooms.

    Tennis Courts/Skateboard Park

    There are two public use tennis courts and a skateboard park located behind the Municipality of Central Manitoulin municipal office on highway 542 in Mindemoya (approx. 20 minutes away from our vacation rental cottages)

    When a Porcupine falls in the forest

    One day on his morning walk in the forested area behind our Manitoulin Island cottage Larry came across a low tree branch with tons of porcupine needles sticking straight up in the air, but no sign of a naked porcupine. 

    taken on our property where a porcupine fell out of a tree
    That's me (Laurie) getting my picture taken with the porcupine needles.

    We looked it up on the Internet and it’s not ununusual for a porcupine to fall out of a tree.  They are a little greedy, and don’t know their own weight, so they will climb right out on the far edges of a tree to get the more tender leaves.  Sometimes the tree limb can no longer support them and they fall. 

    Since then we have seen porcupines up in trees (mostly in the late fall when the trees are bare). 

    Safety Note: unlike the old wive’s tale, porcupines can’t actually shoot thier quills.  You have to touch the animal for it’s quills to release, so don’t try to pet one!!  They are not agressive animals and will usually wander away from you.

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