Everyone needs a place to get away from it all.
For me, that place was my grandparent’s cottage in Muskoka.
Muskoka, for those of you who aren’t Canadians or cottagers, is the quintessential wildness/getaway place. It’s been painted and visited and touristed since the late nineteenth century and made famous by the Group of Seven. In a nutshell, lots of granite rocks. Ice blue lakes. Big stands of trees. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.
Toss in a few shiny celebrities and million dollar four-season retreats, a smattering of skidoos and as many long weekends as possible and voila – you have Muskoka.
Except that the cottage I went to wasn’t like that. It wasn’t big. It wasn’t winterized. It wasn’t fancy or trendy or anything much at all. Just three small bedrooms, a common room with an enormous granite fireplace and in the loft above, a steep pitched roof you invariably bumped your head on. For a long time, there was no TV, only a radio, a dart board and some really old board games that were always missing a few crucial pieces.
But the view was incomparable and I visited every summer from the time I was a small infant. I learned to swim in the lake and helped my grandmother fill the hummingbird feeders. I fished with my grandfather and explored every nook and cranny of the surrounding area. My dad taught me to canoe there. And now, with kids of my own, we go every summer to terrorize the fish and pick raspberries along the roadside and eat licorice on the dock.
Everyone needs that place. A place where they can simply escape and be themselves.
So I suppose it’s hardly surprising then that I set my latest book, “Something So Right” in Muskoka, too. After all, Lily Carver, the heroine, has a real need to escape. Leaving a horribly toxic relationship, Lily craves safety and she finds it in the North with her childhood friend, Sam Denning. But she learns that living in a retreat doesn’t mean you can go on holiday from your life or your emotions. Where ever you go, try as you might, they go with you.
Sam and Lily have a space to get away (fictionally speaking :)) where they can start to explore the sparks that might turn their friendship into something more. Where do you go to get away from it all? To recharge and reconnect? Do you have a special place that holds memories like the cottage? What place is it and why?
Elyse Mady is the author of “Something So Right”, “Learning Curves” and “The Debutante’s Dilemma”, all with Carina Press. Upcoming books include “The White Swan Affair” (2012). She blogs at www.elysemady.com. You can also find her on Twitter at @elysemady and Goodreads.
In addition to her writing commitments, Elyse also teaches film and literature at a local community college. In her free time she enjoys (well, enjoys might be too strong a word – perhaps pursues with dogged determination would be better) never ending renovations on their century home with her intrepid husband and two boys.
With her excellent writerly imagination, she one day dreams of topping the NY Times Bestseller’s List and reclaiming her pre-kid body without the bother of either sit-ups or the denunciation of ice-cream