What magic is there in the simplicity of a rustic Canadian cottage lifestyle embedded in experiences of nature? Fancy Free tends to have a remarkably therapeutic effect on people. Looking at the many comments in the guest book, it’s clear that for decades people have found the experience of living on Fancy Free Island, in a century-old house so close to the wilderness and on the water’s edge, very refreshing- even invigorating. Comments like “so great to recharge,” “the stresses of city life were forgotten by day two,” and “pure relaxation” crop up continually. The joy of a chance to reconnect with family and friends in a place away from urban tensions is also an enduring theme.
Whatever it is, Fancy Free does seem to create the condition for a sort of supreme tranquility that creates happiness and contentment, a feeling of being in the moment.
Is it the proximity to the water, sparkling from every window continually in the summer, lapping at the shoreline, swishing and booming on the island’s rock wall as strong waves from across the lake reach it on a windy day, accompanied by the cries of osprey, seagulls and terns as they fly across the channel? Is it the heightened sensation of the wind, so necessary to develop on an island when a boat is only means of egress? Is it the drenching sunshine and heat of a summer’s day that calls you to jump in the water and swim, or enjoy a quiet read on the hammock because it’s just too hot to do anything much?
Is it the quiet of the deep, dark nights, the sweep of brilliant stars and constellations across the sky so vividly clear you want to do nothing more than just lie on a dock on watch them move over the hours? The call of the loons across the lake or the owls in the mainland forest, the sounds that travel for miles because it’s just so quiet? The frogs and crickets that make their music near the docks after twilight has fallen? The fireflies twinkling in the bushes at the water’s edge in the dark?
Perhaps the cottage itself has been steeped in summertime vacation happiness so long that it’s somewhere in the walls, intangible but felt by all who enter.
Whatever it may be, we invite all Fancy Free-ers to make their own comments, in the guest book or to us directly, to describe their experiences and what it was that made their Fancy Free visit memorable.