October 31, 2018

The Vintage Appeal of Muskoka

There are dozens of reasons for an escape to North America’s premier lakes district. Muskoka is home to pristine lakes, absorbing history, limitless relaxation and stimulation, and unparalleled cottages. Muskoka District Rentals is the #1 luxury full-service cottage rental agency in the province. With extravagant Muskoka cottages throughout the district and full concierge services, it’s easy to see why our properties fill up at a supersonic rate. Take a trip back in time on your next visit to the district. The city of Bala, in particular, is a nostalgic escape for those aching for an afternoon of history, antiquing, fine wine, and succulent cuisine.

Historic Bala
Muskoka is overflowing with history, and the small village of Bala is an ideal day trip locale for those spending a week in one of our striking Muskoka cottages. Named after Bala, Wales, and founded in 1868, the village is a year-round tourist hub. The humble downtown has bygone homes and businesses preserved through the decades. Dunn's Pavilion, now known as The Kee, has seen some of the 20th century's prominent musicians take their stage, including Louis Armstrong and Chubby Checker.

Bala’s Museum
Bala’s Museum is a must-see for tourists of all ages. The museum is the former summer vacation home of famed Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery, best known for her eight-book “Anne of Green Gables” series. The museum has an “Ann shrine,” particularly popular among Japanese tourists. After World War II, “Anne of Green Gables” was inserted into the Japanese curriculum to help students learn the English language.

1920s Bala: A Day in the Life
Many visitors come dressed in 1920s outfits, have lunch at the Castle Blue (named after Montgomery’s 1926 novel “Blue Castle,” set in Muskoka), and cruise through town in antique motor cars. They finish the evening with a wine tasting at Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh and dinner complete with 1920s recipes. The perfect way to end a day in Bala is inside our lavish Birchwood at Bala lake cottage. Birchwood has high-end finishes and appliances, choice lake access, breathtaking porches, and a large fire pit by the water’s edge. All other Muskoka cottages pale in comparison.

Show Skiing: A Lost Art
Show skiing, which began in the 1940s, is a lost art in North America. Once a widespread phenomenon, show skiing has lost its luster for some but certainly not all. Summer Water Sports , based in Muskoka, is proud to perform four nights a week during the summer months. The outfit makes their way through Minett, Bala, Gravenhurst, and Severn Bridge. The engaging performances last one hour and are entirely free.

Annual Bala Cranberry Festival
Start planning your fall getaway to Muskoka now. The yearly three-day Bala Cranberry Festival is the area’s premier fall event with two live music stages, pontoon rides, markets, petting zoo, and busloads of deliciously tart cranberries. Our Classic Muskoka Family Cottage is minutes away from the festival by boat. This sparkling family lake cottage is ideal for those aiming to cruise the lake district in search of bright colours. The cottage itself is on a stunning plot, has a massive deck, and has a beautifully repurposed canoe hanging in the great room.

19th Century Cranberry Radler in Torrance
From Bala, embark on a brisk five-kilometer drive down 169 to Clear Lake Brewing Company for the best craft beer in Muskoka. Clear Lake offers a refreshing cranberry Radler, initially popularized by 19th-century recreational cyclists. Their American IPA is a piney, tropical libation worth revisiting. Clear Lake Brewing is a short trek from breathtaking Sanctuary on Lake Muskoka , one of our prized properties. Sanctuary has stunning lake views from the deck, the best lake house in the province, and a charming, flawless interior.

Antiquing in Gravenhurst
After getting a glimpse of the unique relics at Bala’s Museum and imbibing a pint of craft beer at Clear Lake, take an antique walking tour of Gravenhurst. Gravenhurst is home to the district’s best antique shops. The Gypsy Market Mews houses upcycled antiques, art, collectibles, and home decor, all made by local artists—it will be difficult to walk out empty-handed. Currie’s Music and Antiques have the area’s most extensive collection of retro vinyl and Muskoka-themed archives. Muskoka Retro is a diamond in the rough because of their wide variety of repurposed antiques. You’ll find an ideal family cottage south of Gravenhurst on Kahshe Lake . This secluded cottage lies on tranquil Kahshe Lake and is perfect for nature lovers as otters, owls, loons, and herons frequent the water, trees, and land.

Muskoka Cottages
A vintage trip to the intoxicating Muskoka District is exactly what your family or group needs. We have an exceptional variety of rentals from Foot’s Bay to the Blue Mountains . Our luxurious full-service cottage rentals are immaculate, grand, and comfortable. Visit our website for a list of luxurious accommodations .