Please Don’t Say it’s Over!

Summer spent at the lake cottage is magical. But when the fall comes, we are always sad. Please don’t say it’s over.

Little Lake Cottage

It’s after Labor Day and all I have been thinking is, “where has the time gone?” How in the world is it September already? In an effort to extend summertime just a little longer, I thought I would share a little bit about our little summer cottage. It is located in northern Michigan on a private lake that must be one of the best kept secrets!

We purchased it in 2004 and have slowly been transforming it into the darling little getaway I have always had in my head. Over the years, we have moved across the country between California and Michigan. Back and forth a few times, my husband has urged me to ‘get rid of stuff’. Ever the collector, my response was “NO! I’m saving that for our someday cottage!”

Fast forward to today, the ‘little cottage that could’ is now the adorable place I have always dreamed of. We even have a white picket fence. Luckily, my husband trusts me and my decorating choices. He has not always understood them, but he gives two thumbs up.

Landscaping the Front Yard

As luck (good or bad) would have it, this spring northern Michigan experienced a ridiculously large snowstorm late in the season. Over night Mother Nature dropped 24 inches of snow. My neighbor called me with the news. Our beautiful 100 year old maple tree in the front yard had “lost a branch” in the storm.

It had luckily not hit the house but was laying across the driveway, so I wasn’t too alarmed. I thanked him and let him know we would be up some time in April to take care of it. Then the exterminator called me a few weeks later, warning me about the branch and I started to wonder. When we finally made it up north to open the cottage, my mouth dropped open. Branch? Hmmm, half the tree had come down and was completely blocking the entire driveway!

So the arborist was called in and we got the bad news, the whole tree would have to come down. The tree that the kids had climbed, the one with the swing that my son had made for his youngest sister and the site of many a photo shoot for her as she got older. This was a sad day.

the front of the cottage after the tree was removed. it needs something, don’t ya think?

Cute cottage

I firmly believe that when life hands you lemons, it’s much tastier to just make lemonade, so down the tree came  and the landscapers were called in. Losing the tree was almost like a death in the family. After a few interviews to find the right landscaper to see my vision, we chose the guy who got my ‘cute’ thoughts and set out on the transformation.

We were not at the house while all the work was being done so when they finished I sent him an email and asked, “Is it as cute as we thought it would be?” His response, “Yes, Jill. It’s totally cute!” Aaahhh, someone who gets me!


So here I am, trying to savor the warm days of summer still before autumn closes in on us and I find myself having to close the cottage for the season. I will take pictures of all the things I repainted this year and share those soon. But truly, my silver lining will be the gift that Mother Nature gave us in taking that beautiful maple tree away and sparing me the hours of raking leaves this fall! I will keep the rake in the garage and savor the summer that is now behind us and dream of all the memories we have made here. Until next year!

an overload of cute!


Check out this post about creating a dream home. And follow us on Pinterest for decorating inspiration.


Be happy, Jill



  1. Jill, your cottage is absolutely adorable; I’d want to stay there year round.  There’s something magical about waking up on water and even more so up north where it can be so relaxing.  

  2. When I was in junior high (aka middle school now), my family returned for three years to a lovely little lake house near Traverse City, MI. It was on Spider Lake. Don’t know if the lake was private, never thought about that part. I loved taking the row boat out and exploring all the little islands in the middle. I have fond memories of the place. Most people where I lived and grew up (suburbs outside of Wash. DC) had no idea where Spider Lake was or why we’d drive 2 days to get to Michigan just to go to a lake. I think we found the place from a friend of a friend of a relative who usually didn’t rent the place. Your photos reminded me of that. I’ll have to dig up some photos of those days cooking out by the lake and swimming out to the floating dock to sunbathe.

  3. Bungalow 47 says:

    I will! Thank you!

  4. Hey Jill,

    Have you ever heard of the children’s book, A Tree Named Steve?  lOVE it, even though I cried the first 15 times I read it!  It is about a family who has to deal with the loss of their beloved tree.  So many memories.  You should check t out!

    Super cute cottage!


  5. What a beautiful cottage!  I love the new “landscaping”!!  And kudos to Lizzy for the awesome shots!

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