Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Maple Bay Cottage

This is my favourite spot on earth. I have stayed here a few times while vacationing on nearby Vancouver Island.
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I found it on the Great Spots website. It is located in the small hamlet of Maple Bay, BC, about a 20 minute drive from Duncan, BC, and perhaps one hour's drive to Victoria, BC, my province's capital. They charge $800/wk (it was $700/wk the first time I went), so, it is a little more than a motel would cost as motels are in the $70-90/night range on the Island, but I made up for the difference by deciding to buy and cook my own food rather than eat out at restaurants, which saves around $35-40/day.
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I see they have taken out the hot-tub now on their website, but it was there the last few times I stayed in this spot. This is a guest cottage in front of the owner's main house, which they rent out on a nightly or weekly basis.
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The Old Dock
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The New Dock
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The owners were true to their word, and gave lots of privacy. Nice people. There were two bottles of wine waiting as a welcome gift, and the only times I seen them was when I was coming and going while they were in the back yard doing their chores, or if they needed to go somewhere in their boat... Well, and in the mornings and evenings when he set or checked his crab traps... but then, he brought a bowl full of barbecued crab to the door as a gift, so, what can you say except, "Nice of you to stop by!"?
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The cottage has one of them pole-style foundations, to compensate for the sloping landscape. The only complaint I have about this place is that these foundations need to be shimmed. Over the years they have settled and the cottage is just a shade off kilter - the one door, for example, is difficult to close.
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But, the pole foundation allows for it to be positioned in a difficult area while giving it the most spectacular of settings, almost hanging right over the ocean!
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Here's the now ex-hot-tub area on the other side.
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It was the deck out front that I fell in love with though.
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I spent all day here!
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There was always something happening on that deck.
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Whether otters or seals, blue herons or bald eagles, sailboats or tugboats (didn't see any whales, although I did see an orca pod while on the ferry), that deck was simply fascinating. I spent quite a few hours just sitting there with binoculars, soaking it up.
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A blue heron looking for fish.

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Jim Pattison, the richest man in BC, sailed by in his 150' yacht "Nova Spirit," but he didn't stop in to say hi. Snob!
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The Beer Drinkin' Chair.
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It has a Dutch Door off to the side, because as we all know, if you ain't Dutch, you ain't much!
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Wood heat. I wonder if a system like this could be integrated into this cottage. 
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This place was completely off the grid. Propane fridge and stove, and two solar panels with a few batteries stored beneath the cottage for lights. It worked good. I got a little tipsy one night and fell asleep without turning off the lights, and they were still burning brightly in the morning. There is a switch on the wall which starts up the generator (housed up-property in a shed) and, running it for an hour would heat up the hot-tub just nicely.
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This place didn't have laundry facilities, but I figure that the space where I have my cooler could easily house one of those "two in one" washing machines. Then, just fire up the generator for a couple hours, and do your laundry while also charging your batteries and heating your hot-tub... then, after all that hard work... aahhhh!
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This place actually used to be just a shed. The bathroom and bedroom were the shed, and the rest was built on after!
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If I were building a place like this, I think I would have left the area above the bathroom & bedroom as a loft, with a ladder. Just a place for extra storage, or an office, or a guest sleeping area.
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All in all, this is one of the most kick-ass little places I have ever seen. It is again in the 500-600sf range, which I like, and it is off-grid, which I really like. But, certainly, it is the location that sets this place off the charts. 

One thing that this place shows as well is the value you can derive for a property with such a little guest cottage. Even if you re-sell the place and the next owners build a big house, they may use the cottage just as this - to generate an income which offsets their mortgage payments.

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