Our Pipe Dream; savouring the nostalgia

As a child, I spent nearly every weekend in the beautiful tiny city of St-Donat Quebec some 3 hours north east of my home. In the winter I learned to ski and snowmobile while in the summer I spent lazy days with my father on the lake learning to fish and admiring the peaceful beauty of the woods that surrounded us.


Icy back road heading to the lake

With a population of just over 4 thousand most of which are seasonal residents, St-Donat has that small town feel where you’re guaranteed to see a familiar face when strolling through their small city center.


St-Donat city Center with views of the mountain.

Early in our relationship Mer and I went up there on a drive date to pick up a pie. St-Donat has this tiny convenience store hidden behind thick brush off the auto-route that sells the most delicious blueberry pie I’ve ever eaten. It’s one of these places that you’d likely never stop to visit let alone believe could bake such decadent pies out of wild blueberries harvested from the surrounding area. As a child, we’d pick one up every Friday evening as we cruised up the winding auto route to our cottage and enjoy our special treat throughout our 2 day stay in the woods – this is probably one of my all time favorite childhood memories.

After my parents divorce, the cottage was sold and I didn’t get the pleasure to visit  again until that day Mer and I made our way up for pie.

I’d spent weeks speaking so highly of the area and was actually quite nervous that Mer would think I was nuts when he laid eyes on this tiny snowy town. Would he also fall in love with the place that was responsible for creating some of my best childhood memories?

We drove with a steaming pie in his backseat to see my childhood cottage. It wasn’t fancy, a wooden Canadiana with red shutters that sat on an awkwardly shaped plot of land and surrounded by thick woods. By that time the home was really starting to show its age but I couldn’t help but be transported back in time;  I saw past the discolored siding and unglued shingles, in my eyes it hadn’t really changed at all. I’m sure he didn’t get it – but the nostalgia I felt filled me with so much happiness.


A Canadiana with its sloped roof thanks to getty images.

I told him then and there that one day I’d love to return to my beloved St-Donat and let my children experience the same joy I did. Little did I know that that  journey would be far more difficult than I ever imagined and that nearly 15 years later I’d be married to the man who ate pie with me that day on the side of snowy highway with a plastic spoon.

Lately, I’ve been drawn to perusing real estate listing in the area. Mer and I have oohed and awed at the beauty of some of these homes and imagine what it might be like to own one of these beautiful properties ourselves one day.

This is absolutely a pipe dream since we’re in no financial position to take on a second property but through our perusing we’ve fallen in love with a second blue house. This property really pulls at our heart strings and I’ve caught myself checking in on it daily for the last week or so.

Isn’t she a beaut?


The listing says she was built in 1975. She’s a 5 bedroom, 1 bath lakefront property sitting on just over 15 000 square feet of land. Her interior is quaint – featuring a wood stove, large windows that let in tons of sunlight, sloped ceilings and gorgeous wood detailing. And, the view. Oh my gosh, that view!

If you’re interested in viewing the listing – it’s available here. (There are quite a few photos of the interior if you’re curious)

I can just imagine Margs growing up spending her summers and winters there-playing on the grass and swimming in the lake just like I did some 25 years ago. At a whopping $499 000 this is clearly not something we could realistically afford  but it is nice to dream.

Mer and I both agreed that at some point we’d like to invest in a second property. Most likely a second property would be an investment property with rental units because we feel it’s the wisest investment of our money. I can’t help but wonder though if owning a beautiful property like the one above could one day become a reality if we create a plan to invest in revenue property here and then in 10-15 or even 20 years use our earnings to purchase a lake house. My gears have been turning non stop since we starting playing with the idea, I’ve been calculating and recalcalculating to get an idea of what exactly we’d need to do to get us to this goal and although my estimates are extremely rudimentary I think one day it could be possible. Margs might not be the one able to spend her childhood there but perhaps her children could.

For now though we’ll make it a point to bring our daughter up there yearly. We’ve been heading back for day trips and picnics on the beach in the summer since that snowy day we ate pie. Last year we skipped our yearly trip because we’d just moved and had a tiny Margs who didn’t do well with long drives. This year we’re planning to continue on with our tradition with our toddler in tow – I’m so incredibly grateful I’ll have the opportunity to show Margs a place that holds such a special place in my heart.

We may not be able to purchase that property but it’s so nice to get lost in our dreams sometimes isn’t it?

What are some of your pipe dreams? Do share!




Author: Jenny

I'm Jenny, a 30-something mama to 1 living child and 5 angels. I live in a tiny blue cottage in a small suburb outside a major Canadian city. I live here with my miracle baby Margs, my husband Mer, my pup and my 2 cats. I blog about a bunch of different things including parenting, frugal living and minimalism. Feel free to subscribe to my blog and follow me on instagram, twitter or bloglovin.

37 thoughts on “Our Pipe Dream; savouring the nostalgia”

  1. I spent a lot of time on farms with my great uncles and, despite growing up in town, farms always feel like home to me. My husband grew up in a rural community and he feels the same. Our hope is to retire (hopefully a little earlier than norm – but that may be the pipe dream part…) in or around the Annapolis Valley region in Nova Scotia. Close enough to family, but outside the city where I can enjoy the peaceful views and wide open spaces.


  2. We visited Quebec last fall and FELL IN LOVE!!! It was seriously one of the few places that could tempt us to move from our beautiful island (but changing countries is probably not going to happen). We want to buy a second property one day too. A small rental, maybe on the water, to use as an income rental and then maybe a retirement place. Matt is gaining so many remodeling skills that a fixer would be a really ideal purchase for us. Ah, the dream 🙂 but I if you don’t dream and plan, they will NEVER happen!


      1. We spent 4 days based out of Mile End in Montreal. Lots of biking and public transportation to explore the city. Then 6 days in Quebec City. We rented a car two days and drive up the river stopping at little towns along the way, and then took a day to go northwest out into farm county. BEAUTIFUL! We really loved the whole trip. Lots of photos on my Instagram if you scroll back to early October 🙂 @vashonturtle


  3. What a beautiful house in a beautiful place! Definitely one to daydream about. I love taking my kids to places that hold my childhood memories, I’m sure your little one will love that place as much as you do


  4. Loved your post! Your St-Donat is my Nantucket. My family never bought, but we were there every summer growing up. I’ve taken my Daughter Madi most every year. Rented the same place for 12 years until Brenda sold it last year. : ( She will grow up with very fond memories of “The Mermaid”. …and we’ll be back to another. Renting is not so bad. Buying The Mermaid? On Nantucket?? HA! It went for 2.5 mil!


  5. I can see why you love it so much, it shines in your post.
    Me & my husband are talking of owning a small holding. Somewhere close to town, I’m not sure it exists in our price range but we can all hope & dream.


  6. I love the fact that even though you can’t have your dream home right now, you still take Margs up there to visit. There is a place that my sister and I went to one time where the owners of the cottage on the water would rent out their place to people, a week at a time, to help with the cost of the property. They had bedsheets and books and everything that they use when they go up there to stay, and you just use all that stuff and be respectful of the property and they even had a notebook for people to write in and tell their stories of what they did and how they had fun and stuff. It was one of the coolest things we’ve ever done together. And we were super respectful, they had alot of rules about not tracking in sand into the house and everything.

    It was great for us because we could spend a week at that beach house and create beautiful memories and it felt like it was actually ours. We went to the beach every day multiple times a day and just had great meals and there was a fire pit in the back and a swinging porch swing and it was just awesome.

    Anyway, just an idea, if you do buy a place, maybe renting it out like they did to nice people (like me and my family were! lol) Or even finding something similar to enjoy yourselves until you’re able to have the dream place you want in the town you want.

    By the way – I absolutely love your photo up at the top of your blog, and that looks like the same photo that you posted in this picture. It sooo reminds me of my grama and grampa’s up north. That’s exactly what it would look like and we would snowmobile and go sledding with my aunts and uncles and it was just the best childhood memories I have always cherished.


    1. We do our best. We’ll continue to take her there so she can see the place her mum loves so much.

      We have actually considered buying and then renting. It isn’t a possibility right now but hopefully we can make it a reality at some point in the future.

      Your vacation rental sounds absolutely lovely. It’s very common for people to rent out their lake homes the same way in these parts.


  7. Love your story. It sounds like you follow your heart. That is truly the best way. Start with the dream, plan the route, take the little steps and you are likely to get your dream house even if it is not this one. You have to have the dream first! Love your stories.


    1. This is a wonderful idea! We’ve actually looked at the cost of land in the area and it’s far more affordable than we thought. The cost of building is what scares me.


  8. Wow, that is insanely gorgeous. I didn’t spend even half of that on the house I live in now. I did get a wild hair last year to look for a small lake lot to use for camping and fishing. During our search, we found out a friend was fixing up their mother’s home on the lake to sell. We saw the beach next to it and instantly fell in love. There are Instagram pictures @littlelakelot of our renovation efforts on the right sidebar on my blog. It’s way more than I wanted to spend, but it was also an incredible deal with an amazing property that we will probably never have the opportunity to own again. I had to look at it as investment as well because I know we can get our money back and more should we ever need to sell it. Thanks for sharing the memories!


    1. I’m going to head over and have a look.

      nearly 500k is impossible for us. It’s just such an enormous amount of money. We’re exploring other options actually, looking at maybe buying a plot of land and putting a pre-fab home on it. We’ll see what happens!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s