These days, a shopping excursion to a grocery store in a different neighbourhood pretty much passes as tourism. The Metro in Lib Vil? When do we leave?! A weekend away at a little cottage tucked into the woods in a town you’ve never heard of? A true odyssey.
A two-nighter at Maxwell Cabin was pretty much just that. We came, we saw, we conquered (read: slept, drank, played 5.2 million rounds of cribbage, walked the trails, sauna-ed until our epidermis rivalled that of a six-month-old, et al). We felt emotional relics of a pre-pandemic time. Relaxation! Escape! Unpacking avoidance!
But back to the accommodation. Maxwell Cabin is a circa-1852 pioneer log cabin, sitting on 50 acres of forest and field just a stones’ throw — 25-ish minutes — to Collingwood. She’s charming. She’s private. She has a six-person, wood-burning, cedar barrel sauna. And she’s rustic (more on that in a sec).
THE NITTY GRITTY
- Four beds: one queen in the downstairs bedroom, and one queen plus two twins in the upstairs open loft
- Sleeps up to six (but prices are set for groups of two; each additional guest is $25 per person, per night)
- Available to book year-round
- Rates start at around $570 for two nights (there’s a two-night minimum)
The cabin is perfect for those who want a lil taste of Laura Ingalls Wilder but with pretty dece WiFi and an easy drive (under two hours) from Toronto. Sauna, wood-burning stove, outdoor fire pit, forest views, outdoor shower, treehouse — check x 6. The owners live on the property, but there’s plenty of distance and a large privacy fence separating the homes.
There’s room for six, though four people will be sleeping in an open loft without walls separating the beds — aka, best for a big family or very comfortable pals. This particular stay was just us, an elderly millennial married couple who need approximately 9.25 hours of sleep in a very comfortable bed to function; happy to report that the downstairs queen bed fit the bill.
When we weren’t in the sauna, sweating out the previous night’s red wine and prime rib — a lovely treat from Mylar and Loreta’s, a nearby down-home family eatery run in part by the cabin owners — we were hanging out in the living room, around the wood-burning stove. Playing cards, retoxing, refusing and then giving into Glennon Doyle’s "Untamed" (hate me), and shaving our lifespans with an ill-advised viewing of Hereditary on a laptop (it was Halloween night. I’ve barely recovered).
Oh, and we walked! And walked and walked. One of the cabin’s greatest assets is its proximity to walking trails. Put on a toque, lace up those ratty Converse, open the door and there you are. And by there, I mean the forested trail that starts right outside the cabin and weaves through the trees and along farmers’ fields. It’s beautiful.
- The fridge is mini; the freezer compartment is teeny. Meal plan accordingly.
- Bring slides, a bathing suit and your felt banya hat (a headband will do) for the sauna.
- No TV! Keep it analogue or bring a laptop for watching movies.
- If you’re visiting in the winter months, bring plenty of cozy layers so you can comfortably enjoy the firepit and stargaze (not a lot of light pollution here).
If you’re looking for a hike hike, the Bruce Trail is your best bet (tip: download the AllTrails app to find entry points and parking tips). If hike hikes aren’t your bag, there’s plenty to do in a 25-minute radius, no matter the season. There’s…
- Collingwood, with its skiing, tubing, golfing, waterfront trails, cute stores (e.g. homme | femme) and good eats (e.g. Bent Taco, Later Pizza).
- Visiting in the summer? Take a dip at Wasaga Beach, Lake Eugenia or Craigleith Provincial Park.
In short, this area is brimming with opportunities for leisure and recreation. And the Maxwell Cabin is very well situated in the middle of all of it. But if it’s a luxury experience you’re after — Laura Ingalls Wilder but make it bougie — this cabin isn’t your cabin. You need to be okay with, for instance, a mini rather than full-size fridge, the potential for a mouse sighting in the colder months (it’s a cabin in the woods, they’re impossible to avoid entirely, you'll be fiiiiiine), and a slight rough-around-the-edges feel. The couch is not Restoration Hardware’s attempt at cabin chic. It’s just straight-up cabin.
This isn’t a cottage out of the pages of Dwell but it’s charming and cozy and laidback and not a million hours away and the hosts are wonderfully kind and thoughtful. When what you’re after is fresh air, peace and quiet, and a vista that doesn’t include your hacked-together WFH set-up, Maxwell Cabin is a solid bet.