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Up to the Cottage - Memories of Muskoka [Kindle Edition]

Grant D. Fairley
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.50
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Book Description

Journey back to a time to the Muskoka of small family cottages through the stories of what it was like to spend your vacations at a family cottage on Mary Lake near Huntsville and other places in the Muskokas. Beginning with the family renting a cottage in the 30's through the purchase of land and then building the cottage in the 50s, the Cowans, Meusers and Fairleys all became part of the story of the lake just as the cottage became a rich part of their life story too. These first-hand accounts reflect both a bygone era and the new world of cottaging in some of the most beautiful places on Earth. For those who remember those rustic days - you will warm to the happy memories of cottage life in the 50s & 60s & 70s. The stories continue through the development years of 80s & 90s. The tales continue up until 2004. Pull yourself up by a fire at the cottage to read this book. If you are not at the cottage, this book will take you there through these enchanting memories and stories of the people and places of Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.

There is also a special section on James Alexander Cowan. He was Canada's first Public Relations Consultant, friend of Ernest Hemingway, advisor to President Franklin Roosevelt, consultant to Cyrus Eaton, writer for Macleans Magazine, Editor of the Toronto Star Weekly and more. He is also the one who built the cottage central in this story as father, grandfather and great-grandfather to the characters in this book.

Chapter Titles

Into The Mist
The Cottage
Go North Young Man – Somehow!
A Greater Purpose
The Road More Traveled
What's That Smell?
Warm Thoughts
Cottage Worthy
Sounds of Silence
On The Surface
All Creatures Great & Small
Cottage Types
Clammed Up
Mission Impossible
The Waltons
The Guest Book
That’s Entertainment
For The Birds
Well – Well – Well
Measuring Up
Slip Sliding Away
Something’s Fishy
Don't Let The Rain Come Down!
Look Up – Way Up!
Many Wanderings
Please Pass The Salt
Ahoy There
I Know A Secret
Not For The Faint of Heart
Ready - Set - Fire!
One Dark Night
The Man In The Green Can
Take A Letter
Far and Wide and Weird
The Road Less Traveled
Jackson Falls
Half A Mile To Halvastraw
Clean As A Whistle
A Fine Port
Nothing To Fear
Creative Licence
In To Town
Rainy Day People
Beyond The Sunsets
The Other Way
Put The Worm On Tighter Uncle John
Moose Wars
An Old Seabreeze
What Do You Mean By "There"?
Saluting The Generals
The Muskoka Blues
A New Age Was Upon Us
Watching Scotty Grow
Blessings Received
The Turkey and the Church
Fond Farewell
Sandy Feet
James Alexander Cowan

About The Author

Grant D. Fairley is still the little boy who spent many days enjoying the family and fun of the cottage at Mary Lake.
Remarkably, he now has four children and a son-in-law. When not in his principal roles of husband, father and friend, he enjoys a wide range of other experiences.

Grant grew up in Windsor, Ontario. He is grateful for the teachers who guided and humoured him at Glenwood, Central and Centennial schools. His enchanting university days were at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois where he made wonderful friends and learned how to learn in the great tradition of a liberal arts education.

Over the years, he has had a liberal arts life with a range of activities that include teaching, writing and encouraging as common threads in the many roles. He continues to explore the faith that was passed on to him from the past generations who were faithful to pass it on to him.

Look Up – Way Up – The Friendly Giant is the biography of Robert Homme written by Grant. In addition to writing books, he is the co-author of a number of patents relating to technology and healthcare.

Most days, he is sharing with others through seminars, workshops, retreats and executive coaching. He is especially delighted to serve in his local church.

He continues to learn and grow through his relationship with his

Editorial Reviews


"Up to the Cottage - Memories of Muskoka." In this work of non-fiction, Fairley regales readers with firsthand accounts and photos of times spent at small family cottages on Mary Lake (near Huntsville, Ontario). The tales begin in the 1950s and continue all the way until 2004, forming a trail of nostalgia for any cabin, cottage or camp enthusiast."  
June 2014 issue (page 9) of Cabin Life Magazine

From the Author

The cottage for our family was one of those constants in a changing world.  As we grew older, married and had children, it was a place where the extended family could visit and enjoy times together.  It had played that role for the generation that preceeded us too. 

For me, it was a connection to the earliest parts of my childhood memories.  The cottage was a place where memories were added every year.  Many were building on the same experiences while others were new.

It was also a special place of quiet.  In a life that often was filled with people and commitments, the cottage was a place where there was only a time to arrive and a time to leave.  Everything else was flexible.

We also enjoyed watching the children grow up there.  It was away from the city and gave them a wholly other kind of experience.

This book was intended to share some of our cottage experiences.  From the early feedback on the book, it seems that it has also created a place where people can insert their own memories that were like this chapter or that.

The chapters were written as short expressions to connect with one facet or experience of cottage life.

I hope that whether you are still a cottager, were a cottager or had some other special place to get away that this book will bring back some happy memories.

Please email your comments or reflections.  It is great to hear about other people and their cottage life.

September 2011

Product Details

  • File Size: 2880 KB
  • Print Length: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Silverwoods Publishing; First Edition edition (December 18, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0057XV0W2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,231,038 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent look at cottage life! January 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Mr. Fairley does a great job of combining personal memories with local history to give readers a vivid look at Ontario cottage life, and how that life has evolved over the last half-century or so. This book beautifully captures the feelings that every person gets when they look back on their time spent in the Muskoka area. Every time I picked up the book and started a new chapter it was like being taken out of the daily grind and dropped back in my own memories.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Happy Purchase June 28, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Book is in very good condition . Will be very enjoyable summer reading, having ben raised in Ontario myself, spending summers
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More About the Author

Grant D. Fairley is a principal speaker with Strategic Seminars. For more than 30 years he has been doing presentations on finance, leadership, team building, relationships, personal development, spiritual life and more. He also serves as an executive coach, providing professional development to leaders in business, government and the community. He combines mentoring and story-telling to give unique and memorable experiences for his audiences as well as for his individual clients.

In addition to this book, Grant is the author of a number of books, and is a presenter on BlogTalk Radio. Grant is also an inventor of a patented healthcare technology. He has assisted colleagues in the authoring of a number of health patents.

Grant is a graduate of Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.

Contact Grant through or LinkedIn. You can follow Grant on Twitter @grantfairley and he has a blog on Tumbler under the pen name of Admiral Wood.

He is also active in his local church as one of the regular teachers in the adult class. When not coaching, writing or teaching, Grant enjoys visiting Middle Earth as a follower of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Grant also enjoys doing his family history. He is the grandson of Public Relations pioneer, writer and Toronto era friend of Ernest Hemingway, James Alexander Cowan. Grant's great-grandfathers were also writers. Hugh Cowan was a Presbyterian minister, historian and author. Great-grandfather Fred G. H. Williams was a parliamentary reporter in Canada, journalist and a popular historian who wrote for more than sixty years in Canada's formative period. His great-great grandfather was Charles Fenwick Williams, the celebrated war correspondent of the battles across the world during Victorian England.

One of his great pleasures is spending time with old friends - of any age.

Grant is delighted to be married and enjoys being the father of four children.

"Positive Influence - How to Lead Your World" is his latest book on leadership based on his executive coaching and seminars.

Upcoming titles for Grant include:"Enchanted Living - Insights for Your Life from Fairy Tales & Fables" and "Tolkien's Leaders - Lessons for Leaders from the Characters of J. R. R. Tolkien

From Grant...

I am one of those liberal arts generalists who spends my time connecting ideas, people and possibilities together. So it is little wonder that I have done a wide range of activities in what we call a career.

I value my friendships both old and new - but especially old. I am someone who has benefited from mentors who have helped shape my life and my thinking. I am a Canadian who grew up on the border with the United States who still feels my grandparent's connection to their "old country"- Scotland. My teachers from elementary school through my university days at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois have all left their impressions and voices that I continue to hear in my thoughts and words. Dr. Norman Ericson who taught at Wheaton College would be first among these.

In addition to writing, I am an executive coach who works with senior management in corporations, government and organizations as well as top sales people. My role with them is to encourage and challenge them in their professional and personal life journeys.

I also do seminars on a wide range of business, relationship, sales training, customer service and team building topics.

My world has also included inventing. I created a patented (Canada) system to innovate the way medical services were delivered using the internet and a wide range of technologies. The goal of this invention back in 2000 was to free physicians to spend more time with people who were truly needing time with their doctors and free patients from wasting time in a doctor's office if they did not need to be there. Back in 2000, it seemed like a strange concept to believe that people would use the internet for health or banking. Not so strange now. I also had the opportunity to work with Dr. Blair Lamb, MD in creating his patented system of treating back pain and other pain conditions using BOTOX(R) and other similar agents. That patent has been granted in the United States, Great Britain, Australia and Canada.

The writing part of my story is something that has been there since I was very young and when my parents on the advice of my Grade 2 teacher recommended that they buy me a typewriter. She was concerned about my handwriting. I was liberated to put words to paper. I have been typing ever since.

Speech recognition (IBM ViaVoice and later Dragon Naturally Speaking) was another tool that I adopted early on to create my materials. In the case of ViaVoice, I was an IBM Business Partner who taught professionals who did dictation how to use this software. It was a great tool for the judges, lawyers, physicians and others I assisted.

I believe that we are echoes of not only those who have parented, taught and mentored us but also of those who are our ancestors. I never met two of the following from my family tree and the third I only knew through the eyes of a child and later a teenager. In spite of this, there is certainly a resonance there.

My maternal great-grandfather Hugh Cowan (1867-1943) was a Presbyterian minister in Canada and later with the United Church of Canada. Throughout his career, he also wrote local histories of the areas near where he lived in Ontario (Detroit Windsor & Essex County, Chatham & Kent County, the Georgian Bay area and Sault Ste. Marie) and even wrote an adventure tale set in an earlier century entitled "La Cloche : the Story of Hector McLeod and His Misadventures in the Georgian Bay and the La Cloche Districts." His last book was about a perspective on Christianity and where it might be heading in the latter half of the 20th Century was entitled "The Great Drama of Human Life" now back in print.

My grandfather, James Alexander Cowan (1901-1978) was a writer for The Toronto Star in his younger years and was a friend of Ernest Hemingway when the Hemingways were in Toronto. Hemingway was the best man at my grandparent's wedding in Toronto just before the Hemingways went to Paris. In his 20's, my grandfather wrote feature articles for Canada's Maclean's magazine. He went on to become the first Public Relations person in Canada. His clients included Cyrus Eaton of C&O Railways, Odeon, Steeprock Mines, Rank Films in England and President Franklin Roosevelt.

My great-grandfather, Fred Williams (1863-1944) was a writer for a number of Canadian newspapers in Montreal and Ottawa before going to The Mail & Empire - now part of the Globe & Mail in Toronto. In addition to general features, he also was an early member of the Parliament Hill Press Gallery. For most of his career, he was best known for a syndicated column, "A Day In Canadian History" that popularized Canadian history. This and other columns like "Lest We Forget" continued until his death at the age of 81.

My great-great grandfather Charles Fenwick Williams (1838-1904) was a noted war correspondent and newspaper editor in London, England in the 1800s. He witnessed and reported on many of the great battles around the world of the late Victorian era in places like Egypt, Afghanistan, and Turkey. Charles was also the editor of The Evening Standard and other London newspapers as well as being a founder and president of The London Press Club. He wrote more than a half-dozen books on his war experiences and one on promoting understanding between religions. He lectured on his adventures in the UK and in the United States.

The Robert Homme, Friendly Giant biography "Look Up - Way Up!" came from my love of his show as a child and my respect for his creative work as a parent watching the show with my children a generation later. My visits with Bob and Esther Homme in researching the book were delightful as were the interviews with the many others like the great Rod Coneybeare who were part of the show's story.

An enjoyable book to write was "Up to the Cottage - Memories of Muskoka" with stories and anecdotes about life at of our family cottage in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada. It is a book designed to connect with everyone who had a place "away" that they would go to in their summers or weekends. I try to capture life in a simpler time with stories that will be familiar to all who knew cottage country in the 1940s to the 2000s.

My recent book is called "Own Your Future - Wisdom for Wealth and a Better Tomorrow" co-authored with colleague and friend Michael H. Lanthier looks at ideas that can give you a sound financial strategy that will be successful in any kind of financial weather. We also explore some of the values and big ideas that will help you keep money and wealth in context to ensure that it is your servant - not the other way around.

My book on leadership book is entitled, "Positive Influence - How to Lead Your World." As the title suggests, the book looks at using influence rather than control as the tool to make a lasting difference in your world. It is written to apply to anyone who is in a leadership position from a large company to a small group. The principles and values of a leader are described in ways to can help someone who is new to leadership as well as a fresh perspective for the seasoned executive. This book flows from my leadership experiences as well as my work as an executive coach.

A new book is "The Third Act - A Baby Boomer's Guide to Finishing Well." Co-authored with my friend from our days at Wheaton College, William S. Cook, Jr., M.D. is about the process of aging and making our life meaningful. We explore life for baby boomers as they approach and enter retirement. The book includes our reflections on how to make the last third of life count. Dr. Cook is a geriatric psychiatrist in Jackson, Mississippi.

I am also working on a book with a new look at the classic fairy tales with their applications to our life. Each of these fairy tales have a surprising life application that is quite different from the usual conclusion people consider from the story. I use these in my seminars and they illuminate our lives in special ways. The working title is "Enchanted Living" at this point.

If I was defining myself, I would begin with my relationships. I am a spiritually minded person who is concerned about continuing to develop my relationship with God. I am husband to my beloved wife Cari. I am father to my equally unique four children. My parents and grandparents were all positive influences on my understanding of life.

I welcome contacts from readers through our publisher's website


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