You Say Cabin, I Say Cottage

What’s the difference between a cabin and a cottage?

Some friends of mine can’t agree on what to call their summer property at the lake. She always refers to it as “the cottage” while he calls it “the cabin”.

Is it possible to clearly define what constitutes a cottage and what qualifies as a cabin?

Few people would ever say that they are going up to a “hunting cottage”. It is usually identified as a “hunting cabin”.

Hunting cabins are not normally found on lakefront property, so maybe a cabin is a building located in the bush.

But my friend’s place is on the water and he still feels it is more like a cabin than a cottage.

Maybe it has to do with the level of comfort or the amenities.
A cabin could be considered a place that is off the grid, uses a generator to pump water and only has rudimentary facilities – meaning and outhouse and an outdoor shower. It may or may not be accessible by car.

Can a remote and rustic place like this be called a cottage?

Most lakefront properties that people call cottages are now as comfortable as the house in the city. They have indoor toilets, showers, washers, dryers, satellite T.V., telephone and Internet.

Would you call such a modern structure a cabin?

Maybe it has to do with how the property is used.
A cottage is generally a place where people like to entertain friends and family, have parties, listen to music and spend the day water skiing or wake boarding. The time at the lake for many cottage owners is generally about having fun.

A cabin, on the other hand, seems to be more for the nature-lover types who entertain little and spend most of their time enjoying the wilderness. The retreat is viewed as a place of tranquility. The owners might tend to do a lot of fishing, relaxing and bird watching.

So where do my friends fit in?
Their building has electricity, telephone, Internet and satellite T.V. Yet, the property is water-access and there is no indoor toilet or shower. The structure is also old and quite rustic.

She likes to entertain guests and enjoys a good party at the lake. His main priorities are fishing, reading and watching the wildlife.

So, what’s the answer?
Their place seems to be a hybrid, so they may have to start calling it a “cottabin”.

In the end it may just be a personality thing, and as long as you enjoy your time it doesn’t really matter what you call your property at the lake.

Written by: Andrew Walker


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