Is This The Hamptons Of Canada?

Photo: Getty Images.
Every summer weekend, a mass migration takes place in the largest city in the U.S.: Desperate to get away from sweltering subway cars and throngs of tourists, New Yorkers flock to the Hamptons, a picture-perfect strip on Long Island. While the posh getaway has all the glamor and pretty landscapes to justify the hefty costs, its luster has somewhat diminished in recent years: Reality TV crews are descending en masse upon the seaside enclave, and people are not happy about it.
If your idea of summertime bliss doesn't involve any Kardashians, allow us to propose an exciting alternative for your next vacation. Muskoka is quickly gaining buzz as Canada's answer to the Hamptons, thanks to its convenient location and collection of pretty lakes. Just a two-hour drive from Toronto and an hour flight from NYC, this hideout has been a favorite of the likes of Tom Hanks and Kate Hudson. To show you the best of "Hamptons of the North," we've tapped Anne Hepfer — a Toronto-based interior designer who owns a lake house in Muskoka — to share her top recommendations in the region. The best part? You won't ever have to wait in line for the Jitney.
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Follow Anne on Instagram @annehepfer.
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Photo: Courtesy of Vanessa MacDonald.
"Muskoka is the ultimate vacation haven: It's a hot spot for beautiful resorts and summer activities like water skiing, boating, golfing, or fishing," says Hepfer, who lived in New York City before moving to Toronto to start her business a decade ago. "Cottage weekends are about escaping the hectic pace of city life, and there’s something very meditative about the crystal-clear water, soaring white pines, and rugged granite rocks here."

Hepfer spends her weekends with her children at her dreamy lake house, which was recently featured in House Beautiful.
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Photo: Courtesy of Abbey’s Bakehouse
For A Morning Pick-Me-Up: Abbey’s Bakehouse and Power Yoga Canada

"I love visiting Abbey’s Bakehouse for coffee or tea and breakfast treats, like homemade butter tarts," says Hepfer. "Located on the shores of Lake Rosseau, the bakehouse is in a 19th-century church that was rebuilt and repurposed from its original location in Nova Scotia."

After your caffeine fix, Hepfer recommends a yoga class next door at Power Yoga Canada. "They run their classes in a charming boathouse — you can enjoy a beautiful view of Lake Rosseau during your session."

Abbey’s Bakehouse, 1040 Juddhaven Road, Minett, ON P0B 1G0; +1 705-765-7603

Power Yoga Canada, 1112 Judhaven Road, ON P0B 1G0; +1 647- 588-3653
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Photo: Courtesy of Simple Chic
For Cute Summer Gear: Simple Chic

"One of my favorite shops is Simple Chic, a seasonal summer boutique in Port Carling. It specializes in upscale accessories and designer jewelry, but you'll also find plenty of cute sundresses and tunics."

Simple Chic, 111 Medora Street, Port Carling, ON P0B 1J0; +1 705-765-0953
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Photo: Courtesy of Windermere House
For A Memorable Dinner: Windermere House

"Windermere House is an old hotel that burned down and was rebuilt. It has a great pub that serves amazing surf and turf — with a lovely view of Lake Rosseau."

Windermere House, 2508 Windermere Road, Windermere, ON P0B 1P0; +1 705-769-3611
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Photo: Courtesy of Clevelands House.
For After-Dinner Entertainment: Clevelands House

"An old school establishment like the Clevelands House is a great place to grab a beer. On Monday nights, there's a water ski show where performers do tricks."

Clevelands House, 1040 Juddhaven Road, Minett, ON P0B 1G0; +1 705-765-3171
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Photo: Courtesy of Grand Electric Muskoka
For Sunset Drinks: Grand Electric Muskoka

"Other than relaxing on your own dock, another great place to chill and enjoy the sunshine is Grand Electric Muskoka, a country cottage serving tacos and ceviche in a historic boathouse setting with great views of Port Carling."

Grand Electric Muskoka, 2 James Bartleman Way Unit 6, Port Carling, ON P0B 1J0; +1 705-765-0381
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Photo: Courtesy of Rocky Crest Golf Resort
For The Best Views: Rocky Crest Golf Resort

Muskoka is full of golf courses with beautiful views. A local favorite is Rocky Crest Golf Resort, where you can catch a panorama of Lake Joseph next to a private beach. The property features an outdoor heated pool and a spa, in case you are in need of some me-time.

Rocky Crest Golf Resort, 20 Barnwood Dr, MacTier, ON P0C 1H0; +1 866-323-3305
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Photo: Courtesy of Jayne's Cottages
For Upscale Rentals: Jayne’s Cottages

Hepfer recommends seeking the advice of an agent to set you up with your dream vacation rental. "Jayne will personally help you select a luxury rental to meet your needs and help you with vacation planning for activities like horseback riding and golfing," she says.

For more budget friendly options, Airbnb offers many cozy cottage in the $150-$300-per-night range.
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