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Digital Subscriptions > Cottage Life > Early Summer 2017 > American Woman

American Woman

Connie Wahl has the kind of stories you only get after a lifetime on the lake. This Yankee could teach Canadians a thing or two about cottaging

On the porch of the Shanty,

Beneath the shade of its extended hip roof, hangs a many-decades-old couch swing. Its frame is made of steel rods better suited as garden stakes. Its sides are made of square tin sheets, painted forest green like the Shanty itself. The swing’s back and bottom are lattices of rusty springs and steel slats, the kind you’d find on an old military cot.

The swing hangs just outside owner Connie Wahl’s bedroom window. Connie has spent nearly every summer of her life at the family cottage they’ve always called the Shanty, making the annual trek since 1946 from Rochester, N.Y., to Stoney Lake, in the heart of Ontario’s Kawartha region. She does not recall a time when the swing was not there. She and her late husband, Bill, fell in love in that swing, looking out over the lake together, and they are just one of many couples to have enjoyed its intimate embrace. “I can’t repeat to you some of the things I’ve heard through the window late at night,” Connie says bashfully.

Connie is a quintessential American extrovert. She greets strangers as she would lifelong friends, with a permanent smile, her speech filled with oohs and aahs. She is a hub of Stoney’s social life, with an encyclopedic memory for people and their stories. At gatherings, the liveliest chatter is found in Connie’s company, often around her swing. “That’s why I married her,” Bill once said. “She’s like a circus that never leaves town.”

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About Cottage Life

Going North! Cottage Life toasts Canada’s 150th birthday, with an exclusive interview with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on what the cottage means to him, Canuck-inspired party recipes (beer and back bacon poutine, anyone?), and essential flag etiquette. The issue also includes workshop intel every Canadian should have, renowned Canadian writers and photographers sharing their views on our country from the cottage, a peek into our national official cottage, Harrington Lake, and why now is the time to plant a tree at the lake. PLUS, meet an American who, after a lifetime cottaging in Canada, has a thing or two to teach us about summers at the lake. Don’t miss this one-stop guide to celebrating Canada at the cottage.
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