“There’s something magical about this property.”
Devin MacDonald, current owner of The Highlands Cottages in Buckhorn, stands on a large deck overlooking the water with husband David.
In front of us are literally tens of thousands of acres of pristine wilderness, the Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park, a patchwork of green and blue. In a few hours the sun will set over the river. A fish turns lazily in the water just off the sand beach. Pink granite stone shimmers in the sunlight.
It’s spectacular, and we haven’t even been inside yet.
VIDEO: The Highlands Cottages (3133 Peterborough County Road 36, Buckhorn)
The Highlands, as David and Devin refer to it, is a two-acre residential property on almost 700 feet of waterfront featuring four buildings: a 4,000-square-foot log home, two winterized log cabins, and a boathouse.
The three-bedroom main house is expansive, freshly renovated and beautifully appointed, featuring quartz countertops, stately log walls, and spectacular views of the water from both sides of the house.
Incredible potential as a business or a home
The property offers a fantastic space to start a new business, or continue the Airbnb rentals that Devin and David have offered there.
“We chose to Airbnb the two cottages, but there are so many applications,” David muses.
The vast great room in the main house could be a yoga studio, a music studio, a performance space or a conference room. It has incredible potential.
“It’s up to the creativity of the person and how they want to apply it, but the buildings are here and the footprints are here. If someone has an entrepreneurial spirit, it’s a great place to be.”
The Airbnb cottages are routinely booked without any advertising, aside from occasional social media posts.
“This environment and this place really make it easy to do that,” David explains.
The Highlands Cottages listing on Airbnb has hundreds of five-star reviews, and these will be transferred to the new owner if they wish to keep that business active.
David says that the Airbnb business is easy to run.
“You make sure the guests are comfortable and that what they need is there, but at the end of the day they’re here for the view and the water and to get out of the city.”
The Highlands is also a wonderful family home. As a father, David has watched his son grow up swimming and playing in the river.
“It’s a great place to grow up and experience nature,” David says.
With three separate buildings, it could be a home or cottage for an entire extended family — or your family can live in the main house and simply use the cottages as occasional guesthouses for friends and family when they come to visit.
In either case, there is plenty of room for everyone to have their own space while enjoying time together.
Wildlife and recreation at your doorstep
Imagine sitting on the deck overlooking the water on a summer morning, drinking your coffee to the sound of a loon call.
The Highlands property is a haven for wildlife, with moose, foxes, deer, turtles, and playing otters often making appearances.
“We’re on the edge of the wilderness so you don’t know what you’re going to see,” David points out. “Every day is something new.”
There is one animal, however, that you can set a clock by. The home is just a short paddle to a beaver dam, and beavers regularly pass by the property in the morning and the evening on their daily rounds.
Beyond the wildlife, there are many recreational options here. Canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming and hiking are all at your doorstep.
Love to fish? The Highlands is a fisherman’s dream. David says that he has caught large and smallmouth bass, walleye, and even muskie.
“I’ve seen musky spawning in the spring and there are some really big ones,” he says.
“Our neighbour keeps track of how many he catches every year and last year he caught five. The river is pretty abundant and alive and it doesn’t get a lot of traffic because it’s off of the main lake.”
Secluded but convenient location
Uniquely situated, this property affords the opportunity to enjoy luxurious seclusion while being just minutes from Buckhorn’s groceries, dining, a gallery, and winery.
“We’re close to town, but out here you don’t feel like it,” Devin says.
That’s an understatement. The property is directly across from hundreds of square kilometres of protected parkland, with Kawartha Highlands being the largest park in southern Ontario after Algonquin Provincial Park. If so desired, a paddle from the dock can yield days of adventure.
You can enjoy some of the best natural scenes Kawartha Highlands Park has to offer, including provincially significant wetland and rare wildlife, while still maintaining a wifi connection.
The property is also accessible to larger urban centres: just over 20 minutes from Peterborough and under two hours from Toronto.
Superior craftsmanship and all-season comfort
The buildings are all scribe log, which means that every log is hand picked and hand hewn to make a log wall that fits together like a meticulously built puzzle.
Devin says that the beautiful thick log walls also offer a practical advantage.
“The temperature inside is really moderate. In winter it retains a lot of heat, and in summer it stays really cool.”
I visited in the midst of a heat wave and the house felt cool and comfortable, with no need for air conditioning.
The beautiful hand-hewn logs carry throughout the home, making it both rustic and elegant. The home is immaculate. You’ll find quartz countertops in the kitchen and bathroom, high-end appliances, a jet tub in the ensuite bathroom, and lots of fireplaces.
This is a place to be truly comfortable.
All of the buildings have wood fireplaces and, because of the insulating logs, a cozy fire in the kitchen can keep the entire house at 23 to 25 degrees Celsius.
“Not very many people even keep their furnaces at their temperature,” David points out.
Outside you can enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, skating, and snowmobiling. Winter at The Highlands is truly beautiful and tranquil.
A once-in-a-lifetime find
At The Highlands, sparkling pink granite outcrops punctuate the serene landscape, perfect for basking or for jumping into the river (there is a 15-foot drop along the rocky part of the shoreline).
The main house is built directly into the beautiful and massive granite.
Devin points out the colours of the stone can brighten or intensify depending on the time of year.
“It’s pretty amazing. The colours really change according to the day or the season. The pink gets so vibrant.”
The wild chives are in flower during my visit, peppering the property with savoury beauty. Across the sparkling blue river is a tapestry of green.
The property is situated in the heart of what has been termed “The Land Between,” a corridor of incredible habitat diversity home to many rare species of plants and wildlife.
A property like this really is a once-in-a-lifetime find.
Listed with Ball Real Estate Inc. Brokerage, the asking price is $1,295,000. To see the listing, visit ballrealestate.ca/listings/property-details/21113142-52/3133-county-road-36-trent-lakes-ontario-id-219703/.
To read reviews of The Highlands Cottages on Airbnb, visit www.airbnb.ca/users/show/21215260.
This story was created in partnership with Devin and David MacDonald.