These Little Cottages on the Lake Will Melt Your Heart

July 6, 2015 | By | Comments (8)

By Homes Editor Ellen McGauley

I spent the holiday week up in Olcott, New York, a small waterfront village on the shores of Lake Ontario. My family is from this area, where apple and cherry trees grow against the backdrop of the bright blue water, the view so big it could pass for an ocean.


Lighthouse at Olcott Beach- Ellen McGauley

Lighthouse at Olcott Beach


This little fishing town thrives in the summer, when midday temps hover around 70 degrees and brisk nights call for campfires and sweatshirts. The best part? This teeny little Great Lakes town is Cottage Central.


Waterfront cottage with green roof- Ellen McGauley

Bright green gabled roof


I took a stroll down a quiet lane just a stone’s throw from the town’s marina. There, I found everything we love about cottages on full display: mad color, teeny footprints, dynamite roof lines, rambling garden fences, blooming gardens… Here are a few snapshots of these dreamy cottages.


red cottage on the lake- Ellen McGauley

Red siding, red roof!


I loved how these homeowners opted for white lanterns at this gate—a friendly welcome to their red cottage by the lake.


cottage on the lake- Ellen McGauley

A simple wooden fence


This fence led to a tucked-in cottage not very visible from the street. I like the look of an unpainted wooden fence: no frills, just flowers.


cute New York cottage in the trees- Ellen McGauley

A lovely white pergola


American flag on a waterfront shed- Ellen McGauley

Red, white, and blue


American flags were flying up and down the street. I swooned over this little red shed with its stars and stripes hanging proudly along the side.


Garden gate on the lake- Ellen McGauley

Perfect lawn, perfect lake


The gardens were to die for. Bright lime manicured lawns and climbing roses flanked house after house, and spilled down to the bluff overlooking the lake.


garden gate with climbing roses- Ellen McGauley

A blooming white fence


waterfront cottage on Lake Ontario- Ellen McGauley

A shady driveway


The best part of these cottages is, of course…


Tomato red Adirondack chairs- Ellen McGauley

Cherry red Adirondack chairs


… This view. Sitting in one these chairs (that match the cherries in the orchards across the street), I’m pretty sure I could get this world figured out. Small problems, big ones… how could any of them survive this place?

All photos: Ellen McGauley



  1. Kathy Weir Mathewson

    Thanks for enjoying our little cottage community….that’s why we love it here!!!! Thanks for telling everyone of our lovely lakeside village!!!

    July 7, 2015 at 7:37 pm
  2. Mary Turner

    It’s nice. I’ve lived in Olcott for 10 yrs. Awesome.

    July 7, 2015 at 7:53 pm
  3. Patricia Miner

    We as a family go every year for our cottage vacation and will keep the memories going God willing! This is what it’s all about!!!

    July 8, 2015 at 10:29 am
  4. Joanne Fricke Thuman

    I lived/grew up there as a kid and miss it every summer!!!!! We visit and I always long to live back there! Thanks for showing its beauty and charm – you captured it well! And not to even mention the adorable carousel park, the sweet little shops on the shore and the Norman Rockwell Patriot’s Parade on the 4th of July. Olcott is a real treasure!!

    July 10, 2015 at 7:04 am
  5. Marge Knapp

    How wonderful Laurie that your photo magic moved some of the residents to comment!! A picture perfect place to spend the summer, indeed!! Aunt Marge

    July 10, 2015 at 3:05 pm
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