When asking why people would buy a vacation property at Conestogo Lake or Puslinch Lake instead of something around Muskoka or on Lake Huron, the same words seem to pop up over and over.

“It’s nice that it’s kind of a secret,” says Pam Ryan, who bought a property on Puslinch Lake seven years ago.

“It’s definitely a hidden gem,” says Michael Angeletti, who did the same thing 15 years ago.

And people who live there aren’t the only ones using those terms – so are those who convince others to spend summers there.

“I think it’s the best-kept secret in this area,” says Kitchener-based real estate agent John Finlayson.

Wellington County’s lakes don’t contain as many cottages as some of the more popular ‘cottage country’ destinations.

While that sort of supply could theoretically lead to heavily inflated prices, that may not yet be the case.

Last year, one cottage on Puslinch Lake – one which boasts its own private island – was listed for a little more than $500,000.

Real estate agents say a similar cottage in the Muskoka area would likely have an asking price in the millions.

Finlayson admits that Conestogo Lake may not have the “picturesque views” of northern lakefront properties, but says cost and location can make up for that.

“It’s 30 minutes from Kitchener, so you can come and go on a daily basis if you’d like,” he says.

That convenience is the exact reason the Angelettis have kept their trailer at Puslinch Lake since the dawn of the century.

“We love it because it’s close to Mississauga and the GTA. We’re able to come back daily, if we want,” Angeletti says.

Low taxes and fees help, too – Angeletti estimates that the annual fee for Puslinch Lake is roughly equal to one month’s worth of taxes in Muskoka.