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A cottage is a small house of any period. It is the equivalent of a modern villa in Europe. Typically, it is a rural habitation in a village or countryside. Originally, cottages housed agricultural workers and their families. The development of industry led to the development of weavers' cottages and miners' cottages.
A cottage may also denote a smallholding comprising houses, outbuildings and supporting farmland or woods. A cottage in this sense is thought of being barely sufficient to support one farming family, and would typically include only a few acres of tilled land.
In North America, most buildings known as cottages are used for weekend getaways by city dwellers. They are generally located near lakes or the ocean in wilderness areas (though not usually far from amenities) and utilized as a place to go fishing and hiking.