It’s Different. At home you keep up appearances. At a cottage you have the chance to cut some slack. Old books, fishing reels, a TV from the 1980’s or earlier! (with no remote), and ancient appliances can live out the rest of their useful lives. We have a 40 year old Snark sailboat that still makes it to the beach every year.
Bonfires and Fire Pits. A fire ring or a circle of rocks is all you need to create an atmosphere for wonderful stories and conversation. People drop by for a beer, or just for a quick hello. Kids learn to roast marshmallows, hotdogs and popcorn. It’s a wonderful way to get everyone together.
Your Yard, or Lack of One. We let the old gravel driveway be slowly taken over by grass and other greens. The two tracks leading up to the cottage gives it a rustic feel.
Knotty Pine. The paneling and cabinets are over 50 years old and have a rich butter yellow tone. We have to be careful not to brighten it up too much else it looks weird.
The Smell. Coming in to the cottage after a long time away is always an interesting experience. Sometimes the smell is benign. Sometimes its dusty and sometimes its musty. The initial smell goes away quickly has windows are opened or if someone puts a meal on the stove.
The Food Museum. We aren’t diligent about cycling through the canned goods. We have found cans of beans and vegetables in the inner recesses of my parents cottage that went back to the early 80s. The cottage pantry is always a trip back in time.
The Shed. There was a time in the 1950s when the rustic cottages replaced the outhouse the a septic field. Some owners must have had a close connection with the privy as many of them we’re converted to storage sheds. However a few of the original outhouses can be spotted from time to time.
Sandy Feet. By late August the vacuum cleaner has two pounds of beach sand in the bag. Sand is just part of being at the cottage and since it’s not dirt no one really minds tracking a bit in. Of course it’s a different story when you jump into bed with a bit of a sunburn and find the beach has followed you in.
The Local Party Store. A trip into town is an ordeal. Plus you have to wade through all the tourists. (We don’t consider ourselves one, but some locals may disagree.) The little store is only a short bike ride away and it’s where some of us made our first purchases. It smells like bait, new t shirts, sweet candy and newsprint. You could just about find everything you needed for a day at the beach.
Caging Your Trash – Critters love the garbage cans. I once heard a horrendouss racket outside only to find 3 young racoons treed next to a dumped out can full of a weeks worth of smellables. Some enterprising souls sell small wire mesh enclosures to keep the critters out.