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5 ways to bring the cottage home with you

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The Labour Day weekend has come and gone, the kids have gone back to school, the weather’s getting cooler, and the leaves are beginning to turn colour. Although the changing of seasons is imminent and we all knew the long summer nights were only temporary, any cottager can’t help but sigh at the thought of closing up for another year. If you’re lucky enough to be able to spend time at your winterized cottage all year long, enjoy. But if you’re already missing the late-night loon calls and skinny dips, here are a few ways you can keep that cottage feeling with you all year long.
 
Host a board game night
Whether it’s a family game night mid-week or on the weekend with a few friends, there’s nothing like kicking back and engaging in some good old fashioned competition. Board games are no longer just a rainy day activity. Make an event out of it by stirring up some cocktails, cracking a bottle of wine, and enjoying a few finger foods. Ask your guests to bring their favourite game and have a few gag prizes on hand for the kids or the kids at heart to keep things entertaining.
 
Unplug from everything
Some cottagers may enjoy the comfort and amenities of city living on the lake, but for others the cottage is a rustic and rural retreat where radio waves are replaced with ripples on the lake and the view from the dock is all the entertainment they need. Although some might find it stressful to let their emails pile up or feel out of touch without the evening forecast, many people find solace when they unplug. Tryturning off your phone for the evening or, if you’re up for it, avoidtechnology for the whole weekend. It might just give you the best sleep you’ve ever had.
 
Take your meals outside
One of the best things about summers spent at the cottage is late night barbeques on the deck and mid day sandwiches on the dock. Carry the feeling of summer with you all year long by cooking summertime favourites like s’mores in your indoor fireplace and popcorn made the old-fashioned way. Host a family dinner outside while the weather is still warm, or consider investing in a heat lamp and some cozy blankets to enjoy patio dinners all year long.
 
Decorate with nature
Being surrounded by nature is one of the most enjoyable and unique experiences about cottage life. You can bring that outdoor tranquility inside your home by adding a few elements. During the fall and winter, cut cedar sprigs and add them to your fresh bouquets for texture—it’s also a great deodorizer. Add colour to your coffee table or bathroom by filling a glass bowl with lots of your favourite sea shells or stones from the beach. Put your photography skills on display by framing a couple of your favourite wildlife or sunset photos. Overall, cottage living is about embracing natural elements, so think wood, stone, and wicker, and avoid too many manmade materials.  
 
Listen to nature
There’s no way to completely replace the sounds of the cottage that peacefully guide you to sleep at night and just as gently wake you in the morning, but there are a few ways you can recreate those harmonies when you return home. Try downloading a few naturesounds from iTunes, or purchase a sound spa, which plays a selection of pre-recorded nature sounds to help you fall asleep. Close your eyes, relax and let your mind take you back to your favourite place.