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End of summer bucket list

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With only a few weeks left until the official end of summer, and even less time until Labour Day, the annual panic we all experience in August is likely starting to set it: “Did I do everything I wanted to? How can I make the most of what’s left?” and so on. Don’t worry! There’s still time to try something new, and maybe even feel a sense of pride at what you’ve accomplished this summer. Here are 10 easy ways to make the most of what you have left:

1. Add some flavour to your hotdogs: This cottage classic can always handle a little pick-me-up by the end of the summer, and with these tips, you’ll want to grill the ‘dogs well into the winter months. Put away the ketchup and try one of these great topping recipes. Then check out this how-to video on spiraling hot-dogs, so they pick up more of that great barbecue taste.

2. Hike a new trail: If you know every nook and cranny of the trails surrounding your cottage, why not explore somewhere new? After all, there’s nearly 71 million hectares of forest in Ontario. From Killarney Provincial Park to the Ottawa Greenbelt, here are some of the province’s top trails to hike.

3. Tell a better campfire story: This one can be hard to perfect, especially with this year’s ongoing fire bans keeping you out of practice. Now that they’re starting to be lifted, it’s time to pull out your best stories around the fire. If you follow these five tips, we’re sure you’ll get the response you’ve been waiting for.

4. Impress your friends: And avoid extra trips to the cottage when you’ve forgotten the beer opener. Learn how to open a beer bottle with an old newspaper or—sure to be close at hand—another beer bottle, and you won’t have to leave the dock all weekend.

5. See the stars: One thing we’re certain you’ll miss when the weather turns and it comes time to head back to the city? The stars! To experience some of the best star-gazing possible, see our list of astronomical observatories, dark sky reserves and parks in cottage country, as well as a recently opened Dark Sky Viewing Area.

6. Be a better guest: Headed to a friend’s cottage for the long weekend? See these sample guidelines to make sure you’re invited back next summer, too.

7. Be a better host: Even if you’ve been hosting others at your cottage for decades, there may be some things you do that drive your guests nuts. And while they should only be grateful to be invited, we have a list of easy ways to ensure your guests are having a good time.

8. Dock the boat: If you haven’t figured this one out yet, you may not have much of a boat left to work with. But assuming you do, this is definitely one you need to figure out sooner than later. Try this fool-proof four-step approach, which will teach you the proper way to come into the dock, slide into place and park.

9. Grill a mean corn on the cob: While it’s simple to boil corn in a big pot, it’s not necessarily the best way to cook it. And no matter how much time it takes, we want to avoid as much time as possible indoors. The best way to accomplish both? Learn how to grill a great cob on the barbecue.

10. Build the perfect fire: Over at our sister site explore they’re experts at camping, so it’s no surprise that they know how to build the perfect fire. And unless you do too, you may end up killing the mood when you’re forced to continually restart it. Whether you like to cook or merely entertain over the fire at the cottage, it’s time to learn how to do it right.