Cottage country
Photo by Elena Elisseeva/

10 signs you grew up in cottage country

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1. The population of your town doubled (or tripled!) in the summer.

Eight months out of the year you could walk down the street of your less-than-2000-person town and greet nearly everyone by name­­—or not run into anybody at all. But when summer hit, the part-time cottagers came in droves, bringing with them ice-cream line-ups and tragic shortages of hamburger buns and marshmallows.

2. You don’t flinch when wildlife ends up indoors.

City folk will reliably freak out if a bird ends up in their cottage kitchen, or an unidentified creepy-crawly in the bathroom, but your full-time country status made you immune to surprise guests. On the flip side, you don’t whip out the camera at every chipmunk, hummingbird or deer sighting. They’re cute, but you’re not about to make a fuss.

3. Nobody ever wants to play board games with you.

Years of spotty cell service and unreliable Wi-Fi have made you a Monopoly master, Cribbage champion, and Scrabble sensei. With every rainy day you grew stronger and now you’re a complete terror on games night. Nobody has the guts to take you on.

4. You have worked a summer job scooping ice cream, tying up boats, pumping gas, or all of the above.

There weren’t exactly a lot of options for gainful employment in a small town, but at least each job came with its own perks: free ice cream, sunny days on the dock, and—okay we admit it, there was no real up side to pumping gas.

5. It was easy to identify part-time cottagers.

Whether it was their lack of experience docking a boat at the local marina or their search for “a good bar” on a rainy day, it was always painfully obvious who only spent a few weekends of the year up north.

6. Skinny dipping wasn’t a sexy thing you needed to cross off your bucket list. 

It was just practical—when you’re living in your bathing suit all summer, it’s easy to run out of clean or dry ones. But sometimes, you were just feeling constrained!

7. You drove boats or ATVs to friends’ houses.

Sure, sometimes driving a regular old car still made sense, but zipping along the lake or through forest trails was a heck of a lot more fun!

8. There weren’t many house parties, but there were some killer field and forest bashes.

Cramming all your friends into your compact home was entirely unappealing, especially when there was so much open space to party in. It was hard to beat the sunsets and star-filled skies for atmosphere.

9. Noisy traffic never kept you up at night, but you did curse wildlife from time to time.

Yes, even the “calming” sounds of nature can be as annoying as a grinding streetcar when they keep you up at night. Sometimes those boisterous bullfrogs and chirping crickets had you tossing and turning all night.

10. You never had to decide what restaurant to go to.

You just went to the restaurant—the only suitable place in town where the owners greeted you by name and you didn’t need a single glance at the menu to choose a meal. It was safe, reliable, and you were deeply disturbed if a new waiter suddenly appeared.