This month, my friend, who has been living in Wales for the last few years, brought her boyfriend back to Ontario to visit our hometown—plus have a few “Canadian” experiences: They saw Niagara Falls, went to Parliament in Ottawa, journeyed up the CN Tower, and ate butter tarts, poutine, and Montreal smoked meat. They also went to a family cottage, where BF heard loon calls for the first time, and learned how to efficiently chuck bags of garbage into the local dump without accidentally hitting any of the bears that gather there.
In my family, we always make sure our cottage guests—people from overseas, and new to cottaging, or, in some cases, people from Toronto who just don’t leave the city much—get to experience “typical” cottage activities. Their visit must involve at least some, if not all, of these things: paddling the canoe, using a pool noodle in a hilarious way, grilling toast on the woodstove, eating a charred marshmallow, getting a lot of mosquito bites, playing a six-hour game of Monopoly, chopping wood and collecting kindling, building a fire, attempting to light the fire, saying “This fire is a bust, let’s just go to bed,” and falling asleep in the middle of the day while reading a novel. We don’t make anybody go to the dump—but, actually, that could be a good one to add to the list.
So, what do you do with your cottage guests?