14 things that are only normal in cottage country

Grilling everything

You go to the cottage to escape life in the city, right? So it stands to reason that there are things you do at the cottage that you probably wouldn’t do back at home—and that’s totally OK. Here are 14 things that may seem a little odd if you’re not in cottage country, but are perfectly normal if you are.

1. Wearing a bathing suit 24/7

Why bother taking it off? You’re going to go for a swim after breakfast, lie in the sun until your bathing suit dries, eat lunch on the deck, go for another swim, lie in the sun again, then eat messy, sloppy hamburgers for dinner. You’re saving yourself a ton of laundry.

2. Waking up with a plunge in the lake rather than a cup of coffee


Let’s face it—you probably don’t make pre-breakfast swimming a regular habit in the city (and if you do, good on you). But feeling the crisp, clear water breaking over your head is the only way to wake up at the cottage.

3. Breakfast on the barbecue

You don’t want to heat up the house, and when else are you going to get the opportunity to barbecue absolutely everything? BBQ bacon and hash browns are a match made in heaven.

4. Taking a boat to get an ice cream cone

Bruce Deachman/ Ottawa Citizen

Hey, if that’s where the ice cream is, then that’s where it is.

5. Going barefoot everywhere

Yoana Genova/Shutterstock.com

Who has time for shoelaces? There’s nothing like soft, springy moss underfoot, or warm sand, or smooth rock. You just have to watch out for burrs and poison ivy.

6. Not doing laundry


You’re outside, so no one can smell you anyway. Plus, sitting in front of a campfire just ensures that all your clothes are laced with woodsmoke, which is far better than any detergent.

7. Having bouquets of weeds on your dinner table each night


C’mon, admit it—you love those grubby bouquets your kids pick at the side of the road. Goldenrod, asters, and daisies in a Mason jar really pull a room together.

8. Eating at a picnic table


Maybe it’s out on the deck, so you eat there every night you can. Or maybe—and this is totally cottage chic—your indoor dining surface is also a picnic table.

9. Serving—and enjoying—“kitchen sink casserole” 

You’d be surprised at how well chicken nuggets, baked beans, sloppy joe mix, and fries combine when you pour over some tomato sauce and cover the whole mess with cheese.

10. Cooking absolutely everything on a stick over the campfire


You can cook cinnamon rolls, spider dogs, fish, chicken—it’s amazing what you can fit on a stick!

11. Not turning on the TV in favour of a singalong, marshmallows, and star-gazing


You might have some beat-up set for those rainy days, but usually you’re spending nights around a campfire, taking in the beautiful evening.

12. Red-checked oilcloth as a perfectly acceptable design choice


Do you know an easier surface to clean barbecue sauce off of? Cottage chic for the win!

13. Drinking off of plates that have 40 years worth of chips and dings


It’s almost weird if your cottage dishes match—unless they’re part of a set that your parents bought at Canadian Tire 40 years ago and retired for cottage use just last year.

14. “If it’s yellow, let it mellow”


Not flushing is just common sense. You have to take care of the septic, after all. Pee free!