How to turn cottage lemons into cottage lemonade!

Lake in the mountains

Today was the exact sort of day I feared would put me off the entire cottage thing, I’ve had days exactly like this years ago when we would drive to The Laurentians to hang out at Yannick’s sister’s manse on the lake.  In fact it is what has kept me from even entertaining the purchasing of a cottage, ever.  The dreaded, inevitable cold, windy, grey, day with rain and hail.  I call them the “so now what” days of cottaging.

We got up to an alarm clock today, already not my favorite thing to do on a Sunday.  I usually keep my Sunday’s alarm clock free.  I figure everybody deserves at least one day a week where they can wake up organically with the rhythm of their own body clock.  We did this because we had a meeting with two potential contractors about doing the work we want done on the place, and as you know since our place can’t be “lived in” we drove up there and needed to turn around and come back.  The driving there and back didn’t bother me, I was able to write four Huff Post pieces in the car while Yan drove, and even wrote this blog.  What did bother me was being at my girlfriend’s cottage in between meetings and feeling like I really hope that when our cottage is ready for us to enjoy I don’t end up doing what I do in the city on rainy days which is scrolling through my phone.  I sat there looking around wondering what I would do differently with my time once I was all moved in and settled at my own cottage.  I surely don’t want to scroll my social media feeds, or watch Netflix.  But it’s so easy to slide into that.  It’s right in the palm of our hand and an uber convenient way to kill time on a rainy day, doing at the cottage what I do in Toronto.  But I don’t want to just be a city girl sitting in a different place and behaving the same way.  I want to be different at my cottage, isn’t that what it’s all about?  Isn’t that why I agreed to buy it in the first place?  To spend days/nights doing things that I don’t do in Toronto.

Which means I’m going to need to be organized at the cottage.  I’m going to need to be prepared and set myself up not to fail by falling into city habits and patterns.  And this is how I’m going to do it.  I’m going to take a giant pile of books that are lining my many bookshelves in my house and take them to the cottage so that I will at long last READ some of them.  I’m also going to once I’m in the privacy and comfort of my own cottage, write.  I have so many books waiting to come out of me that being alone on a rainy day with nothing to do but get down to creative business will bring me great joy, and satisfaction.  In the event of having family or friends visiting I’m going to make sure that we have no shortage of games, so that we can happily entertain ourselves and one another by interacting.  And finally what I will be doing at my cottage on rainy days is cooking some “one day” recipes out of some of my favorite cookbooks.

Yes indeed my friends, I’m going to take cottage lemons and make delicious cottage lemonade, just you wait and see!


  1. It sounds like you’re on the right track! Yes, I agree, it would probably be more relaxing to do “old fashioned” activities at the lake, rather than phone-based ones. I think once your cottage is basically the way you want it, you’re going to really enjoy it there!

  2. Go for it Shantelle! We all need to break the ties that bind us to our everyday lives.
    Sounds like a great way to spend time in nature, reading, writing and playing games. I do similar things when we’re at our beach house. Albeit we are NOT right at the beach, more like 5 miles away. But in our little development, complete with 1 floor ranch, cape cod type houses, we can ride bikes, walk, sit and read or play in the dirt (my favorite). It’s a time I do what I don’t do, at my primary house. A perfect way to unwind and relax, entertain friends, or just be!
    Enjoy the tranquility.

  3. Great post! I am so happy for you. A place to be alone and gather the frayed threads of our lives back to together weaving and reweaving them into a new and different pattern.

    I find that with my husband retired and around all time, it is difficult to find that solitary time we all need so desperately. What a wonderful gift to have a cozy cottage to snuggle in and catch up on so many projects. You certainly deserve it.

    I wish you all the happiness and contentment you can enjoy there.


  4. Don’t forget puzzles. They help to organize the mind.
    Perhaps you might enjoy an adventure into painting. Great scenery all around.
    Whatever you do enjoy the peace nature brings.

  5. You have already given the answer in BOOKS!!! But may I add: jigsaw puzzles? And my personal favourite: knitting! Yup, I’ve gotten to a time in my life as a knit-a-holic, that something feels ‘off’ if I don’t carry yarn and needles with me. My Mum looks puzzled if I turn up to do the washing without something to knit (I do my laundry at my parents’ house, and help out with different things while I’m there).

    Enjoy your little escape-hatch.

  6. YES!! Yes, brimming bookshelves is what you need! We just got home from a week north where we had two days of sun and four days of rain and dreary weather. But you know what? It was beautiful because we were not at home. We still had our phones (and M was writing furiously on his computer). We had a blue ray player that allowed us to watch movies in the evening. But I spent my days *reading* book after glorious book and I LOVED IT! I would be far too distracted at home to do that. There would always be something else I *should* be doing. But at the cottage … at the cottage I am supposed to relax! To enjoy my time! to rejuvenate and recharge! And that’s exactly what I did! I say go for it – you will never regret it!

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