Cottage Opening Time

Opening the cabin or cottage is a wonderful family tradition that takes place across Canada and the U.S. every spring. Throughout the winter cottage and cabin owners fret and stew about the ice and the mice and whether or not we checked the locks once or twice.

As spring rolls around we eagerly watch the ice reports. Once we know the lake is clear our anxiety builds and we eventually reach the point where we can’t stand to wait any more. The whole gang piles into the car and we make that annual spring pilgrimage to the cabin. We never sleep the night before. And like a child anxiously waiting to descend the stairs on Christmas morning, we more or less know what to expect when we get there, but there are always one or two surprises.

How many times have we arrived to find a moldy fridge, burst water pipes, a damaged dock, or boat motors and chainsaws that won’t start?

The secret to a smooth cottage or cabin opening is a proper closing of the property in the fall. When we make the effort to do it right, we get rewarded with time saved and problems avoided in the spring.

Even when we have done the autumn shut down correctly, some years we get surprises beyond our control and these require patience and the acceptance that they are all a part of the cottage experience.

Mice, despite our best efforts, will always find a way into the cabin during the winter. Trees sometimes fall in the wrong direction and take out power lines or sheds, and winter ice often bends the eaves.

As tedious as some of the chores may be, especially if we have to do them in bad weather, it is important to take our time, do things safely, and remember why we are here.

For when the repair work is all done, the boats and docks are in, the eaves troughs cleaned out, the floors swept and the wood stove all fired up, we can finally kick back in our favourite chair and enjoy our little home in the woods.

And sometimes we even get a special treat from nature as if to reward us for a job well done.

Late last night I stepped outside the cabin to take in a bit of the cold crisp night air. The moon hung low over the southern end of the lake and beamed a tranquil yellow streak across its calm surface. A loon called, geese honked, and in the distance the howling of a small pack of wolves resonated through the woods. As I turned to greet the stars in the northern sky my eyes were met by brilliant green waves of light that danced magically above me. For a moment I thought I was dreaming, but a shiver from the cold reminded me that I was certainly awake and this little moment in paradise was more than real.

Welcome to a new cottage season. May it be safe and enjoyable for everyone.

Andrew Walker
Cottage Tips Editor

Go to the Cottage and Cabin Opening Checklist page.
Go to the Cottage and Cabin Closing Tips page.
Go to the Cottage and Cabin Commuting Tips page.
Go to the Cottage and Cabin Guest Tips page.
Go to the Cottage and Cabin Gift Ideas page.

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