Cottage Rules: A must read for all of you summer guests Muskoka bound.

After years of witnessing asshole behaviour up north, we thought we’d compile a list of cottage rules: 

1. If you are sharing a ride, be sure to split the cost of gas. This is a no-brainer. 

2. Don’t arrive on Friday evening and give some lame excuse as to why traffic on the DVP prevented you from hitting the LCBO. Plan ahead and arrive with booze. Better yet, be prepared to share what you bring.

3. Prior to your arrival, phone your host and offer to be in charge of one meal. That meal doesn’t have to be filet mignon from The Healthy Butcher but it sure as hell cannot be hot dogs. A meal. A NICE MEAL! 

4. Bring whatever you will need. Your host is already offering up their cottage, why should you use all of their suntan lotion too? That shit is expensive. This goes for toothpaste, shampoo etc – don’t sneak samples, bring your own. Oh, and towels! BYOT. Your friend doesn’t want to be stuck with your dirty laundry. 

5. If your dog shits or pisses on the carpet, fess up. Do not deal with stains on your own. I know of a man who just wiped Shih Tzu diarrhea with a towel and smeared it into the shag carpet. That is absolutely unacceptable. 

6. If, on the Saturday, you offer to do a run into town for supplies, bring back what people have requested, especially if they hand you money for that particular item. An example of not doing this properly is if you get orders for specific cigarettes, like Du Maurier Ultra Light King, Benson & Hedges 100s, but you return with whatever you feel like, imposing your preferred brand on others. NO! They paid you to get something specific. Oh, and smoking kills. 

7. Do not assume that you can just take out the boat or use the fishing pole.

8. Bitching about Rogers and Bell is not allowed at the cottage. As much as these topics instantly unify strangers, they are maddening and make for stressful dinner conversation. 

9. It is super tacky to bring a twelve-pack of beer, drink ten over weekend and then pack the remaining two to bring home. Just leave it in the fridge! And don’t make a big deal about how you are doing that. Just do it.  Geez, two beer.

10. If you bring a food gift, like cookies or cupcakes, make sure that it is a gift. You can take the tupperware home, but leave the remaining treats for guests to munch on Sunday afternoon, piglet. 

11. Cottage hook ups! Don’t fuck the brother-in-law on the family couch. No one wants to lie in your sex while watching Planet Earth and waiting for the rain to stop.

12. Sound travels on a lake. Do not gossip while in the canoe, it will be heard. (Talk about making the campfire awkward.) 

13. Always offer to clean up. Don’t just throw your crap in a bag, actually help: laundry, sweeping, dishes, garbage, whatever.

14. Don’t overstay your welcome, just because the cottage owners decide to kick around until dinner time on Sunday, doesn’t mean you just do that. Respect space and time.

15. Don’t leave garbage in a hidden or remote receptacle. A family doesn’t want to arrive back to the cottage two weeks later to find your bloody tampons, used condom or dirty baby diaper (yuck!) in the guest room waste bin. Ensure that during clean up, you subtly dispose of stuff the right way to avoid gross surprises. 

16. Some people go up north to get drunk all weekend, while others like peace and tranquility. You may feel like you are in the middle of the woods, but again, sound on a lake travels. Do not spontaneously decide to blow up a box of fireworks at 2AM or pollute the still night with blaring Katy Perry. You know, some people have kids and Golden Retrievers.

17. When you are sitting on the dock half naked, refrain from picking blisters off your heels, ripping off dead skin or needling your ingrown pube. You may be all super relaxed, but it’s not becoming.

18. Always say thank you. Say thank you when you are walking out the door and follow this up with a text, email or, even better, a thoughtful card. 

~ Jen McNeely

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