This is the second summer in a row where we’ve been able to freely move about due to the removal of pandemic restrictions and that means many people will be heading up north to go to cottages and resorts! Unfortunately, the Ontario Government is no longer offering their $200 staycation tax credit as they did in 2022, which makes sense as the tax credit was meant to encourage Ontarians to rent cottages and have resort vacations. Of course, gas prices are still high so that is another consideration for people who are considering road trips and/or cottage vacations. Because my family spent every summer at a cottage when I was younger, I look forward to a cottage stay every year – it wouldn’t be summer for me if I weren’t swimming in a lake and relaxing on the dock! I am excited about heading to Bracebridge in a few weeks and I’ve already started making a list of what to bring to the cottage. Here are some of my fun essentials to bring to the cottage this summer.
You cannot head out for a summer vacation by the lake without packing a good sunscreen. Vichy’s Capital Soleil line is one I’ve used for several years and I’m very pleased with the quality and application. Vichy Capital Soleil UV Sport SPF 60 is what I wear on my arms and legs when I’m stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking. This sport sunscreen is so light when applied to your skin, you really won’t know you’re wearing it. This SPF 60 sunscreen lotion is water- and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes, after which you’ll have to reapply it.
For my face, I use Vichy Capital Soleil UV Fluid SPF 60. This formula is very light and although it appears white when you apply it on your finger, it absorbs well into your skin and does not leave a white residue. Purchase Vichy Capital Soleil UV Sport SPF 60 and Vichy Capital Soleil UV Fluid SPF 60 for $31.95 online at Vichy Canada.
I generally wear shorts, tees and bathing suits at the cottage, but when I have to go into town for shopping or going out for dinner, I like to change into something a bit more dressy. The Crinkle Knit High-Waist Maxi Skirt is the perfect skirt to bring to the cottage because the flared skirt moves fluidly in a country breeze! Made from 100% polyester, this skirt is fully lined and features a high-rise waist, which is very flattering if you wear it with a tucked in tee. I am wearing the skirt in Peacoat Multi, a floral print with orange, light pink, white, light blue, purple and teal colours, which makes this skirt a very versatile wardrobe item. I’m wearing the skirt with the Mixed Media Crew-Neck T-Shirt with Frilled Chiffon Sleeves, also from RW&CO.
Being at the cottage doesn’t mean I can forget about my skincare routine so I’m packing my SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Interrupter Advanced. This new luxury anti-aging cream helps reverse the signs of aging by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and it leaves your skin feeling firmer. It also gives me a radiant complexion and I love how rich and creamy the texture is. SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Interrupter Advanced is free of parabens, drying alcohol and dyes. You can purchase it online at SkinCeuticals.
Some people enjoy doing puzzles at the cottage, but I discovered that I like adult colouring books! Last summer when I was at the cottage, I came across an adult colouring book in one of the drawers and decided to colour a picture while it was raining one afternoon. Like many people, I find colouring very relaxing! The Large Print Calm Easy Color & Frame adult colouring book on Amazon.ca features 31 colouring pages with nature images such as sea shells, flowers and feathers in large print images. Once you’re finished colouring your image, you can tear it out of the book as each page is perforated. The images are printed on thicker paper so that your colouring will not bleed through.
When I go to the cottage, I make sure to bring a long-sleeve top to cover my arms when I’m walking through bushes or if I’m sitting outside on the dock at night. Who wants mosquito bites? The Eddie Bauer Women’s Favorite Long-Sleeve Crewneck T-Shirt is the perfect top for the cottage because it’s a lightweight material made from 60% cotton and 40% polyester. The high quality combed cotton is combed is treated with a silicone finish to make this women’s tee super soft. The slim fit means it fits great. Although it comes in a variety of colours, I love the Seaglass colour I’m wearing since it has a summery vibe! Purchase online or at Eddie Bauer stores in the Toronto area at Shops at Don Mills, Vaughan Mills and Toronto Premium Outlets.
If you love to read like I do, you’ll definitely want to ensure that you have a good novel packed for the cottage. Elizabeth Hay is one of my favourite Canadian fiction authors. I absolutely loved Late Nights on Air, which won The Giller Prize and I also enjoyed her later book, His Whole Life. Snow Road Station is a continuation of His Whole Life, but it is not necessary to read the latter book to enjoy the former. In Snow Road Station, Lulu, an actor in her 60s, escapes to the lake at Snow Road Station (about an hour and a half north of Kingston, Ontario) after messing up her lines in a play. [Yes, I chose this book to bring to the cottage because it takes place at a lake!] There, she reconnects with her long-time friend Nan, and meets others who help her reconnect with her true self. Hay takes the time to create round characters who think and act in complex ways. She also creates a community, with vivid descriptions of the local people and landscape in beautifully written prose and graciously allows her reader access to that community. Perhaps that’s why her books are so hard to finish: because you don’t want to say goodbye to her characters!
Snow Road Station by Elizabeth Hay is published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada, $32.95. ISBN No. 978-1-03-900332-3
I hope I gave you some good ideas for fun essentials to bring to the cottage. Let me know in the comment section what you think about these items.
You might be interested in reading “Cottage Etiquette: How to Ensure You Get Invited Back.”