Cottage Etiquette: Did You Know They Don't Have a Toilet?
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Cottage Etiquette: Did You Know They Don't Have a Toilet?

What to ask before going to a friend's cottage

So you have been invited to a friend’s cottage for the weekend and you rushed right over here to find the proper etiquette to use while you’re at a cottage.  Right?  OK, so you were just browsing and happened to come across this article.  Well, believe it or not, there really is proper etiquette for this situation too.  As in all situations, etiquette is about how you conduct yourself and treat other people.

It is extremely important to remember these two things: 1-This is a cottage and is probably not as well stocked as your host’s home. 2-Your hosts are on holidays too and do not want to be spending this valuable time          cooking and cleaning. With these two facts in mind, pack your luggage light, making sure you include personal items like toothpaste, eco friendly soap and shampoo (especially if you need to wash in the lake), bug spray, sun screen, towels, first aid kit, and a flashlight.  Nights can be cool on the water, so make sure you bring a jacket or heavy sweater.  You could also bring your own linens if you want to save your host extra laundry.  A small gift might also be a nice touch and will certainly increase your chance of being invited back next year.

Pick up after yourself and keep your things neat and tidy.  If you track in sand you can find a broom and sweep up.  There are always chores at a cottage and good etiquette requires you pitch in and help.  There will always be something you can do. Keeping etiquette in mind, why not bring along the ingredients to cook a meal for your hosts.  Bring a bottle of their favourite wine to go with it, and don’t forget to clean up your mess.  Everyone can pitch in to do the dishes after, but do clean up the counters and what pots and pans you can before dinner. Try to be a good sport by joining in what ever is planned for the weekend. Sitting out a game or any other tradition that goes with their time at the cottage would be considered poor etiquette. 

When someone is obviously not enjoying themselves, it puts a definite damper on the fun others are having. We all love music, but not necessarily each others.  If you have brought along music, try not to impose it on others.  Even if your hosts do not object, there may be other cottages close by who do not appreciate your choices or the loudness.  Keep it low so only you can hear it. It is a good idea to find out ahead of time, what facilities are available at the cottage.  It may not have plumbing or electricity.  There may be restrictions on how much water you can use or how many times you can flush the toilet (if at all).  If you do not think you can live without your cell phone or the TV or your idea of a shower does not include fish, it might be best to decline the offer. And as a last thought, remember that the bugs have always been there and your host cannot control the weather, so use your newly learned cottage etiquette and go with the flow.  

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