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The Cottage Swan Song party essentials

Just in time for Labour Day weekend, we round up what you need to give summer a big wet kiss goodbye.
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Erin Henderson, August 30, 2013 10:11:44 AM

It’s the last “official” long weekend of summer, but don’t mourn it just yet: bid adieu to cottage season with a weekend to remember, and save the tears for the traffic jam back to the city on Monday.

Grab some buds
What makes a memorable party? The people you love to hang with the most. Invite your nearest and dearest for a weekend away, but be careful with who you ask to join the party: being in close quarters with others can bring out the worst in people so make sure your guest list is heavy on personalities who like to roll with the punches, not throw them.

Decide on who is going to do what. This obviously can shake down in a number of ways from assigning specific food items for pot luck fun or appointing specific meals to various friends. I would recommend shaking it up a bit – maybe have a friendly War of the Sexes to see who can out-do each other in the kitchen: perhaps pit the Girls’ Gourmet Grill against the Boys’ Bountiful Breakfast.

One of the best parts about cottaging, besides everything, is taking advantage of farm stands you encounter along the drive. Peaches, corn, apples, beans, Swiss chard, kale, potatoes… this is one of the most bountiful times of the year, so take advantage of it! Throw out the recipe book and cook with gusto and instinct.

As for beverages, there’s plenty local product to help pay homage to Mother Nature. Beers like Muskoka Craft Lager, River Rock Bitter, Thirsty Beaver Amber Ale, or Cracked Canoe all help frame the party. And wineries are no slouch in this department either: Coyote’s Run, Riverview, Hinterland, Poplar Grove and Stag’s Hollow are just a few Canadian wineries named in honour of their rural setting.

Sure, reading in a hammock is an activity, and a cottage worthy one at that, but why not up the ante a bit?

On one particular cottage getaway, the gentlemen in our group developed a weekend-long fixation on balancing on the edges of a canoe and timing who could do it the longest. Sure, that kind of banality seems a tad ridiculous now, but it made for some great laughs at the time and in the re-telling of stories long after the weekend came to a close.

Care for more highbrow fun? Why not host a dockside wine and cheese?

Care for S’mores?
Most definitely a highlight of any cottage retreat, is roasting marshmallows and s’mores over an open fire under a blanket of stars. Feasting on gooey, sugary treats still warm from the fire while reliving the hilarity of the weekend is the perfect way to end the summer and create great stories to get you through until next year.

Have a great long weekend!

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