Now that spring is more or less here, many of us are preparing for the first long weekend of the season – May 2-4 (Victoria Day) weekend. For those with cottages, this might be the time of year you open it up – getting it ready for the summer season.

Whether you’re packing up the car with your kids and the dog, or going with a large group of friends, there are some things you will need in order to have a fun and relaxing time at the cottage.

Pack Your Bags

May generally sees the temperatures go up, but you’re not entirely out of the woods in terms of cooler temps, as rain, wind, and lower overnight temperatures can really cool it off. If your cottage is north, there might be a significant difference in the weather up there compared to Southern Ontario. Because of this, it’s important to pack layers.

The days might be sunny and warm, but make sure you have sweaters and pants for those evenings by the campfire. If it rains, you’ll want cozy sweatshirts and pants for indoor activities, or raincoats and boots if you’re planning on going outdoors.

Unless you have a hot tub, bathing suits probably aren’t needed, as the lake will likely be freezing!

For footwear, sandals are fine for walking around the property, but if you plan to go on a longer hike, running shoes or hiking boots are best.

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Grab Some Chow

One of the best parts of a cottage long weekend is the food! You can fire up the grill and have a great Canadian cookout in the fresh, open air. The week leading up to the weekend can be hectic, making it hard to get to the grocery store. And when you finally do make it there, it’s crowded because everyone is trying to buy last minute groceries before hitting the road. You can order steaks, ribs, chicken, sausages, pork chops, burgers and more, online for pickup. It’s so easy! WagJag Grocery has over 40 pickup locations to choose from, so you can pack and go!

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Bites and Burns

In addition to packing clothes and footwear, it’s important to pack basic toiletries, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, cleanser, and more. You’ll also want to pack sunscreen, as you’ll likely be spending more time outdoors than you usually do. Even if it doesn’t feel hot, you can still get a sun burn after prolonged exposure. Stay in the shade when possible!

In Ontario cottage country, blackfly season typically runs from the middle of May till the end of June. If you’ve ever experienced this, you know this is no laughing matter. If you plan to go outside a lot on your long weekend, pack insect repellant.

You should also pack some first aid items, such as bandages, rubbing alcohol, aloe vera, and ice packs.

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Sweet Dreams

After a winter of being closed down, blankets and linens can get a little musty. Keep your cottage bedding fresh by bringing up new pillows and sheet sets so that everyone gets a good night’s sleep.

You’ll also want fresh, fluffy towels for bathroom, so you can enjoy some comforts of home while you’re “roughing it.”

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Relax

Cottage weekends are about leaving your cares behind! Be sure to pack some books and magazines so you can catch up on your reading. Make yourself a nice hot cup of tea and enjoy your weekend away.

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By Allison Webster