Cottage Guest Etiquette
1. Talk shop
Ask what you can bring (and hosts, do tell). Suggest some items, such as a lovely cheese and pâté selection or a pie. Offer to cook at least one meal, and bring everything you need to make it. Don't expect the cottage pantry or local grocery store to stock organic quinoa.
2. Pack well
Ask your host if you should bring your own sheets and towels, and be sure to bring your own sunscreen, bug spray and shampoo. Check first to see if you need to use a special eco-friendly formulation, though.
3. Bring a gift
Steer clear of the loon clock and stick to consumables. A great bottle of wine and the ingredients for a signature cocktail (that you'll mix and serve) are always welcome.
4. Make it clear who's included in the invite
If your kids are coming along, bring everything they need (don't expect the hosts to have stocked up on mac and cheese). If your dog is coming, too, be extra careful to clean up after him and make sure he's not a nuisance.
5. Make yourself useful
Offer to drive in the wonky nails on the dock or to repair a tire swing. Help to tidy up the dock, make meals and do dishes.
If you're going to be there for more than a couple of days, make yourself scarce for an afternoon. Hosting can be exhausting, so knowing you're happily playing golf for an afternoon will give your hosts a little time to unwind.
7. Chip in
If your weekend includes a lot of boating, offer to fill it up with gas. Ask your host how much he shelled out for groceries to restock the fridge and contribute.
8. Follow their lead
If your hosts are yawning after the Scrabble game and inching closer to their bedroom, take the hint and pack it in yourself.
9. Keep it clean
When it's time to leave, ask your hosts what they'd like done with the bedding. Offer to bring recycling home in the car with you or drop garbage at the dump.
10. Leave it behind
If you brought a stack of magazines, see if your host would like them. If you finished -- and loved -- a book when you were there, offer to leave it.