If you’re renting a cottage this summer, take care of it as you would your own home.


Dear renters,

Before we spend an entire week living together — you, a family of humans and pets; and me, a cottage — I wanted to drop you a line. You know, to break the ice.

I’m sure you’re all extremely excited to get out of the city for a vacation by the lake this summer, and no doubt things will get hectic as soon as you come through my door.

The funny thing about renting a cottage (like me) that’s different from other vacations, is that, to put it bluntly, I actually belong to somebody. I’m not just a one-night fling of a hotel room.

No, I belong to a fabulous, warm, and caring family who built me from the ground up many years ago, and raised their children inside my walls.

I’ve kept them warm and toasty in the winter months, and cool and shaded in the heat of the summer. I’ve heard their laughter and their tears, and I’ve watched them grow and change. Now their children have become adults themselves, and have children of their own.

So, you see, I’m not just four walls and a roof. I have a history, and I hope to have a future.

But that depends on the present, which is where you come in, dear renters. The present is an interesting time for me, what with the owners renting me out. I’ve met some really nice people, and I’ve been badly wounded by others who just don’t treat me with the respect I deserve.

I realize that you have paid to live within my walls, but that doesn’t mean you can abuse me.

Take care of me as you would your own home. Try not to break, damage or destroy anything. And if you do, especially if it’s an accident, let the owners know as soon as possible.

Once a little girl scratched her initials in my woodwork and it took the owners years to see it. When they did, it was too late to fill in properly. Oh, how I wish my walls could talk!

So, I implore you: When renting a cottage, treat the place gently. Make yourselves at home, but use your common sense.

Turn lights off during the day to conserve energy, especially the outside lights. Bring outdoor cushions inside if it’s raining. If the flowers look thirsty, water them. Don’t jump around on the couch. And please don’t colour on my walls or blankets.

I’m sure we’re going to have a great week, rain or shine. But remember that when you leave, another family will be coming in after you. So take out all of your garbage, and clean the place up.

Leave me just as you found me — the perfect vacation cottage rental — and have a great summer.


The Great Canadian Escape


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