With summer almost here (43 days and counting until it's official), it's time to start getting everything ready for life at the lake. I'm looking forward to days spent on the water and warm evenings.
It seems like every day more docks are being pushed out and boats are out on the water. Most of the marinas are already open and getting stocked up for boaters to arrive. Cabins and summer trailers are being opened, yard cleanup has started and yard lights are being strung up.
There's something about being at the cabin. Or cottage. Or lake house. Whatever you want to call it, being away in the forest or on the lake is the best. For us, my grandma's cabin is where we get to see my cousins, aunts and uncles. We all live in different places but the cabin is the one place that is common to us all.
When we were little, we'd all have big sleepovers on the floor of the family room. One year, my grandma stitched our names onto sleeping bags so that we could all tell our beds apart. We'd watch movies at bedtime and everyone would just fall asleep wherever they were. It's part of the magic of being at the cabin. That worked well when we were little, it's a little harder to fit all us in now. We're all getting older now and don't get to see everyone at the same time as much anymore but when we're at the cabin, there's usually one other family around for some of it and then we start doing a lot of the things we've been doing for as long as I can remember.
Campfires & S'mores
We have traditions that come with being at the cabin - there's usually a night of dinner cooked over the campfire followed by enough s'mores to feed the neighbourhood. My grandma has a bucket of supplies that's easy to bring down - I don't think I've ever seen it empty, she keeps it pretty stocked.
We also spent a lot of time playing cards. There are a few games we've all learned growing. When we were younger, she had a box where any electronics had to go - phones, ipods, ipads, computers. We could have access to it at certain times of the day but she didn't want everyone sitting around on their devices at the lake. Last summer, one of my older cousins and his family we visiting and we played charades and I'm pretty sure the girls team was cheating.
Swim across the Shuswap Lake
Most days, we'll head out on the boat. My grandma has a pontoon boat which is awesome for when we're all at the cabin. We actually ski behind the pontoon boat a lot and thankfully we've got some family and friends who let us come surfing sometimes too. Anyway, most days even if we're not going anywhere, we'll get on to the boat, drive it to the middle of the lake and swim. At least once a summer, we'll swim across the lake with the boat slowly going along side of the swimmers. The prize at the end is ice cream. What I now know is that the prize for our parents is the kids would fall asleep early on the annual swim day.
Chasing waterfalls & big Shuswap views
Every year, we go on at least one new adventure with the cousins. As we all get older and have other stuff going on in the summer, we don't quite have as much time with all of the families together. My dad and I are trail runners so we get out on a lot of adventures but usually each summer we'll find a new trail to bring everyone else on at least once.
Live music by the water
We're really lucky that there are so many events around the lake with markets and live music around the lake. A couple of our favourites are Wednesdays on the Wharf in Salmon Arm and Thursdays in Blind Bay. The Blind Bay one is my favourite because there's usually other stuff to see and do as well - food trucks, old cars and a market. We usually grab dinner along the way and it gets everyone out of the house for a bit. We always run into people we know which is awesome too. I think the adults like it the most but it's not a bad way to spend the evening.
Early morning skis on Shuswap Lake
My mom and her brother and sister are always up for an early ski. Especially around long weekends as more people head out to the cabin, the water can get so rough as the day goes on. So the rule has always been we don't wake anyone up for a ski. Whoever is up and ready to go can come but we don't wake anyone. There have been lots of mornings where we go out, ski nice quiet water and occasionally stop for an early morning ice cream on the way back. We don't usually talk about the ice cream... what happens on the boat, stays on the boat.
Yard games at the Cabin
My grandma has a big collection of outdoor yard games - Ladder Golf, yatzee, bocce, Cornhole, Spikeball, Kubb, football. When I was little, she had a neighbour who would organize big tournaments with all of our families which was a ton of fun.
Our annual jump off the dock into Shuswap Lake Instagram pic
That's exactly what it sounds like. It happens around sunset and whoever is at the lake comes down to the dock and we all run and jump in at the same time. My mom takes pictures. Except there was one year where one of my cousins who hadn't been to the cabin for a while was like are you all crazy? why are we doing this? She came around eventually.
I am sure there are more traditions but those are some of the best ones. Curious about your favourite traditions at the cabin.