Seven years. That’s how long it took me to get back up to the cottage, the place where my husband spent his summers with his cousins. The first time I visited Fitch Bay we were in college and Alex was just my boyfriend. It’s amazing to think in the time that’s passed, we’ve gotten engaged, married, moved, bought a house, and welcomed Rooney into our family. Being able to share this place with Rooney made my first trip back even more special. I hope that in the years to come she’ll be able to continue the tradition with a new generation of cousins.
We spent six days in our own private room in the bunkhouse thanks to all the hard work Alex’s Aunt, Uncle, and cousins put into renovating it. The top floor still has its childish charm with mattresses laid out for the younger kids to have nightly sleepovers, but the bottom floor has been transformed into rooms for the now aging cousins and our growing families. My favorite new addition might be a toss-up between a bathroom inside the bunkhouse and the outdoor shower just outside the door! It was so relaxing to look out over Fitch Bay while taking a steamy shower during the cool mornings.
Mornings at the cottage were much slower than what we are used to at home. That’s the whole point of being on vacation, right? Relaxing. It’s not a feeling I often experience in my daily grind. Rooney woke up earlier than usual on vacation. She would see us in bed from the corner of her pack and play and laugh then immediately start fussing to get up. Exhausted from staying up late catching up on passed time with everyone, I’d reluctantly pull her in bed for a couple of snuggles before changing her and preparing her breakfast as quietly as possible to avoid waking the others who’d sleep for another couple of hours. We’d walk down to look at the lake and eventually make our way up to the boathouse to share donuts with all the grandparents.
One by one the other littles would show up for their breakfast and we’d begin our day. Since Alex and I are a bit older now and we traveled so far to visit, we figured out a way to maximize our time at the cottage while still getting out to explore some of the surrounding towns in the Eastern Provinces. We made day trips to Stanstead, Coaticook, Ayer’s Cliff, Magog, and Sherbrooke. In the afternoon and early evenings we’d sit out by the lake and play with the kids while soaking up the sun. Of course there was plenty of time for everyone to have their pick from drinking on the beer barge, boating, fishing, skiing, reading, or playing Scrabble.
In the evenings the aunts put together the most fabulous meals. Two stand-outs for me were the low country boil (our American treat) and spaghetti served with Caesar salad and lobster fresh from Nova Scotia.
We are so grateful to have such a special place to get together with our family. We aren’t able to make the trip often enough but I felt like we were truly able to maximize our time by exploring so many places around Fitch Bay. I’ll be sharing details from our day trips around Quebec in the next few posts!
Does your family have a summer vacation home? I’d love to know where you grew up spending your holidays and what kind of traditions you reserved for that special place! Leave me a note in the comments and let’s chat.