Winter at the Cottage
It's hard to imagine a world without WIFI, but if I've been MIA this weekend it's because I've found just that world. This weekend, eleven city-dwellers piled onto the road and headed North to a cabin in the woods.
So long Toronto! Hello Haliburton...
I wrote about the awful November weather here last week, and at first it seemed like the bare and grey landscape had followed us out of the city; but that sky wasn't needlessly cloudy. ...
… Because soon enough it started to snow! Our first snow of the year! It looked like it was just going to be a dusting, but we woke up in winter wonderland.
Here's our little home away from home under its blanket of snow. Keen to enjoy our first taste of winter, we bundled up and headed down to the lake.
There's something about fresh snow that makes everything more romantic. Don't these couples make you want to buy a toque a start a snowball fight?
After getting our fill of the cold we headed back inside for everyone's favourite cold-weather cottaging activity: board games!
The best game I discovered this weekend is Sequence. You play in teams to try and be the first to establish a sequence of cards on the board. The game play is super simple and easy to learn, but requires a good amount of strategy. I'm always a fan of games that don't put too much emphasis on luck and don't need a lot of explaining. Sequence definitely became the crowd favourite and we played round after round. It would make a great Christmas present for the board-game enthusiast in your life.
A game that caused me slightly more anxiety was Spoons. In the middle of the circle are ten spoons, but we were playing with eleven people. Everyone gets four cards and you take turns passing new cards around and discarding. The first person to get four-of-a-kind dives for a spoon and everyone else has to grab one too. The person left without a spoon is out, and there always has to be one less spoon than the number of people playing. Much nail-gouging, elbowing, and frantic scrambling ensues. Turns out spoons are pretty sharp around the edges when you're fighting off ten other people.
When it came time for dinner we were faced with a relatively contemporary urban problem. Of the eleven people at the cottage, three are gluten-free, two are dairy-free, two are vegetarian, and two are allergic to shellfish. What could we possibly make to satisfy everyone's hunger and dietary requirements? The answer: TACOS! The great thing about tacos is that you can prep a bunch of options for fillings and everyone can customize their dinner to fit their needs. We even got big romaine lettuce leaves to serve as wraps for those who can't eat tortillas. I was pretty excited when we thought of this, and am definitely going to keep the idea on file for dinners in the city. It's a great way to make sure that everyone gets to eat exactly what they want and all allergies can be easily accommodated.
There was a birthday-girl among us and her fabulous boyfriend found a magical cake that everyone could eat! Voila is a gluten-free bakery with locations in Oakville and Ottawa. They pride themselves on catering to customers with Celiac disease and diabetes; they also offer vegan, dairy-free, egg-free, and corn-free options. Voila has everything from breads and cookies to pizza and pasta. Make sure you check out their website because some items, like cakes for example, need to be ordered a day in advance. The double chocolate cake we had was delicious!
Here's our wacky gang, making the most of winter and embracing the wilderness! Our trip has definitely cheered up my November. Winter isn't nearly so bad with good friends, good food, and good fun. Bring on the snow Toronto!