cottage life

Summer has sadly come to an end and as winter slowly encroaches on our wistful and elusive memories of boating, sun and swimming, it’s time to think about wrapping up the cottage. There are the obvious steps to take such as storing your outdoor furniture, canoes/kayaks and barbeque, taking in your dock, cleaning out your fridge, making sure all your windows are closed and locked and covering your wood pile. We’ve created a list of things below to ensure you don’t miss anything when it comes to wrapping up the cottage season.

Winterizing your Plumbing

Winterizing plumbing pipes in your cottage is something that can be time-consuming but will save your plumbing from freezing temperatures that can cause leaks and breaks. As water freezes and becomes ice, it expands producing pressure in the pipes. If you’re planning to be away from your cottage for an extended period of time, winterizing your plumbing is highly recommended.

First you will want to shut off the main water valve, turn off the water pump as well as the water heater. Next, you will want to open all drain valves and all taps, and using an air compressor, blow out any excess water that may still be in the pipes. Allow this water to drain out of the hot water and holding tank. As an additional measure, you can add antifreeze to the jet pump case. Flush toilets and remove water from the tanks and toilet bowls. Add antifreeze if there happens to be excess water to prevent the water from freezing and cracking the toilet.

Keep the Sump Pump going

Your sump pump should stay on as it will remove any accumulated water in the basement of your cottage. However, you will want to take precautionary measures such as having a battery backup or wireless alarm. Another option is having a generator backup for your sump pump in case there is ever a power outage. You will need to hire a licensed electrical contractor for this to hook the generator up to the electrical panel.

Roof Maintenance

Inspect your roof for damaged shingles and replace them if necessary. Clean out the gutters as they can cause water to back up under the shingles causing damage to the roof structure below. Trim overhanging branches that could potentially dump extra snow on the roof and wait until all leaves have fell (if possible) before cleaning the gutters.

Leaving the Cottage

Before leaving cottage, ensure all appliances are disconnected. Shut off all breakers at the electrical panel and review your checklist to make sure everything has been completed. Take photos of everything in case there is unrepairable weather damage and you must submit insurance claims. Complete a final inspection of the property, lock up your cottage and enjoy your ride home!

 

Winterizing your cottage can be a big job, we get it. However, by planning ahead and bringing a checklist you’re already well on your way. Another pro tip when wrapping up your cottage is to use the correct vehicle. Here at BOATsmart! our trusted vehicle of choice has and always will be Nissan. The trucks have amazing towing capabilities, safety features and a wide range of to choose from. They are the ultimate vehicle for any outdoor adventure and trusted for all family trips! As a BOATsmart! cardholder, you receive dealer invoice pricing on Nissan vehicles plus any current dealer offers.

Posted By
October 17, 2018


#Categories: Lifestyle, Lifestyle - USA

Looking to escape the city but not necessarily looking for your ordinary campground? If you were planning on heading to the Atlantic coast and eager to explore Virginia Beach, we’ve located some of the coolest places to stay for your weekend getaway. There are tons of great Airbnb’s ranging in all prices, that are right on the famous boardwalk, or just three blocks away from the beach. Whether it be a family fun vacation, quick trip with your best friends or a weekend getaway with a loved on, Virginia Beaches oceanfront has something for everyone.

1. Beach House

This two-story house located in a family neighbourhood is only four minutes away from the beach, VA Beach Convention Center and public transportation. It includes over 30 amenities like a sunroom in the rear that leads to the deck and treed backyard.

2. Beach House with Pool

This bungalow-style cottage includes a backyard pool house with access to the pool and outdoor shower. It’s only 3 1/2 blocks from the ocean and award-winning boardwalk. It includes all your beach essentials like: Beach towels, umbrella, beach blanket, snorkelling gear, etc so you don’t need to pack it yourself for one less thing to worry about!

3. Oceanfront Studio

oceanfront vacation rental studio allows you and three guests to comfortably stay in a newly renovated condo right on the beach! It’s prime location allows all of the area’s greatest attractions to be right at your fingertips.

4. Virginia Beach House

This beautiful 3000 sq ft house with a private back yard near the highly desirable Croatan Beach, is ideal for a big group. It is super spacious and allows for up to 14 guests to stay. The backyard has a cozy deck with twinkling lights and tons of space to make your evening memorable!

5. Oceanfront Dolphin Beach Condo

This location is ideal for families since the attractions are nearby such as the: boardwalk, restaurants/bars, roller coasters and rides, mini golf, arcades, the ocean front and beaches. Not up for the beach trek? Worry not – you also have access to a pool and hot tub in the condo.

6. 1935 Beach Home Luxury

An original 1935 Virginia Beach home restored into an Airbnb beach house with all the modern amenities. It’s located only 3 minutes from the beach and includes a barbecue, sun porch, outdoor yard and Cabana Shower with changing rooms; everything you need to relax and live the luxurious beach life.

7. Beach Quarters Resort

This five star rated Airbnb is perfect for a couple’s getaway weekend! It’s known for having the most amenities of any resort on the beach. Enjoy a game of rooftop tennis or shuffleboard, soak up the sun at the beautiful rooftop pool, and more!

8. VIBE District beach studio

This cozy backyard studio apartment over a detached garage with a private entrance is a great spot for two adults, but has an extra pull out couch for a third person. It even includes two bikes and two beach chairs so you can explore Virginia Beach like a local!

9. Beach Townhouse

This newly renovated 1940’s beach townhouse is only two blocks away from the beach and comfortably sleeps 6! This quaint little townhouse is perfectly located right by the boardwalk and other attractions such as restaurants and bars, coffee shops as well as a grocery store. 

10. Oceanfront Boardwalk Studio

People have said that this Airbnb is so close to the ocean you can taste the salt in the air when you walk outside. It’s located on the North end of the boardwalk which is a touch more quiet than the other side, but still in walking distance to all the boardwalk nightlife and attractions. You’ll additionally have access to a community pool and a designated parking lot right across the street.

 

Virginia Beach offers some amazing attractions such as the beautiful Boardwalk that stretches three miles, restaurants and bars. Whether you’re looking for some peace and quiet, a romantic getaway with your special someone or just a weekend to explore a part of Virginia you’ve never been to before, there is definitely an Airbnb listed for you! Be sure to check out the reviews left by previous users and get in contact with the host to see if one of these spots is right for you. 

Posted By
June 29, 2018


#Categories: FAQ Virginia, Lifestyle - USA

We’re feeling the Royal Wedding buzz in the air just like the other 3 billion people who are expected to be tuning in to the big event this weekend. So, in honour of this monumental event, we’d like to share some delicious, easy recipes that will have you eating like royalty on your boat this Victoria Day Weekend.

Prosciutto Wrapped Pears with Blue Cheese
These decadent appetizers are easy to make and transport in your cooler for a fun day of boating in the sun or a nautical picnic on the dock. The saltiness of the thin prosciutto mixed with the sweetness of the pear and bitterness of the blue cheese is a flavor explosion even the Queen would enjoy.

Avocado Ceviche
Nothing says summer like fresh ceviche and nothing tastes like rich creaminess like avocados. The citrus from the lime or lemon juice is what “cooks” the meat, making it a fresh and tasty meal. Not only is it healthy, we’ve created this recipe to be really easy to make. This delicate meal can be eaten as an appetizer or main dish and is fit for any king or queen of the water.

Ingredients
1/2 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
1/2-pound fresh white fish, filleted
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
cilantro, chopped, to taste
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chopped avocado (keep in a separate bag)

Directions
The key ingredient here is freshness. While this method of “cooking” fish is delicious, it doesn’t kill all potential parasites. For this reason, you should only use freshly caught fish from clean waters.

Chop the fish into 1/4-inch cubes, submerge fish in lime or lemon juice with the other all other ingredients except for the avocado, let cool in the fridge (or cooler) for 30 minutes. Allow the fish to marinate until it becomes opaque, take the bag out and add the avocado. Add salt and pepper to taste, toss into a container and serve with corn chips.

Roast Beef Sandwiches
Nothing beats a good ol’ fashioned roast beef sandwich. Roast beef is a national dish of England and was traditionally made for Sunday dinner served with a side of Yorkshire pudding. For this sandwich you’ll need roast beef left over from family dinner or purchased from the deli, two pieces of bread, horseradish or horseradish sauce, pickle slices and one small onion, sliced. Assemble all ingredients onto the bread and enjoy! This will be a sandwich the Royal Family could enjoy any day of the week!

Deviled Eggs
Need a side dish to accompany your roast beef sandwich? We have just the thing! Deviled eggs of course. This rich side dish is packed with flavour and brings a hearty punch to any boating trip. This dish is typically found at picnics and parties with women who wear gloves and oversized hats and sip their tea with raised pinkies. Well, that might be a bit of a stretch but basically what we’re saying is that these dressed eggs will have your taste buds you will be sending your taste buds cruising with these guys.

Fruit Salad
This is a fresh and light option for those hot days out on the boat to help re-hydrate you and add a little bit of sweetness to your day. Cut up some fresh fruit such as grapes, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, kiwis, bananas and don’t forget watermelons! They are one of the best summer fruit to indulge in and will keep you hydrated and satisfied during your sunny picnic.

Mason Jar Pasta Salad
Okay, it might be a bit of a stretch to think that the Royal Family would eat salad out of a Mason jar but this is a super easy, no-mess option.  With these options for cold pasta salads, it’s a perfect meal to keep you fueled for the rest of the day on the water.

You don’t have to be heirs to the throne to eat like princes or princesses; you just need a little bit of time, some great recipes, open water, a boat and your boating license. Ensure you know the rules of drinking and boating before taking to the water this long weekend and make the best of your unofficial kick-off to summer in royal style.

Posted By
May 18, 2018


#Categories: Boating License, Lifestyle

With the long weekend quickly approaching, we’ve compiled a list of eternally relevant campfire songs for you. The campfire is a place we gather around at the end of a long day; the lingering scent of sunscreen on our skin and lake water in our hair, to share boating stories and sticky smores. It’s a place where the strum of an acoustic guitar can melt all your troubles away while you sing at the top of your lungs, feeling a sense of comradery with your fellow cottagers.

1. Neil Diamond – Sweet Caroline

Good times really never seemed so good when you’re belting this song out with friends and family beside the warmth of a bonfire. This Neil Diamond classic has kept us feeling warm and fuzzy since 1969 and will continue to pop up in our campfire favourites for years to come.

2. Green Day – Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

This campfire song choice might have you reminiscing on your youthful years; graduating from school and promising all your besties that you’ll stay in touch. This song has stayed relevant, unlike your high school BFF’s, with its sentimental lyrics that tap into your adolescent emotions.

3. Barenaked Ladies – If I Had A Million Dollars 

This is a fun sing-along that’s completely relatable on every level. It’s an interactive tune that will be sure to have your campfire audience chiming in on the inter-song chatter and have you day dreaming about how much Kraft dinner you would consume if you had a million dollars.

4. Oasis – Wonderwall

Covered by numerous different artists over the years including Jay Z, Cat Power and Ryan Adams, it continues to live up to its reputation as a song that is hard to keep from singing along to. This can be attributed to its simplicity and lack of pretension, making it a great one to strum by the campfire in the company of friends and family.

5. Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl

There aren’t too many songs out there that are as much of a crowd pleaser as Morrison’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’. The words are reminiscent of young summer love while the chorus will have you singing your heart out with its catchy phrase.

6. Tom Petty – Free Fallin’

This dynamic song, performed by one of the most iconic rock and rollers of our time, will be a massive hit at your next campfire concert. Every guitar player at one point or another has wanted to learn this classic song including John Mayer who gives the love song a gentler vibe. Either rendition you choose to play, you’ll have the girls swooning with this cottage hit.

7. Creedance Clearwater Revival – Down on The Corner

CCR evokes wistful thoughts of a young America and burning social issues of that time. This campfire tune is perfect to play ‘early in the evenin’ just about supper time’ while roasting some hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire and discussing the hot topics of the day.

8. The Steve Miller Band – The Joker

The Joker has been a fun sing-along song since 1973 with its poetic lyrics and upbeat tune keeping it relevant today. This song is best listened to around the campfire while debating the life-long meaning of “the pompatus of love”.

9. Old Crow Medicine Show – Wagon Wheel

Although a newer song, this blue grass tune has quickly made its way into the campfire rotation. This is a uniting song as it connects and speaks to many different people in all walks of life. It was recorded by Darius Rucker as a country song in 2013 so, depending on your style either rendition could work.

10. Zac Brown Band – Chicken Fried

This country campfire song embodies the feeling of summer time and shares a heart-warming message, recognizing the importance of the little things in life. This song will transport you to the South, with typical southern characteristics that make up the lyrics.

So, there you have it, 10 of the best campfire songs (in our opinion) that will have your guests jamming all night long; creating new memories and reminiscing on old stories around the campfire this Long Weekend.

Posted By
May 18, 2018


#Categories: Lifestyle

beach, candle, candlelight

We know that cottage upkeep can be a big job. From water system repair work to fixing up loose shingles; there’s always something to do before relaxing and enjoying your oasis. This Summer, make life a little easier with these smart hacks to ensure you can spend more time creating memories and traditions at the cottage.

1. Natural Mosquito repellents

Mosquitos have been annoying us for years and don’t seem to be stopping any time soon. These frustrating insects can often put a damper on our ability to tap into the true Zen of the outdoors. Here are a few hacks to keep those pesky bugs away:

1. Cut lemons in half and add them to a jar with a handful of cloves. This will repel the mosquitos while giving off a nice sent for you and your guests.

2. Face a fan towards your patio or lounge area to keep mosquitos at bay. They aren’t strong fliers so the air flow from the fan will be enough to keep them away.

3. DIY your own citronella candles to distribute across your property. Citronella is a natural, non-toxic alternative to other chemical repellents such as DEET and is derived from leaves and stems of various lemongrass species.

2. Quickly chill beer

An easy trick to cool your beer on those hot summer days is to place the cans or bottles in a cooler, bucket or large bowl and cover with ice and water until the beer is completely submerged. Add more ice on top to ensure total coverage and then sprinkle a thin layer of salt on top. Wait about five minutes, pick up a beer and enjoy your refreshing, cool beverage.

3. Make a water-jug lamp

For those unreal, memorable days that carry on into the hours of the night; singing around a campfire, sharing fishing stories and smores, there’s a way to shed some extra light on the party. Grab a headlamp or flashlight and press it against a gallon bottle full of water. This will add some illumination and help keep the good times rolling.

4. Homemade fire starters

There’s a new use for all that dryer lint… who would have thought? Fill a cardboard egg carton with the lint, melt some old candles, pour the wax over the lint and then let it dry. Once the wax has dried, cut the individual carton cups to use for your next bonfire.

5. Use frozen grapes to keep wine cool

This is a great hack for wine-lovers everywhere. Instead of adding ice cubes to your wine which will water it down, freeze grapes ahead of time as a replacement. These will keep your wine nice and cool on those hot cottage days spent lazing on the dock and will look really nice as well!

6. Beach towel pockets

This hack will take the stress out of carrying everything you need for a day in the sun, without trying to perform a juggling act that you’ve never rehearsed before. Find a large towel and fold it over about six inches. Using a sewing machine, make six pockets for all your beach or dock necessities to be neatly stored in. Now you can start catching those rays hassle-free!

7. Aloe vera ice cubes

It’s often inevitable that at some point throughout the summer we’re too preoccupied to reapply that third coat of sunscreen and at the end of the day we’re feeling a little crispy. Be prepared for that burn by freezing aloe vera lotion in an ice tray and popping them out when needed to soothe your skin.

8. Smartphone sand protector

If you prefer spending your days on the beach; this cottage hack is for you! There’s nothing more frustrating than sand infiltrating every crevasse of your phone after a sunny day at the beach. Next time you’re headed to the beach, bring a plastic Ziploc bag with you. As long as the bag doesn’t have any holes, your phone should be safe from drops of water and sand.

9. DIY outdoor speaker

Speakers are an essential part to any cottage outing, but quality speakers can typically cost you a pretty penny. Create your very own “bucket speaker” using orange utility buckets, a 5-inch woofer, a 2.5-inch tweeter cut-out, and plywood to keep the party rocking all summer long.

10. Muffin tin egg breakfast

This is a quick and easy breakfast you can whip up for the whole family, so you can spend as much time outside as possible. Place English muffins, eggs and precooked bacon into greased sections of an oversized muffin tin and bake at 375 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes.

The cottage is a place to escape to and enjoy with the whole family, but that can often be hard to do when there is so much upkeep. Hopefully, with these cool and easy cottage hacks, you can cut some corners and get back to soaking up the sun and singing your favorite tunes around the campfire.

Posted By
May 14, 2018


#Categories: Lifestyle, Tips & Tricks

Meat Burger With Coleslaw on Side and Brown Handled Fork

With BBQ season upon us, why not spice things up this Mother’s Day with a fiery spin on some traditional brunch plates?  Cooking on the BBQ sparks memories of warm days at the cottage, a cold drink in your hand and the sound of laughter filling the air. There’s really nothing quite like gathering around the BBQ after a fun-filled day at the cottage and enjoying a mouth-watering meal with the entire family.

 

Bacon egg burger

Is there anything better than bacon and eggs? Some might say no; so, we’re here to challenge that theory by adding a whole lot of beefy goodness. This BBQ brunch burger may be confused for a dinner-time meal, but don’t let that deter you. The egg creates a rich, creamy sauce and the bacon adds that crunchy texture (also, it’s bacon). This will be a huge brunch win and a sure-fire way to get in mom’s good books!

 

Grilled French toast kebabs

Treat mom to this heavenly French toast dish and it will transport you both back to your youthful years with the sweet smell of warm bread drizzled with maple syrup and crisp, salty bacon on the side.  You’ll need to factor in some preparation time to leave the bread cubes on skewers overnight ensuring optimal egg absorption, but these little guys are totally worth it!

 

Grilled breakfast tacos

Tacos for brunch, you ask? Don’t worry, you can thank us later. With tomatoes and corn being at the top of their game in the Summer, why not take advantage? Scrambled eggs and melted cheese are the base of this brunch taco; mix in some grilled chorizo sausage, grilled tomatoes and sweet corn and wrap it all up in a corn tortilla for your new favorite Mexican-inspired BBQ brunch dish.

 

Sausage, egg and cheese pizza

This breakfast pizza is breaking brunch boundaries everywhere as a sharable meal the whole family can enjoy.  With the spice from the sausage, the creaminess from the cheese and the buttery egg on top, your taste buds will be thanking you for this new rendition on a traditional favorite. The BBQ adds a smoky flavour to the dough, which you can either make yourself or buy already-prepared.

 

Grilled sandwiches with smoky pesto

Turn your classic grilled cheese into a melt-in-your-mouth decadent brunch option by adding gruyere cheese and grilled zucchini. Use a smoked paprika to the pesto and enhance the rustic, earthy flavors from the grill to this tasty sandwich. This new spin on an old classic will have you reminiscing on the good old days and will be sure to keep mom happy this Mother’s Day.

 

Eggs benedict in a Portobello mushroom

Portobello mushrooms have been completely under-rated and it’s time that changed! This mushroom has a meaty texture for those of you looking for a meat replacement and goes well with a side of mimosa. The mushroom caps make a perfect little bed for the eggs to sit in on the grill while you whip up a delicious and easy hollandaise sauce to drizzle on top.

 

Grilled corn muffins with blueberry honey butter

This summer-time delight is the perfect dish to accompany a warm cup of coffee. Take the crispy corn muffins off the grill and drizzle with the easy-to-make, homemade blueberry honey butter. You’ll find it difficult to stop at just one!

 

Avocado eggs on the grill

Oh avocado, you complement so many wonderful dishes, it’s time you were the main event! Rub some barbecue seasoning on the inside of the avocado and make room for the eggs to lay in it. Put them on the grill for about 5 minutes and voila, you have a fast and easy meal! Now you can enjoy some extra quality time with mom on Mother’s Day.

 

Grilled asparagus and poached egg on ciabatta

This BBQ brunch option is a great way to get your veggies in – mom will be so proud! Grill the asparagus and the ciabatta bun on the BBQ while the eggs are being poached. Lay the poached eggs on top of the bun and asparagus and shave some fresh parmesan on top to heighten your tastebud experience.

 

Get BBQ brunchin’ with these easy and delicious options that will have you cooking your way into mom’s heart while enjoying the beauty and tranquility of the outdoors. You can make some new memories around the grill with new and inspiring dishes to show mom just how much she means to you this Mother’s Day.

Posted By
May 11, 2018


#Categories: Lifestyle

boatsmart boater gift guide header

The search is over: we’ve made the ultimate gift guide for your boater dad, outdoorsy cousin, and cottage-loving in-laws. Are they tech-savvy, accident-prone, or just a friendly fisherman? We’ve got something for them all. Whether they’ve been nice or “knotty,” every boater deserves one of these top ten nautical holiday presents.

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