Your Lake Escape Checklist

The annual pilgrimage to the shoreside Up North cabin is a rite of passage for many a Michigander. Make this the best one yet. 

  1. Bring a length of clothesline for drip-drying bathing suits and hosting impromptu games of beach-ball volleyball.
  2. Eat pie for breakfast.
  3. Keep a wide, shallow pan of water near the front door for quick, de-sanding foot dips prior to entering the cottage.
  4. Simmer bratwursts for 20 minutes in a mixture of light beer and sliced onions before tossing them on the grill.
  5. Pack a jelly jar with a screw-on cap for each child to fill with sand, stones and other lakeshore keepsakes.
  6. Weight your tablecloth with beach stones.
  7. Make white sangria. Slice one orange, one lemon and one lime and set aside. In a large pitcher, combine 5 tablespoons sugar, 2 bottles pinot grigio, 3/4 cup brandy and 1/2 cup Cointreau. Stir thoroughly to dissolve sugar, add citrus slices and chill at least 2 hours to let flavors mingle. Serves 8.
  8. Bring a journal to keep a “lake log” of memories, kid doodles, pressed wildflowers, etc.
  9. Have a watermelon-seed or cherry-pit spitting contest.
  10. Invite the cottage neighbors over for beers and Euchre.
  11. Build a bonfire.
  12. Make Baileys toasted marshmallows. A grown-up twist on the campfire classic, for when the kids have gone to bed: Pour some Baileys Irish Cream into a bowl. Dunk marshmallows in Baileys before roasting on a stick or metal skewer over the fire.
  13. Go fishing at sunrise.
  14. Set out a bowl of fresh washed local fruit for snacking.
  15. Skip stones at sunset.
  16. Skinny dip (after dark).
  17. Play the watermelon crawl: grease a watermelon with Crisco then try to wrestle it past each other in the lake.
  18. Look for constellations on clear nights.
  19. Decorate your table with daisies in a Ball jar.
  20. Compete for the biggest cannonball splash.
  21. Nap on the porch swing.
  22. Craft a sand castle. Don’t forget the moat.

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