Even though the winter was long and cold, and it may not really seem like it, spring is on the way. If you’re the type that doesn’t get up to the cottage during winter and it has been sitting unoccupied for the past few months, now is a good time to refresh your memory on all things you need to do to open it back up.

All of North Muskoka …(Lake of Bays, Skeleton Lake, Fairy Lake, Waseosa Lake, etc) experienced a lot of snow and many frigid nights. So, as soon as it warms up a little and starts to feel like spring, make the trip up and get started:

Check the Perimeter

Before you survey any damage or changes to the cottage itself, do a quick walk-around the property. If your cottage sits on several acres you probably won’t walk around the entire perimeter, but at least check around the cottage for downed lines, fallen trees or other problems that require your attention.

If there are power lines down, stay clear and call the utility company that services your cottage right away, before you continue your inspection.  They will advise you on the best way to handle the situation.

Check the Exterior

Once you’ve determined the perimeter is clear, you can check the exterior of the cottage more closely. The work you’ll have to do usually includes things like taking down shutters, patching up holes, replacing shingles, cleaning and tightening up loose eavestroughs, reconnecting pipes and fixing any other damage that’s occurred since you have last been there.

During your time outside checking both the perimeter and the exterior of the cottage, take the time to gather up sticks and brush that you can use for bonfires or  a wood stove later on.

Check the Interior

With any luck, the inside of the cottage will look the same as when you winterized and left it, but that’s not always the case. One issue that many cottagers face is when wildlife has found a way in and used their cottage for a warm place to stay overt the winter.

That’s not to say you’ll have families of raccoons or skunks in your bed, but look for any damage or entry holes that need fixing before you settle in.  Also, check your appliances to make sure no critters are living in there before you turn them on.

You’ll also want to prime and start the pump if you have one, fill your hot water tank and stock up on all the things you need for a fun spring, summer and fall. This includes non-perishable food, first aid items, candles and matches and batteries for flashlights.

If you’re a cottage regular, you know that there will be little extras to pick up as the weather gets warmer, but this initial visit and restoration after the winter should take care of most of the major stuff, so you can enjoy yourself the rest of the way!