When I was a kid growing up in Westville my best friend and her family would pack up on Grading Day and head to their cottage. I remember walking up her driveway with our report cards in hand and her mum would be packing the car with laundry baskets filled with neatly folded packets of shorts and t-shirts that would outfit her four beach bums for the summer. Even though I was lucky enough to have swimming pool in the back yard that my Dad kept so clean you could tell if a quarter was heads or tails in the deep end, I couldn’t wait to get an invite to join my pal at the beach. I loved going to visit and oh how I loved that cottage. As much as I enjoyed the sunny days on beach with my friend and her cottage buddies and exploring mysterious places like “Soap Rock Caves,” I think it was the rainy days I loved the best. The days that we spent inside the sun porch playing Risk and singing along to the Bay City Rollers and Cat Stevens on the record player. I loved the smell of the wood burning in the fireplace that mingled with the salt in the air and the way my sandy feet connected with the colorful braided mats on the floor. Some day, I told myself, I would have my own cottage.

Well I am still waiting for that someday to come. My husband and I missed a couple of great opportunities when our children were young and then sports started to hijack the summer calendar. Our answer like my own parents to was to put a pool in the back yard and buy a pop up camper for weekend get-a-ways. While I am still besotted with owning a cottage or maybe someday having a permanent home at the beach I will never regret those nights cozied up in our little camper and trying a bathe my babies in a sink not much bigger than a mixing bowl. The swimming pool in the backyard became our little oasis and I am pretty sure the S’mores made around our backyard campfires were just as good as if the marshmallows were toasted on the beach.

But it is still my infatuation with cottage life that inspired our summer issue and we take you for a visit to two very special places in Braeshore, Pictou County. The images of Doris Young with three of her great grandchildren will melt your heart faster than a popsicle on a hot day in July. Doris and her family now four generations deep have celebrated over fifty years of summer time at their cottage on the Northumberland Strait. It’s a legacy that is not over yet. A little further down the beach the MacDonald family are really just starting their story and have created a haven of happiness complete with their own putting green.

It’s summer time. I really hope that we land on the right side of the jet stream for the next couple of months and we are blessed with “Sunny Days.”

Wherever your summer takes you I hope you find your happy place. Whether you find yourself at the cottage, a favorite campsite or simply with your feet up on a lawn chair in the backyard, I hope your summer sparkles with a little magic, because just like a good trick it will be over in a blink of an eye.

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Crystal Murray
Crystal likes to think about her forays in journalism like interval training. " I have had a wonderful freedom to be home when I needed to be and work when the spirit moved me. In the spaces between I have learned things about myself, my family and my community that I hope will find a rightful place in the new and refreshed pages of At Home on the North Shore. "