For many, going to the summer cottage is a summer ritual. This is a place that just seems to define the season: simple, humble, oriented to nature, basic, and real. There is nothing like a stay at “the camp” to get priorities realigned and rediscover elusive calm. I have been partial to summer cottages since living in a lakeside retreat as an exchange student in Finland. This cottage had no running water and no electricity. Refrigeration was accomplished by placing items in a hole in the ground. Sleeping arrangements consisted of plain sheets and blankets on a futon on the floor. Our days were spent swimming in the lake, picking gooseberries, finding mushrooms, and cooking on an open flame (mostly sausages). The pared down way of life opened by mind to the exhilarating pleasures of living with nature profoundly. I know that this way of life is hard to sustain, and everyone has responsibilities in the “real world”. Yet looking back, I can honestly say that the experience of taking everyday life down to the bone can be a game changer, and truly inspirational.
Princeton Architectural Press published Finnish Summer Houses by Jari Jetsonen a few years ago and it is available on Amazon. This is a great reference and the cottage is never far (much closer than Finland, at least)! Images for this post were taken from google images and photo credits were not available.