Gift Ideas...for the Lake
And just like that, the holidays are upon us. It's a great time to think about the lake lovers in your life...but do a Google search “lake cabin gifts” and you get seven pages of nautical-themed pillows and coozies with fish on them. Don't get me wrong, part of the charm of lake culture is the kitsch. But I think there are also some quality options to help all enjoy our lake experiences even more. As someone who grew up at the lake, here are my top-ten-non-cheesy gift ideas for the lake or lake cabin.
For the Stargazer: The Celestron Cometron 114AZ Telescope
The lake is a great place to take up stargazing. You're away from city lights and the darkness makes it easier to get a good look at the night sky. And surprisingly, a good telescope does not need to break the bank. The Celestron Cometron 114AZ reflector telescope doesn't have all the bells and whistles and focuses instead on quality optics. The 114-millimeter mirror captures plenty of light. Its wide field of view is well-suited for seeing objects larger than your average star, like galaxies, planets and comets. The tripod is simple but sturdy and setup is easy. It's under 10 pounds, so it's easy enough to toss it in your trunk before you head to the lake. $179, celestron.com
For the Boater: Anchor Buddy
My friend Sam swears by this product and that it's saved the bow of his boat a dozen times over (see his full review here). It's basically a nylon mooring rope with a bungee cord inside, making it great for anchoring offshore, or near a beach. The Anchor Buddy allows you to pull your boat to shore, or you can slack your shore line and leave it moored in deeper water. It is also good for rough water because it takes the shock out of your line and won't pull your anchor loose. Stretches from 14 - 50 feet. Great for day use on the lake. About $30 and available at your local boat shop, or on amazon.com.
For the Fam: Board Games
There is nothing better than unplugging and connecting with friends and family with board games. Here are some sure-fire winners that are perfect for being at the lake any time of year:
Bananagrams – Easy to learn, fast-paced and perfect for any family. Especially those with little ones learning to spell.
7 Wonders – Why not make family night educational? This one gets heaps of great reviews.
The Settlers of Catan – “Settlers manages to be effortlessly fun, intuitively enjoyable, and still intellectually rewarding, a combination that's changing the American idea of what a board game can be.” -Wired Magazine
Ticket To Ride – Extremely popular, light strategy game that's easy to learn and does not take long to play (45 minutes). Fun for adults and kids of all ages (except the very young).
HedBanz Game – Goofy guessing game of "What Am I"? for kids.
Sequence – A board game and a card game mix. An oldie but a goodie.
Qwirkle Board Game - A major award winner, Qwirkle is a game of strategy where you score by building rows of blocks related by shape and / or color. No reading required, so even younger kids can enjoy it.
Blokus - Fun for both kids and adults, Blokus is a strategy board game that challenges spatial thinking.
Cards Against Humanity – a hilarious (adults only) game that's as "awkward and hilarious" as you and your friends. Free download available on their website.
For the Chef: Pizzacraft Mini Square Pizza Stones
Here's a great way to keep being able to cook and eat outdoors at the lake, but not the same ol' same ol' burgers and steaks. Kids can help make the dough and then create their own pizzas. These ceramic stones help you finish your unique pizza creations on the grill. $39.99, pizzacraft.com
For the Host: Blankets and Throws
At the cabin, drape throws on the backs of outdoor dining chairs to offer warmth-as-needed for guests—and another punch of color. Or keep them inside on the couch for those cool spring or fall evenings. $29, westelm.com
For the Picnicker: Outdoor Blanket
Perfect for a picnic on the beach, this blanket is substantial. In thick woven cotton, it makes hard ground more hospitable. Lively colors and attached carrying handles. Size: 60 x 60 inches. $25, worldmarket.com
Happy Holidays from Lakebound! What lake-related gifts are going to be on your list this year?