Home Sweet Vacation Home

1 Aug

Letterbalm English CottageDear LetterBalm: My wife and I have a weekend cottage in a small village upstate. We enjoy going there to recover from the work week. In the summer, we hike and garden, and in the winter we cross-country ski and relax in front of a blazing fire. We like the privacy and peace and quiet; rarely do we invite guests. Recently, a group of professionals bought vacation houses around the village. They travel in a noisy herd and do everything together – barbecues, dinners, sports events, Sunday brunch. They don’t associate with folks from the village and bring all their alcohol, produce, meat, etc. from the city. This bothers us because the locals are good people, and we like to shop and eat locally. My wife and I think they’re snobs, but we don’t know how to get rid of them politely when they keep asking us to join them for parties, dinners and sports. If we wanted to hang out with people like them, we’d stay in the city.


There’s nothing more annoying than having one’s peace and quiet shattered by loudmouth boors who hijack country life. Ms. L.B. commends you and your wife for using your time off for genuine relaxation. You’ve undoubtedly discovered wonderful pubs and shops offering local produce and artisanal foods, not to mention fascinating folks to talk to and breathtaking vistas to admire. You and your wife are probably welcomed as longtime residents by now. You owe the traveling herd nothing. Work up a list of barely polite refusals, offering no excuses or details; if you keep saying no, eventually they’ll give up. Try these:

  • Thank you for thinking of us, but we must decline.
  • Our weekends are taken up with things around the house. We won’t be able to join you, but thank you for the invitation.
  • We never go out during our time here, except for brief forays to the village. So, I’m afraid we’ll have to say no to your invitation. Thank you, though.
  • We prefer to use our time here for rest and recuperation from city life. Really, we’re just homebodies and private people, and we don’t accept social invitations and don’t entertain. But thank you for thinking of us.
  •  How kind of you to think of us, but I’m afraid we won’t be able to join you.

4 Responses to “Home Sweet Vacation Home”

  1. afternoonofsundries 08/02/2014 at 10:29 pm #

    I love advice columns and blogs. They are just so very interesting! It doesn’t look like this is the kind of thing you post about but, i could be wrong! I nominated you for the Versatile blogger award and the sunshine blogger award:http://afternoonofsundries.wordpress.com/2014/08/02/oh-wow-thank-you-so-much/

    • Ms. L.B. 08/04/2014 at 3:38 am #

      Thank you very much. Sometimes it’s nice to know we’re not toiling in the fields all alone. I took a look at your blog, and I like your writing.

      • afternoonofsundries 08/04/2014 at 4:59 am #

        Oh wow, thank you very much for the complement! Made my night! 😀 I’ll be reading your blog, as I said I love advice!

      • afternoonofsundries 08/04/2014 at 5:00 am #

        And thank you for taking the time to look too!

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