The Cabin Itch


If you’ve been reading The Mess for the past three weeks, then you are well aware that my family recently took a trip to the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area of Tennessee. On a Friday afternoon, the twelve of us walked through our weekend getaway - a cabin that slept fifteen people comfortably. I wasn’t in the cabin five minutes and I already had the itch to buy one. A bigger one, of course, because, well, that’s just how I am.


Not that our cabin was bad, however. Quite the contrary. It was what made me want one. There were four parking spots in the front and you climbed two steps to the wooden porch and into your home away from home. The front door opened up on the kitchen with an island in the middle surrounded by stools. Behind that was a square dining room table with eight chairs and to the west was the master bedroom and bath. My room. Behind the table was the large living room with a sofa, recliner, and a giant u-shaped sectional. A back porch with rockers, a swing and a grill overlooked the small forest behind us, making it the perfect spot for me.


On the far west wall was a staircase leading to the second floor, four of the kids would take the two rooms and two baths up there as well as have their own porch looking to the south. All of the rooms were spacious as were the bathrooms, which was a nice plus with such a large group. Not having to share my porcelain throne with the other eleven members of our party was going to be a treat.


Another set of stairs next to the master bath led down to the bottom floor and two more bedrooms with baths. There was also a long area with a pool table and two couches with a door leading out to yet another porch; this one with a hot tub. This floor also had a closet with washer and dryer, but who is going to do laundry on vacation?


While I was at the cabin, I spent the majority of my time on the porch on the main floor. Those who know me are not surprised, I’m sure. I used the porch rail as a mini desk, with my coffee on one side and cigar on the other, and my notebook open, ready for notes and ideas to be jotted down. I stood with cigar perched between two fingers on the left hand and my pen in my right as I stared off into the woods. However, I was constantly turning back around to absorb the house, my imagination running wild with possibilities.


“What are you thinking?” Char had slipped outside to check on me.


I smiled back at her, “How I would decorate this place for Christmas and what I would change about it.”

She laughed because she had done the same thing. We all did, to be honest.


“Top floor would be your office.”


“Yup. Only I’d knock out the wall between rooms and make it one giant study. I’d probably convert one of the bathrooms into storage or a mini- library. We would also need electrical outlets on the porches.”


“I was thinking we take the floor out of the room above the master bedroom and give you the My Fair Lady office you’ve always wanted. And I hate walking into the kitchen from the front door. That would need to be different.”


And the ideas flowed. It needs to be wider. The heat needs to be better circulated. A real fireplace. The list wasn’t long, because we truly fell in love with the cabin and the rustic motif. I even discussed where I would set up the Christmas tree and we discussed how we would decorate the banister with garlands of green. The more we talked, the stronger the itch became.


“It would be a great gateway hideaway.” I pushed. “The kids could even use it and we could bring friends here with us.” Most of our trips include friends, so it was a good selling point. With a couple of us able to work remotely, it wouldn’t swallow too much vacation time, which was an added feature. If we could get the others to do the same, we could hide in our cabin for weeks at a time. I’m ready to go now!


My family wound up in the Sunshine State because my father brought us here on vacation and refused to go back to the frozen state of Indiana. After spending my sophomore year there, I’m glad he made that decision. It’s also how they wound up in their current home in Alabama. After several vacation trips they were sold on the area, bought some property and hugged us goodbye. They’ve rarely been back.


Big Dan at the Hard Rock in Downtown Gatlinburg did the same thing. He went for a visit and that visit changed the direction of his life. I know several people who have done the same thing, so I don’t think I’m crazy when I say I want to buy a cabin in the mountains. Now, I’m not ready to forsake the Florida beaches permanently. However, a few trips throughout the year would be a welcome change, a chance to slow down and breathe in a little sanity. Everyone needs an escape like that to help them recharge and we usually find it while visiting other places. For my friend, Margie, it’s Italy, and I think my New Jersey friend, Stephanie, just became sold on Florida. For me it’s the mountains and I can’t wait to go back. Maybe you should come along. There is plenty of room.


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