Sunday, October 30, 2011

The perfect cabin

     One possible benefit of the real estate meltdown may be that some of the older cabins in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula will survive, instead of being torn down and replaced with modern second homes. Older cabins have a cozy feel to them with their pine paneling, rustic decks and screened in porches. They can sag a bit, but that only adds to their allure. They may only have one small, cramped bathroom, but who wants to spend the day in the bathroom when you can be outdoors.
     In my travels through Michigan for the past 35 years, I've watched as older rental cabins have been replaced with new, modern ones fully equipped with cable TV, wall-to-wall carpet and microwaves. I feel like I should clean up before going inside.
     But there's one place I love to stay at that has resisted change. It was built in the 1950s and is on a small like in the Michigan/Wisconsin border country. There are no neighbors on the lake, and not a building in view of the deck that overlooks the lake. It's small by today's standards, one bedroom, with a sleeping couch in the living room, but it has pine paneling and a stone fireplace.
     There's a telephone for emergencies, but no television. A book case holds old hard cover books, most dating to the 1940s and 50s, and there's a radio. So the activities in the cabin at night after a day of hunting consisting of talking, reading or sitting in front of the fire -- all through backs.
     The guys I hunt with there are all experienced outdoors men and I learn things from them from their stories, another old time tradition. While we may now live a more convenient life, we've lost something important along the way.

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