Category Archives: The Cabin


cabin 1938

I came across this picture of our family cabin in Vermont the other night. Judging by the new construction look (both in the landscaping and in the building) it was probably taken around 1938. This little building has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. My grandfather, the town doctor in the small Vermont town of Bradford, bought a 200 acres homestead on the side of Wrights Mountain around 1935. Though it had once been a small farm with a cluster of buildings, only the granite skeleton of cellars and foundations remained. He built this small one room cabin in 1937 or 1938 on one of the foundations, right next to a cellar hole lined with massive granite stones. The story goes that he built it so he could keep track of my grandmother and his children (my dad and his brother and sister). Apparently Gramma Lizzie wasn’t all the happy living the fishbowl life of small town doctor’s wife so she would pack up the kids periodically and head off for different adventures. We’ve been told she had one of the first trailers brought into the state and used to go camping with the kids along the banks of the local rivers. (Obviously before the days of KOA campgrounds!). But whether he had it built to keep track of Lizzie or just to give himself a get-away place not too far from town doesn’t really matter. We will be forever grateful for the gift that he gave his future generations.
The Cabin hasn’t really changed much over the years. I don’t know when it was shingled in red, but it has always been that way as far as I remember. The pond was dug in the…uummmm..1950’s something (Elna remembers that, I don’t), a back porch was added in the early 60’s (I remember that), electricity was added in (around?) 1964 to accommodate the new fangled Destroilet (Yes, it was a gas toilet. Honest.) When I was a youngun’, there were cows that roamed the property from a neighboring farm. I don’t know why that ended, but we haven’t had any bovines around for probably 20 years. Some of the property has been sold off (we’re down to about 100 acres), and we’ve built a new road. The Destroilet bit the dust a decade or so ago, and a good old fashioned outhouse has served us well ever since. We still use the same well I carried water from as a teenager (the original well was replaced in the 60’s sometime), and although we now have water pumped up to close to the cabin, we still claim “no running water” with pride. No TV, barely a good radio signal, and no phone. (OK, cell phones work up there sometimes, but that’s a pretty recent development. And while it’s nice to be able to call for a tow truck (like last summer), it seems just wrong somehow when the phone actually rings.) Pear trees have grown up in the cellar hole – the perfect spot for a hammock. The red wooden boat that we fished from with Grampy Doc has been replaced with an aluminum one from Sears (though it seems to leak about the same). Here is The Cabin today (well, not today, but within the last couple of years!) –


Doc and Lizzie left The Cabin to my parents, and they left it to the four of us kids. And it brings all of us great joy to see the latest generation (Lizzie and Doc’s great-great grandchildren) enjoying it and loving it as they did. And we do.
Thank you, dear grandparents!

An Interesting Day at the Cabin


Yes, it was a quiet morning here on the mountain as we waited for the tow truck to find its way here. The truck refused to start yesterday, so we were pretty happy to be able to contact our trusty Auto Club for that free tow (via the good news/bad news cell phone) to come and get it down to the garage in town. Fortunately, since Josiah & Abigail are here we have another set of wheels, so after Gary got the truck settled in at the garage, we were still able to head out for a couple of geocaches up in dem dar hills. Our first of the day was also our 100th cache, so it was fun to be able to do it on Wright’s Mountain here in Bradford (our cabin is off of Wright’s Mountain Road). It was a good hike, the guys did all the work finding the cache and Abigail & I enjoyed the views. Here’s a shot of us on the summit – with the treasure box!

We did a couple more – one easy one at an old church and another one back up the other side of the mountain. The hike to that second one wasn’t too bad, but actually getting to the cache was one of the most difficult one’s we’ve done. Well, I should say one of the most difficult ones that Gary and Josiah have done. Abigail & I were once again cheerleading from the top of the cavern. 🙂

Last night was interesting too! A bad thunderstorm came whipping through and we were without power for about 6 hours. We took care of the what’s for dinner when I can’t cook by heading into town for pizza (alway a good solution), and then returned in the pitch black for a quiet evening. With several candles lit it seemed like we could play some cards, so we gave it a good shot. Here’s Gary, figuring out his bid…..


We had just finished the game when the lights came back on so of course, we just went to bed! Go figure.

Tonight it’s homemade mac and cheese in our favorite cast iron pot….I’m pulling it out of the oven now! Gotta go!

Life’s a bowl of Cabin Berries


Fresh Blueberry Pancakes with Vermont Maple Syrup at 10AM at the cabin. Must be the perfect breakfast.

It’s hard to believe that our two weeks here at the cabin are almost over. The weather has been very cooperative, giving us a rainy day when we needed to be lazy and sunshine when we needed to be productive. Actually, Gary (as usual) has been the most productive, but I try to be the support team. Today (Friday) he is trying to finish up all his outside work while I work on the inside. Tomorrow we hit the dump with all of our trash, set fire to the burn pit, and then just enjoy the rest of the day. ‘Cause on Sunday we head back to Doylestown and our dear Lizzie.

We’ve had company the last couple of days – my dear friend Lynne C. came for a mid-week weekend. Since hubby Roger was down with a bad back and couldn’t come, Gary sent Lynne & I off for a Girls Day Out on Wednesday. I must confess, we had a great time! It was back roads and hiking trails, factory tours and family history instead of spas and manicures, but oh what fun we had. We hiked up Owls Head Overlook (spectacular and well worth the short steep climb), took the Cabot Cheese Factory Tour (where we got to sample all of the varieties of their wonderful cheddar cheese (and call it lunch)), took the cross country (i.e. dirt) road to East Calais where my family has a homestead that was built by my great-great uncle and is now owned by an association of Dwinell descendants, visited the cemetery where my great-great parents, great grandparents, and miscellaneous other relatives rest in peach, stopped to see some friends of Lynne’s brother, and then scoped out another hike (Kettle Pond) that we decided to take the next day with Gary. Back to the cabin and then out to dinner (after all, we were too tired to cook after our mini-road trip!). It was a memorable day all around.

Thursday we did indeed head back to Kettle Pond for the 3 mile loop hike. It was a great hike – not too strenuous, but with great beauty all around. We took pictures of everything from the view of Owls Head to mushrooms along the path. It was a beautiful walk, until Gary got a very painful sting/bite by an unknown insect/spider. Fearing an adverse reaction to the bite (and knowing we weren’t going to be able to carry him!) we made a quick exit for the last mile of the loop. Although the sting was very painful, no other symptoms developed so we headed back to the cabin so Gary could prop up his injured foot. Lynne left for home and the rest of the day was quiet and uneventful.

Oh, the Cabin Berries? Yesterday I went blackberry picking. Yummmmmmmmm…..

How very blessed we are to have this quiet place to come and refresh ourselves.

At the Cabin….

Drinking coffee with my sisters while watching the mist rise on the pond….now that’s the way to start the day! Vermont decided to have summer the first week of June, so instead of cool rainy days (which we are used to), we were blessed with bright sunshine and warm days. We got together with family, sorted through cabinets and cleaned up the cabin, and managed to substitute ice cream for meals more times than we should confess. Time spent laughing, crying, praying, studying the Word, reading and sleeping, (plus a healthy dose of speed scrabble) – Yes, it was a grand Girls’ Week 2005!
Here is a picture from our visit with our Aunt Berta – my mom’s sister.

(That’s my cousin Catherine with Aunt Berta)
And we also enjoyed a dinner out with my brother Dewey, wife Sharon and daughter Sydney….
Sharon – Elna- me -Joie – Dewey – Sydney

Yes, we are truly blessed!

The Cabin

Have I told you about the Cabin? It’s a small one room cabin built my grandfather in the 1930’s. He was the town doctor up here in Bradford Vermont and needed a little get away that wasn’t too far from town. The Cabin, built on the foundation of an old farming settlement about 8 miles outside of town, is on about 100 acres on Wright’s Mountain (elevation 1800 ft+/-). Growing up I remember the cows that wandered through the fields on the way to their upper pasture (and watching out for the cow plops that dotted the grass), the two gas lights that were the only illumination other that candles, and the chemical toilet bucket that my father would ever so carefully carry through the cabin to be disposed of in some unknown (to me) location. The water was hand pumped from the well and the kids were the beasts of burden to get it to the Cabin. There’s a small pond where we would swim, catch salamanders and frogs and fish. Trust me, there’s nothing like a fresh caught trout for breakfast! Electricity came in the 1960’s along with the Destroilet ( a gas toilet – but that’s an entire other story!). A loft was added to accomodate the next generation (as in my kids and my siblings’ kids), and now we even have running water – well, it’s to the shed anyway! The Destroilet died several years ago, and we moved to the good old fashioned outhouse. It’s a two holer with all the ammenities ~ a magazine rack, pretty curtains and scented candles.
The Cabin is where I go to re-fuel emotionally and spiritually. The scenery has changed only in the addition of a few houses on the hillside and the growth of new trees. Maybe these pictures will help explain the special qualities of this family gem –

Here is my favorite view – with the cabin reflected in the pond (I know, I know, Lara – I take it every year…but there are little changes every year, honest!)

This is the view from back porch –

And this is the view from the back porch when we eat dinner…

We took a drive to one of the hills in the above “view from the back porch” to see if we could see the cabin. Well folks, if you look really hard you can see a tiny dot in the middle of this picture – and that my friends is the cabin. And that is also why we feel free to leave the outhouse door open to enjoy the view when we are doing our -ahem- business!

Here is a closer view of the cabin….

OK, so this isn’t the cabin – but it was a pretty neat picture of an old cemetary and church that we came upon in our travels that I thought I’d include it!

And here we are with our friends Joe & Janet who joined us for Labor Day weekend at the Cabin. (Honest, the triple chins are from the way I’m sitting, not from all that ice cream research!)