Tag Archives: Dwinell

Throw-back Thursday – Cabin Memories

I thought it might be nice to check back in the archives for a bit of history about our sweet little cabin – especially for those of you who might be new to this little internet corner. Here is a blog post from years ago (2008!) about the early days here at The Cabin.  Fourteen years have gone by since I wrote this, but none of the sentiments have changed!

Memories -April 10, 2008 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!

The Family Tree

Oh how it’s grown!
Generation One
Berton & Pauline Dwinell  (Mom & Dad)
Berton & Pauline Dwinell

Generation Two
The Four Siblings

The Four Siblings and Spouses
Generation Three
The Four Siblings, Spouses and Kids (missing 3)
The Four Siblings, Spouses, Kids and their spouses (missing 5)

Generation Four

EVERYONE (only missing 5! once we photoshopped in the bride and groom who arrived after the photo shoot!( No they were not coming from their wedding – it was just the photo available!))


Of the 39 cousins and second cousins, only 3 were missing (two were working and one was a week old).

Man, I love these crazy people!

Finally – The Reunion




I think I’ve spent so much time going over the preparations for our family reunion because I can’t quite figure out how to put into words the wonderfulness of it all!  The weather was not especially cooperative (more rain and clouds than sun), but that didn’t seem to slow us down one bit!


From crazy antics at the pond

to the fishing competition
Fishing Contest

to massive Bingo games to stay out of the rain

to fun on the swing

to naps in the hammock
Hayley & Everly

to games under the tent

to the peanut gallery always watching the activities
More Pond Watchers

it was a fabulous, fabulous time! Since pictures most often speak louder than words, here are some galleries of the multitude of pictures taken over our long weekend.
Pond Fun

Fishing Fun


And just some general people!

And if you’re really a glutton for Dwinell Family photos – here’s a link to the whole batch!

The Prep – Part IV

The Miscellaneous

Along with all of the Big Jobs that were accomplished during our pre-reunion time at The Cabin, lots of Little Jobs were done too!
Some things were very small – like the replacement of some faded Rummikub tiles.
(Who knew you could buy individual replacement tiles for your Rummikub game? Go, eBay!)
Some might have gone unnoticed  by many  like the shined up indoor hot water heater (Thanks, Joie!).
We added a new multi-person swing back at the old maple.
And next to the pond, it was quite the place to be!
(Number of children on swing added for the photo! We tried (!!!) to keep the max occupancy at 4 for actual swinging!)
Gary spruced up the outdoor spa (aka hot shower at the cabin!)
for those of us staying ‘on site’.
There was a bit of pond raking to help make swimming a bit more appealing to the ‘eeew – it’s a squishy bottom’ crowd-
But given the number of kiddos (and adults) in the pond at any given time
I don’t think it was that much of an issue!
Gary gathered the supplies for a replacement fence along the bank of the pond
and completed the job with help on the first day of the Reunion.
(I love how it works great to keep little ones from falling over the embankment, but is virtually invisible otherwise!)
See what I mean?
We replaced our trusty red sofa, which was purchased used in the early 90’s,
with a good quality (not as) used sofa that is super comfy and came with free pillows and a little cedar trunk. Thank you, Facebook Marketplace!
The red sofa lived on the porch (where it was pretty handy)until the end of the reunion
when, with the help of an ATV and several strong guys,
it was ceremoniously burned (along with a leaky tent and a fair bit of trash and tree debris) as a final bonfire for the reunion!
Farewell, good and faithful sofa! You have served us well!

We loved, loved, loved being up at the cabin with the sweet anticipation of the Reunion to come. But just because we were ‘on campus’, doesn’t mean that others were not pitching in to make this marvelous family time come together. There were meal planners and game planners and activity planners. EVERYONE pitched in to make this a Reunion to Remember, and one of these days I’ll even move this blogging thing from “Reunion Prep” to the actual Reunion!


The Prep – Part II

The Dock

Gary finished a major upgrade on the dock just last summer. What started out like this –
ended up like this –
Which was huge improvement and more than adequate given the two boys wrestling on it!
(To see the whole progression of the Dock Reno you can check out Here and Here and Here!)
But Gary is a forward-thinking kinda guy, and he was picturing the the 30+ kids that would be at the reunion and knew that our single family-size dock needed to be super-sized to Reunion Size!
And he got to work –
(He hasn’t used those waders for fishing in about 6 years. But here at the cabin they come in mighty handy!)
Here’s a little time lapse of getting the second side up on its posts –
Dock building
Phew! I can truly say he couldn’t have done it without me – but he sure could’ve done it quicker with someone who has more upper body strength! (Where are those boys when you need them???!)
He kept working away down at the pond (while I was working on those cobwebs in the cabin) and before I knew it we had the new Dock-Ma-Hal!
It got a little light-use testing before the reunion
but it was at full capacity during the reunion!
Fishing tournament
Fishing or Swimming
I’m pretty sure every square inch of that dock was used!