A Cozy Family Retreat Near Mt. Hood
A lifelong case of cabin fever is cured in the form of a cozy family retreat near Mt. Hood.
I was born with “cabin fever” but not in the way the phrase comes to most people’s minds. I knew I was different by the time I was about 6 or 7 years old. After a few late 1950s to early 1960s road trips with my father, mother and brother, one hour from our home in Portland, Ore., to beautiful Mt. Hood and its forests, I felt it in my bones. The cabin bug had bitten me.
Looking out the car window once we entered Mt. Hood’s national forest, I was absolutely mesmerized by all the little cabins tucked neatly in between towering old growth Douglas fir trees, and I knew I just had to have a cabin like that some day! My grandfather worked for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930s on Timberline Lodge. I loved going to Timberline Lodge for day trips. As young as I was, I adored the rustic beauty of the lodge – the forged ironwork, the carvings in the logs, the high ceilings, the views and the towering massive stone fireplace. Plus there was the fact that it sat both on the mountain and in the forest with all these cozy little cabins below it. Only one word described it for me: “heaven.”
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Fast forward 55 years … My goal during my entire life has been to own my very own cabin up on the mountain on a river or lake. While life doesn’t always go as planned, in my third marriage I am blessed to have married a man who shares the same passion as me. Extra bonus: He is blessed with all the capabilities to build anything my heart desires! Between his building prowess and my decorating ability, we are a powerhouse team! Early in our marriage, 30 years ago, my dream cabin was seeming far from reality. So we built our house out in the country suburbs of Portland, acting as our own contractors and building much of the house ourselves on a tight budget. We spent 25 years remodeling it to look like “Connie’s cabin,” and we succeeded. While I was happy with it, it wasn’t a cabin in the mountains, in a forest, on a river or on a stream.
My husband Scott’s mother Betty always knew how badly I wanted a cabin. Sadly, she passed at age 87 in January of last year but lovingly left us enough to make that dream finally come true, not only for us but also for our three grown children and our grandchildren! By late August, we found our beautiful, historic 1925 dream cabin that sits above the tranquil, but fast-moving, Zig Zag River, and by mid-October, we were handed the keys.
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The dream became reality! The last nine months have been a whirlwind, as Scott and I have barely missed a week working hard on the cabin, from having the outside painted to changing many details inside like some of the furniture, lamps, rugs, kitchen cabinet door knobs and hinges and curtains. We removed the bathroom pedestal sink and installed a hickory cabinet with a drop-in sink and a knotty pine countertop that we both lovingly made. We also added vintage screen doors, and Scott built many window screens.
We have accumulated many antiques over the years for our home and our “someday” cabin, and since we love anything to do with Mt. Hood, we’ve adorned our cabin with many collectibles. We aren’t done yet, but we have come a long way in transforming and updating the cabin. Timberline Lodge and many popular lakes and campgrounds are above our cabin, only 15 to 25 minutes away!
Last Christmas Eve, all 17 of our family members gathered for our very first cabin Christmas, complete with snow, while also celebrating our daughter’s 32nd birthday! With tears filling my eyes, I can now say at age 60, “I’m home, and my dreams have finally and most definitely come true!”
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