Roughing it in style! A cabin in the forest can be a a wonderful alternative to a hectic, planned vacation.
Last year we took a fantastic tour of New England which included staying in Cape Cod and visiting Nantucket Island. We spent a lot of time on the ocean for both travel and recreation, (we took the whale watching excursion out of Provincetown), with a stop off at the Breakers in Newport R.I. on the way home. While it was an exciting trip with every minute filled to the brim with sightseeing, perhaps a quiet respite would be in order this year! A vacation should provide recreation but not to the point of exhaustion. Maybe you'd like to sleep in or just spend some time with a good book. How about cooking over an open fire? Renting a little cabin in our country's many parks and reserves might be just the thing.
SO WHAT DO I BRING?
Once you've rented a cabin and seen what amenities they have to offer, i.e. running water, electricity, hot showers, garbage stations, etc., you'll know what to pack. Dried and even canned goods are fine here but you'll need to discard all food scraps and containers in sealed or covered containers. Critters love to stiff out such treats at night and a good campsite will provide a sanitary place to store your garbage.
Cabins which provide some type of bed frame and pad are desirable but if not, you'll need to purchase camping cots. Some that I have seen have legs so you are off the floor. They retail for about $139.00. and can be used again for tent camping.
Many cabins offer a fire pit for charcoal or wood cooking. I would recommend bringing a Crockpot for soups and stews for a single pot dinner. Then depending on the weather, you have the choice to eat / cook outside or not. I have a Trangia 27-5 cookstove with 2 non-stick saucepans, 1 fry pan, a windshield, a burner and a teapot. These all nest into a very small unit and can be fueled either with spirits or a gas bottle. Taking along a "mess kit" like this will save on having to bring lots of pots, dishes and pans. You'll want to make sure that you have enough fresh fruit and veggies for extra hydration and don't forget those snacks! Cheese doesn't need much refrigeration and is a good source of calcium and protein. Our little teapot is very handy for heating water for tea, coffee or even instant cereals such as oatmeal and farina.
STAYING IN COMFORT
If the cabin has electricity, be sure to bring a small box fan. The nights may be cool so a personal heater or even an electric blanket would work. Being too cold or too hot can turn your stay into a miserable event so it will pay off to plan for either extreme. Pack as if you are staying in a motel but include a few extras that you won't find in a cabin. Here's a short list:
1. Towels, Robes & Washcloths
2. Shampoo, toothpaste
3. Water resistant sandals for the shower
4. Insect repellent, (PIC Coils work well)
5. 2 small lamps, 3 flashlights
6. Ice chest for perishables or a small refrigerator if you're staying more than 3 days.
Remember, you'll have to make your own entertainment. Bringing along a portable DVD player, radio, book or guitar might just save the day! Of course you don't want too many distractions as taking in the whole natural experience is part of the aura of cabin life. You needn't repeat "Frontier House" but simply understand that certain things that we take for granted such as indoor plumbing and sinks will now be accessed outside.
Simply remember that the bane of most outdoor adventures includes insect bites, heat, cold and hunger. Plan your best to head off these issues and you can truly enjoy your cabin vacation in style.
PHOTO: Little Martin LX-1E is a 3/4 sized scale guitar perfect for packing along and pickin' on the porch as seen below!