Cottages, Campgrounds and Family Times

Hi all,

Thoroughly enjoyed guest-blogging with fellow author Babette James last Friday. We chatted about what I wish I’d known–and done differently–after having been published. I also shared a sneak-peak of the cover prototypes for No Matter Why and its sequel, No Matter What. If you missed it, you can still check it out here. (Just remember to come back, lol.)

  (My cottage kitchen. Those are the original battens forming the wall behind the sink. We saved the sinktop and built the base with treated lumber. Sorry about the poor picture quality. Took these with my Motorola Q phone at least 3 cell phones ago.) 

“Who would have thought hanging out and playing cards could be so much fun?”

That’s what my older son said, as he, my younger dude and a buddy for each sat around the oversized antique chestnut table in the dining room at my cottage-in-the-PA-country woods, built somewhere between 1872 and 1905. (The development, originally a tent community, had about 88 structures at one time. About 30 remain.) Within half an hour of arrival, this Mac-loving, tech-savvy boy was feeling his connection to Mother Earth and remembering how much we all love it there. (Yep. Even moi—once I got past the overwhelmed one gets when you see the mess awaiting, the one I helped make when we closed the place up last October.)

Mind you, each kid, (now just a few months away from turning 16 and 14) grumped and moaned about heading out for a few days. “It’s so boring,” was the expected complaint. (Hey. They both have 3G via Verizon. No excuses.) But, with a friend each in tow, my ‘suburbia (?) boys’ found a happy reminder of how much they loved the “Little House in the PA Woods,” as this fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder loves to say. In fact, the older guy made sure Dad confirmed ‘getting’ the cottage when Dad and Mom ‘go.’

  One of the beds we found when we bought the place.

Like the lunatic with unresolved control issues I’m sure I have, I cleaned. (Went once last year and the place has only been attended only by men in between.) With hubby, the boys worked tirelessly on a mini-bike; hiked through the woods; went swimming at a nearby pool; played cards late into the night; built a fire ring with flagstone, campfire to go with it and whittled sticks for marshmallow roasting. (We teased our campground neighbors that ours was the bigger and better blaze, and we had marshmallows. They had awesome homemade desserts. ‘Nuff said.)

  Not sure what kind of wood this awesome chest and mirror are made of. It’s my favorite and the only piece I’d take if we ever sell the place. The mirror alone weighs 20 lb or more. It’s REALLY heavy for its size. What’s amazing is everything we needed was there. I bought next-to-nothing for this little haven. 

I’d hoped to write, but my brain just don’t seem to be goin’ there these days, so I brainstormed and read while my inner editor critiqued—she is SO annoying. (And hubby wakes up too early these days. ;)). I did, however, see one couple who reminded me they are the inspiration between one of my works-in-progress, so maybe that will translate into the major re-write I want to do soon.) When I wasn’t reading, cleaning or cooking (those boys have to eat), I socialized with other folks on our little development. I even sneaked in one good walk off site. Can’t do it on the grounds—one winds up talking for hours.

 My bedroom (second floor), taken from the screen-enclosed porch that leads into it. The dual set of French doors still have the intricately-tooled hinges that may have been handmade. I love waking up, looking up at the steeply-pitched ceiling and then into the trees outside the porch.

Guess the point of my ramblings is this: amazing how simple things that reflect simpler times refresh our souls. Hubby didn’t seem to need his TV much. I’m sure kids texted but they didn’t do Netflix or games until in bed, circa 2 AM or later the three nights we stayed. (And with 3G, we even managed a little Wi-Fi for the grownups to check email, lol.) Me? I’m always thrilled to be in such a natural setting and hope to clean less and enjoy more on our next trip.


  A view from my enclosed screen porch on the second floor. During the summer the weather is warm enough to sleep with the French doors open. This is one scene I get to enjoy immediately upon waking up. 




 This handsome thing kept showing up one year, even after animal control services took him. I called him Kirby. Kids thought Pancake suited him. 

Until next time,


4 thoughts on “Cottages, Campgrounds and Family Times

  1. Sounds like a wonderful place. Too bad you had to do all of that cleaning (it’s always on the mom, isn’t it?). I think your hard work earned you the right to stay a couple more days there. Alone. 🙂


    1. Alone there has its place, though a nice balance is when Dad takes all those boys out or keeps them occupied (when I’m not cleaning, of course; manifestation of underlying control issues… ).

      Told hunny: don’t care if he goes with his buddies or even his girlfriend, lol. If he doesn’t leave the place cleaner than he found it–as he’s said since I’ve known him–Mamma ain’t gonna go no mo’. Just sayin’…

      Nice to have you back, Carrie! Thanks for reading and commenting. Hope you enjoyed your vacation. Did you and da boys do something great?


      1. Thanks. We went on a cruise with extended family. It was a lot of fun and a well-needed break. But given Internet access cost 65 cents a minute, I wasn’t online a whole lot. 🙂


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