Crazy About Cabins

This week my husband and I had the great privilege of spending the holiday with some friends at their cabin.  We got to take part in a tradition they started ten years ago for the Independence Day celebration.  Their son and daughter each invite about a dozen friends.  I don’t know which part is more fun, enjoying the sun and the lake or watching what unfolds when twenty plus twenty-somethings get together.

It really is quite organized.  I suppose ten years of doing something gives you a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t.  “The Kids” as we affectionately call the collective, straggle in over the course of a few days.  They each contribute ten dollars a day for food.  Our friends then shop and prepare meals and make sure everyone gets something to eat.  The kids bring air mattresses to sleep on in the basement.  When you stand at the top of the steps above the sea of plastic, it looks like one giant bounce house where the floor used to be.  It is definitely cats and dogs living together.

“The Geezers” as we are lovingly called, have the responsibility of keeping a watchful eye over the group.  It means random head counts and making sure people have sunscreen.  We help locate lost articles of clothing/sunglasses and make sure everyone knows the location of the latrine.  When things break we try to fix them, and keep people hydrated while they’re drifting on floaties in the lake.  It’s not a bad gig if you can get it.

These are the types of vacations we like to take.  Don’t get me wrong, my husband and I have had some fantastic trips that involved hotels of all kinds.  But after working for decades in hotels, we also like to spend our time off in other lodging like cabins or tents.  I never thought I’d grow up to be a camper; my idea of roughing it was a hotel with no room service.  However, cabin rental or lake homes are a great way for families or groups to get together for a vacation and not spend an arm and a leg.

In the Midwest there are a number of resources through which you can rent cabins.  If you are looking for a vacation home to purchase, this would be a great way to find out if you like that particular lake.  You can also check out the dynamics of the area.  You’ll want to know if it’s mostly families who spend time there or if it is more rentals–which may be noisier.  Or maybe you just want to experience a number of different lakes in a particular area.  These trips are great if you have some in your group who want to spend all their time on the water and some who are content to read in the shade on the deck.  There’s definitely something for everyone.

My best advice to you; plan a menu, designate a shopper and a cook.  One person keeps track of finances and the group splits the costs.  It’s much easier than everyone doing their own thing.  Agree on the type of food up front–paying attention to any allergies or special restrictions.  Make sure you have snacks for “The Kids”; and jugs of water in case the well is not good for drinking.  Don’t forget games for rainy days, a sense of humor, and plenty of coffee for “The Geezers”.


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