Saturday, May 7, 2016


Please read this before you ask questions or book the cabin.

The beautiful Flathead River
Q: Where is it?
A: In a Christian campground in western Montana, near Whitefish, Kalispell, and Glacier National Park

Q: What are the accommodations?
A: Spread out and enjoy!
·      2 gathering rooms. Downstairs: living / dining / full kitchen. Upstairs: big family-reading-games room, with lots of old-fashioned books, toys, and games
·      Bedrooms: 3 queen (2 up, 1 down. One master upstairs is off limits until the other two are full), 1 office (bedroom option: cot in upper closet), 2 upper bunkrooms with 4 beds each, 2 double futons in family room. Towels and sheets provided
·      2 bathrooms (with showers) plus an extra sink in the upper master closet. (This bedroom is off limits until the other rooms are full.)
·      You need a portable ramp to the porch to make the first floor “almost” disability accessible. (A tiled step contains shower water in the bathrooms.)
·      Full laundry, big laundry sink under laundry chute from upstairs

Q: How many can sleep in the cabin?
A: 19: 3 queen beds, 8 bunks, a cot, and 2 double daybeds

Q: What is the condition of the cabin?
A: Shoes off inside, please! (Use the big back hall for shoe storage and the porch or back entry for coming in with really dirty boots or shoes.)
It should be clean and hotel-ready when you come and undamaged when you leave. The furnishings and appliances are in good condition and we expect it to be left the same way.
We’ve taken great care of our family getaway; we’d love if you do, too. THANKS!
Let us know ASAP if there is damage by someone before you or by you/your group.

Q: Are there restrictions?
A: This is a Christian campground.
·      Smoking, drugs, and drinking are prohibited on the grounds (including by the river)
·      Any and all pets are forbidden by the owner (in the cabin or on the property)

********NOTE: If hosts or their guests smoke, drink alcohol, do drugs, or bring a pet(s), a $500 donation to the camp will be charged to your credit card. No exceptions.******

Q: What is the cost?
A: $100 / night or $500 / week.
Your booking deposit of $150 includes a $25 camp fee, a $25 inspection fee, cleaning, and damages (unless they are more substantial than $100). A refund of up to $100 is returned if there is no damage and the cabin is left hotel-ready for the next guests.

Q: Recreation options? What can we do nearby?
A: You’ll love the many tourist options within walking and driving distance, including:
Wild Things: Check out Hungry Horse Dam. Drive through Glacier Park on the Going to the Sun Road. Explore. Hike. Swim. Boat. Fish (walk 2 blocks to Flathead River).

Kid Things: theme parks with a maze, bumper boats, etc, waterslides, kid-friendly beaches, etc. within 10 miles

Adult Things: Lots of restaurants and coffee shops are a short drive away, along with historical sites. Trendy Whitefish is about 20 minutes away. Take a helicopter tour of Glacier and surroundings. There’s a tax-free Costco in Kallispell, about 20 minutes away, if you need to stock up on groceries.

A day’s outing: Go into Glacier Park. Spend a day on Flathead Lake or Whitefish Lake. Hike Whitefish mountain or take the ski lift up and walk down. Drive through or around the park and have tea in the Prince Edward Hotel, Waterton, Canada (2-3 hours away).

Q: Is there a cabin manual for more information?
A: Yes. Guests are responsible for information in the manual. We’ll send the link to “easy basics” when you book. A hard copy is in the cabin, too.

Q: Anything else that might interest us?
A: Check-out: noon. Check-in: 4pm

Power: the camp limits total electrical strength per cabin. If you blow a fuse, the cabin manual will help you put the lights back on.

Water: tap water is fabulous natural glacier water. (Tested for purity, minerals, etc. by government agency.)
·      Limit showers to 4-5 minutes to share water with your guests and others in the campsite.

Linens: sheets and towels provided

Kitchen appliances: fridge, stove, microwave, popcorn maker, coffee maker, toaster, etc.


CALENDAR: the family sometimes goes up between bookings, but check for openings: this will be updated soon.

Monday, April 25, 2016

At least 3 things about the cabin

Though I wrote this a few years ago, it's still true. Feel free to leave your comments below!

1. We work hard each time we come, but the cabin is our oasis. Pure glacier water flows from the taps; fresh air clears our lungs, and the early morning sun wakes us. We have lots of company to refresh our hearts. Shelves of books promise to mentor and amuse us. The cabin is wi-fi free, so we spend time talking, reading books, and exploring the surroundings. I’ve quilted, painted, and written here over the years.

The Flathead River is a stroll away
2. Time at the cabin is different – and better – than we envisioned. When I drew up the layout 18 years ago, I’d planned an efficient getaway, maximizing beds and rooms so the kids could fill it with friends and sleepovers (but we could still visit with adults). 
We’ve spent 4-5 weeks here each summer, negotiating building projects and hosting camp friends. W built a picnic table for 12. It was our first dining table but stays outside now.

The kids took turns enjoying weeks of summer camps. They roamed the grounds without supervision. (Today’s parents are more watchful, but our kids had the run of the camp with their buddies.) I’d whistle them in for meals and bedtime.

They've since grown up and moved out on their own. But they return to the cabin with their adult friends and families.  
First floor guests
For years, after our own guests departed in August, W would leave for Seattle to prep for the university year. 

I'd stay behind. “Are you lonely,” people would ask me. “Aren’t you afraid to be by yourself?”

Nope. As soon as I was alone, I’d reset my inner clock, rising at sunrise and going to sleep at sunset. I only used electrical lights on dark rainy days. W would come back for me on Labor Day weekend. By then I had decompressed from our city pace. Purest luxury.
Work space
I stayed away from the building chaos for a few years and wrote a doctoral dissertation at home. How I missed the people, beautiful surroundings, and the quiet. It wasn't summer without my “Montana month."

3. The cabin is personal, quirky and filled with memories.
·      Pastor Rohde came by 25 years ago to watch the cement truck pour the footings. He looked and us, grinned, and asked nicely, “Well, do you folks know what you’re doing?” before jumping in to help. Whew.
Friends and lifesavers: the Rohdes
·      Our dads put up the roof trusses and helped frame and life the walls into place. W’s dad died 12 years ago but we talk about his legacy and my dad’s when we’re here.
Guest desk
·      Our off-set stairs take everyone by surprise. They use half the space of regular steps and make room for a big closet underneath. "Watch your step!"
Up we go!
·      National Geographic maps from the 1970s and -80s paper the back entry hall. We’d planned to put coat lockers, but the maps, capturing shifting borders, fascinate us. I hope the grandkids feel the same someday. 
Games and books galore
·      Some floors are planked with 10-20' long X 11” wide, reclaimed Douglas fir, trucked in by an Amish fellow who advised W on how to finish them (between man-chatter).
Floor power
·      The lamps and furniture are an assortment of “finds” and “rejects.” I slipcovered a friend’s modern pastel blue and pink sofa with cream canvas painter dropcloths. I paid $100 to repair the 100-year-old chair. It belongs in a set with the French Provincial sofa (purchased by our daughter-in-law’s great-grandmother.) The two sofas - modern and antique - share the living room.
Family heritage chair
·     Upstairs, teens and kids sprawl on the carpet and read, or they play games while perched on the torn vinyl seat of a commercial children’s library table: we picked it up when the old Kirkland library auctioned off their furniture. It’s sturdy as a rock.

    Retro books and games line the Blockbuster shelves of the family room; our guests love to explore the favorites, old and new. 2 daybeds (doubles) fold down for extra couples (or couple of kids) as needed.

Family gathers upstairs for games, reading, and relaxing
·      W fashioned 4 sets of bunkbeds by framing in plywood and padded exercise mats I found on Freecycle. I imagined the 2 bunkrooms filled with small cousins and messy teenagers. Instead, a family of 4 from Europe was the first to sleep in one bunkroom. The 6’4” dad stretched full length on the extra-long bunks. Romantic? Hardly. Comfortable? Completely.

·      We found a modern Western artist’s giclee print at an art show, priced at $10,000. (What?! - oh yeah, the artist is famous and it's huge.) Someone had torn two gashes in it during a move so the gallery marked it down to “barely affordable” for us. 

     I bought it as a post-PhD "present-to-self."

LOVE this 50"X60" print
     The art restorer in town wanted $900 to repair it. So we stopped at an art supply shop on the way home for some linen PH-neutral tape ($20). I repaired the gashes and touched it up with my Winsor & Newton watercolours. Voila. Ten minutes later, we’d forgotten where the tears were. That abstract cowboy with his flourish of bright colors makes us smile each time we come.

·      The bedding and linens hail from our stay in England, our Seattle house, and local shops. The rugs and some of the appliances are from a friend. Everything reminds us of someone or someplace. 
Laundry and sink: a chute sends upstairs laundry down
“Don’t sell it; you may need a retreat sometimes,” advised a mentor. Our kids and some caretakers maintain the cabin.
Guest room
Pictures remind us of the place. Once in a while, I click open our MONTANA CABIN album. Immediately, I feel more peaceful and settled.

Oh yes, it sleep up to 19 and is for rent during the summer when family isn’t there.

Final notes:
The electricity is limited (by the camp).
Use as little water as you can to share with the camp (short showers greatly appreciated.)
There is a little sink in the main bedroom closet for when the bathrooms are full.

And you should know:
*****Renters and their guest are charged a mandatory $500 "donation" (i.e. fine) to the camp for any/all pets in the cabin or smoking / drinking on the campground. NONE of those are permitted.*****

Gravel bars and the Flathead River at the end of the street