In Summer 2008 I had the urge to build something from scratch. I have owned some land in Southern Vermont for several years, including a very lovely spot next to a stream that cascades about 100 vertical feet into a beautiful river. The land borders the Green Mountain National Forest and is quite secluded, yet is accessed with a decent year-round road. The site is a 5 1/2 hour drive from my home in Philadelphia, so I don’t get there more than about five times a year.
The idea I had was to build a minimalist cabin, roughly the size of Thoreau’s Walden. I sought absolutely zero maintenance, a place I could forget about most of the year, and if I didn’t use it much wouldn’t cause much guilt. My wife doesn’t much like roughing it, and my boys were entering the teen years in which they have heavy commitments on the weekend. Thus, I was pretty sure this was going to be my place. I sleep on the ground quite a few nights a year in various outdoor adventures, so a dry enclosed spot in the woods is luxury living for me when I’m on my own.Continue reading