Tuesday, October 28

The Cabin in the Woods

In the woods, off of a narrow country road on the south side of Wooster, Ohio, sits a fully-restored 1820s two story log cabin with a large front porch and an incredible view of the wooded landscape.  I know this because we stayed there this weekend.


I don't think it's possible to give you a completely accurate picture of how it feels to stay in a restored, yet still primitive, antique log cabin, but I'll attempt it.  I will say that the cabin is updated with modern amenities, but the cabin keepers are history lovers, and they devoted years of time and money to preserve this structure as accurately as possible while still making it a very pleasant stay for guests.

From the moment we arrived, I was in awe.  A sweet little family of stone carved owls greeted us as we approached the cabin's covered front porch.  Once on the front porch, I took in the sweeping view of the acres of woods and a creek bed below. 
When we walked through the front door painted in a German style and into the cabin, the smell of nearly two hundred years of age greeted me, sending me into a state of euphoria. 
I was grinning like an idiot!  There is something about the smell of "old" in regards to a house...I instantly think of the people who have lived there across the ages.  It smelled of lingering wood smoke and aged timber, mingled with the various scents of all of the dry herbs that were hanging from the ceiling.  To me, it was heavenly.  We were given a tour of the cabin, including instructions on how to use the large Rumford fireplace (the fireplace was rebuilt with the cabin reconstruction, but the mantle and stone surrounds were around the same age as the cabin, purchased from other properties that were being torn down in the area, along with the winder staircase that wrapped around the back of the fireplace).  Sadly, it was just a little too warm while we were there to use the fireplace, much to my dismay.
The owners spent several years rebuilding and restoring the cabin.  All around the first and second floor, small detail plaques were located to indicate what had changed, what had been, or what had been found.  It was a great touch to be able to see the history and have it explained at the same time!

The main floor floorboards were original to the 1870s, when much about the cabin style was changed.  Narrow floorboards were much more fashionable, and the current owners decided to keep them when doing the restoration.  However, older wide floorboards were found in the upstairs, in what is now the bathroom.  The floorboards in both bedrooms upstairs and the upstairs hallway were replaced with a lighter wood in narrow strips to mimic the floors below, but gave the rooms a little bit lighter feel.  The cabin itself was somewhat dark, with small windows typical of log homes, and it was wonderful to see how the light affected the cabin's feel throughout the day--it seemed to constantly change.  The owners were able to use original hardware on the doors, which was nice to see. 

The windows, trim around the windows, and some other trim found in the house had been reproduced, delightfully remade to match almost perfectly the original trim in the structure.  The windows were made with a special process that mimicked old period glass, with waves and imperfections.  I loved the owners' attention to detail--it was quite apparent that they truly loved restoring the cabin to its original state.
The floors on the second floor of the house are wonderfully crooked and sloped.  It added greatly to the character of the house, and when not used to walking on them, will throw one slightly off-balance until used to the feeling.  In some places, the floor below can be seen (or at least, light beams) through the small gaps between floor boards.  Laying in bed at night, looking up at the ceiling into the attic, tiny dots and lines of light could be seen, almost giving the illusion of sleeping under the stars.  During the night, the house creaked as it settled in the cool night air.
All of the exterior walls are the logs and plaster chinking, but interior walls are either wood planks running vertically or whitewashed plaster.  The paint colors are perfect for the time period, and vary from deep red, sage green, beige, dark brown, and a medium blue, which was my favorite.  Period antique furniture is found throughout the cabin, as well as antique fireplace equipment.  Both beds upstairs are antique rope bed frames, but have modern mattresses on top of the ropes.  Where antique furniture could not be found or antique lighting could not give enough light, modern furniture and electric lighting was used, but was still fitting to the feel of the history.  It all works well together.

This was my dream come true!

We were able to get away and have the relaxing, peaceful weekend that we'd been wanting for a long time now.  Being away from the traffic and noise associated with living in the city was exactly what I needed, and this setting fit the bill perfectly.  We got up late, took our time, and I even cooked us a big breakfast on Saturday morning before we headed out to find what Wooster had to offer.  We ate dinner at a lovely upscale restaurant that used to be the city's jail in the old days, and we were seated in the basement where the old jail cells used to be located. 
The food was superb and worth every penny, and our waiter was so very helpful in answering questions about the menu (it's not always easy to navigate eating out with a food allergy).  My chicken Marsala was so good...I wanted to keep eating it long after I was too full to have another bite.  I was very close to needing to be rolled out of the restaurant, and I thought for sure I was going to have a food baby.  My husband couldn't stop raving about his surf and turf dish, with lobster, tenderloin steak, shrimp, broccoli florets, risotto, and a rich Bearnaise sauce.  There was also salad and fresh bread served with the meal, so there was no way anyone could leave hungry.  It was a wonderful and much-needed time of relaxation for both of us, and I always love to get away with my husband.

We didn't get to talk to the cabin keepers until we were ready to check out, but I would have loved to be able to talk to them more.  Perhaps next time we stay, we'll be able to talk to these fellow history lovers!  They seemed to have a great knowledge and love of what they have and what they do.  Owner Paul talked about how their property and the surrounding area was the only spot in Ohio to see a Civil War skirmish, and mentioned that they found several musket balls embedded in trees on the property as they were making room for the house they built and the historic buildings they acquired and moved to their property.  He and his wife, Anne, also talked about the area being a settlement of a local Indian tribe before the Civil War, and have found Indian artifacts on the property as well.  They have much knowledge of the county and are active in teaching the history of the area.  They were very kind and gracious to us while we stayed there.

I can't wait to go back again!


  1. What an awesome trip. Thanks for sharing it with us. I just love things like that. I am glad you had a great time and got such wonderful pictures.

  2. Looks like a wonderful spot for a weekend getaway! It was interesting to read of all the history in the cabin that the owners preserved. :)


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