Rocks crunched and popped under the tires as we entered a sharp left turn midway up a steep grade. Thirty seconds later we crested the hill and the gravel road flattened out for the last 50 yards. We pulled smoothly into the slightly-less-gravely, slightly-more-green area by the house that was reserved for parking. The soft sway of the tall pines surrounding the clearing, combined with the mid-afternoon sun, created short shadows that danced across everything of note in the scene – the hood of the car, the house, the trees themselves. As the car stopped and the sounds of motion faded away, the pace of time seemed to slow in concert.
A beautiful scene to be sure, but nothing unexpected.
Before we left, sitting in our nice-enough suburban home, dealing with our first-world problems, we anticipated the approaching tranquility. In fact, we were headed to see the first total solar eclipse any of us had ever seen so we were even open to the idea of potentially life-transforming events. But none of us expected the decision that was about 2 weeks away.
The small 4-room cabin we had just arrived at sat in a nearly circular clearing that, on average, was no more than 10 or 15 ft. larger than the house itself. It offered a small porch, partially enclosed by white woodworking and equipped with two rocking chairs. The house faced generally west, and a break in the trees made it possible to watch the sun set over a ridge a quarter mile away.
Inside, there were two bedrooms, a combined living/dining/kitchen area, and a single bathroom. There was no dishwasher, no garbage disposal — outside of WiFi, there were none of the other amenities we tend to take for granted on any given day.
But we survived. And not only survived, but learned that this situation – the physical proximity, the reduction in ‘stuff’, the general simplification of it all, felt right – or at least worth looking into more.
Fast forward a few days to the ride home. Back to suburbia, back to our big-enough house and our dishwasher; back to normalcy. Cue an innocuous, farcical conversation about buying a cabin and a beach house and hopping between the two throughout the year.
Put that innocuous, farcical conversation in the oven at 450 degrees for the next two weeks and let it bake. Periodically take it out and poke it to see how it’s doing. When it’s just about done, garnish with a conversation with friends that had just made the transition to homeschooling and were able to assuage some of related fears. And the next thing you know it looks so good you have to try it.
And that’s how we got here. Three months later we’ve taken that simple dish and built a restaurant around it. And there’s a lot to do before the grand opening in early 2018.