Sunday, February 5, 2012

On Walden Pond and Other Hangouts

“Go to where the silence is and say something.”
                              -Amy Goodman, author

Like a lot of writers, I sometimes fantasize about having a private retreat, an escape hatch in the universe where I can hide out and read and write without interruption. But, minus lottery winnings or a best-selling novel, a mountain cabin or lakeside cottage is way out of my budget.

So, in the mail comes this news: “The many uses for a Sweetwater Bungalow are only limited by one’s imagination. A woodsy refuge, backyard retreat, lakeside hideaway, inspiring office or if it’s just a little extra space, like a guest house, then these cozy tent/cabins are versatile, fun and affordable.”

Blair Paterson, co-founder and partner of Sweetwater Bungalows in Truckee California, near Lake Tahoe, says, “These bungalows have a way of making people feel like they are on a romantic adventure. Even if it is in your backyard, they have a way of making you feel closer to nature without giving up any creature comforts.”
I'm all for adventure, but what about bathrooms, I wonder as I’m leafing through the online brochure of these charmingly sited and constructed tent cabins. Paterson has the answer.
He says there are three options. If you have a sewer connection you would plumb it like a house with the vent pipe on the exterior of the Bungalow. You can use a composting toilet or dig an old-fashioned outhouse nearby. And, he adds, There are companies offering prefabricated restroom facilities. (Who knew?)
The newest addition to Sweetwater’s growing line of prefabricated semi-permanent structures is the Vista model.

“We wanted to create a bungalow that felt more open and offered better views,” says Paterson. “In order to accomplish this we gave the Vista taller walls which allowed us to re-orient the position of the door and add an additional window.”

Paterson said the Vista has a sturdy wood frame that is covered in fabric. During the day the interior is flooded with natural, soft light while at night the bungalow radiates a warm and inviting glow. The addition of the framed-in doors and windows creates a weather-tight retreat that is both durable and economical.

The Vista is available in either 12’ x 14’ or 14’ x 20’ sizes with 7’ tall walls and a gabled roof that peaks at 11’. The bungalow's wood frame system is covered in a white fabric shell and is protected by a rain fly system. Additional features include four 4’ x 4’ sliding windows, double French doors and an eave and awning system. Also included is the assorted hardware necessary for construction and "easy" (that's what they say) to follow step-by-step assembly instructions. Wood stoves and a water supply can be added.

Sweetwater Bungalows was born from one Northern California family’s desire to experience life in the heart of nature’s beauty, not unlike America's early transcendentalists and environmentalists.

"I have a great deal of company in my house;
especially in the morning, when nobody calls."
– Henry Thoreau, Walden
Walden Pond
Courtesy Massachusetts Forests and Parks
Henry David Thoreau lived in a cabin at Walden Pond in Massachusetts from July 1845 to September 1847. His experience there provided material for the book Walden, which is credited with helping to inspire awareness and respect for the natural environment. It's a place where he found the time and the inspiration to think and write -- the kind of place we all need to create for ourselves.
Because of Thoreau's legacy, Walden Pond has been designated a National Historic Landmark and is considered the birthplace of the conservation movement. Park Interpreters provide tours and ongoing educational programs. The Reservation includes the 102-foot deep glacial kettle-hole pond. Mostly undeveloped woods totaling 2,680 acres, called "Walden Woods," surround the reservation.
If planning a visit, contact the park at:
Disclaimer: I'm in no way affiliated with Sweetwater Bungalows. I'm just reporting what pops up in my email. I don't recommend their products and have never seen one of their cabins in real life. I just like to muse and play "what if" on a cold winter's day. A tent cabin in a beautiful location? What's not to like?

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