Cabin Fever

While reading this issue, I had something of an epiphany, one that I’m a bit hesitant to reveal as a proud Minnesotan: I never ever want to own a cabin.

Don’t get me wrong (especially those of you who own cabins that I might want to visit at some point). It’s not that I don’t see the allure of cabin life; I get why the idea of having a place to get away is so attractive to so many people, especially those of us who spend our days toiling under a firmament of fluorescent bulbs: I too crave the fresh air, the chance to spend some quality time with family, or the chance to spend some quality time away from family.

My aversion also has nothing to do with the most common anti-cabin arguments, that in addition to being a sometimes-huge commitment of time, energy, and money, the cabin becomes a sort of knotty-pine prison, a place you feel you have to go every summer weekend because you’ve invested so much time, energy, and money.

No, my problem is more basic—that in a state offering such an abundance of cultural and natural wonders, cabin-dwelling invites routine. Almost invariably, weekend after weekend, year after year, you end up fishing the same “secret” spots, hitting the same trails, eating at the same supper club.

That said, I realize that I have the luxury of feeling this way because I’m completely spoiled. One massive benefit of this gig is that I get to deal with a bunch of really energetic, really informed people on a daily basis, writers and editors whose job it is to discover and describe the region’s unique and interesting destinations, the coolest things to do, the best places to stay. What this means is that by the time summer rolls around, I’ve already made a mental list of all the places I want to visit over the next few months—to hike, to bike, to consume enormous pieces of pie.

Making that list this year has been especially enjoyable, thanks in large measure to this month’s cover story, “Secrets of Superior” (page 54). Spearheaded by Minnesota Monthly’s managing editor, Joel Hoekstra, the piece offers an authoritative guide to exploring both the north and south shores of Lake Superior: where to eat, where to stay, what to do.

The package also offers the perfect antidote to anything resembling a routine. Want to stay on a boat instead of a hotel or B & B? We’ve got you covered. Want to sip tea by the moonlight instead of a Leinie’s at the usual watering hole? Read on. Want to see Joan Baez sing under the big tent? It’s in there.

Of course, finding the time to do all this stuff might pose something of a problem if you already own a cabin, which is why I’m offering to help. Because I’m so generous, I’m willing to temporarily take that cabin off your hands by renting it at a reasonable price for a week (or two, max). Just make sure there’s absolutely no work that needs to be done—and at least one enormous piece of pie in the fridge.

Andrew Putz