Cottage seems to be such a tiny word for this wonderful home off Leesville Lake with woods and property rolling between the cottage and the lake. He called it Whip-poor-will Hill –named after the bird who’s trill voice would echo thru the trees.
When my Grandpa retired from years of esteemed work he settled there, it was more than bricks, logs, stones, grass and trees. It was magical to me. It was a place where family would gather, hike in the woods, boat on the lake and if a person was really lucky be treated to a ride with Grandpa in “Max” –which was an all-terrain vehicle. There were many trails to ride on.
The cottage was cool in the summer and toasty warm in the winter (heated mostly with a fireplace insert). In the spring it smelled of earth as the gentle thaw would begin-but in the fall there was the constant sound of rustling leaves as the wind meandered through the trees. The colors were brilliant and the cabin smelled of wood smoke and crisp air.
The cabin had a big entertaining room with a wagon wheel light and beautiful woodwork-carpentry was Grandpa’s hobby and he was quite impressive. There were wooden stools and handmade carvings. There was a bunkroom, a small kitchen, small bathroom, a pump room and his little bedroom. All surrounded by beautiful nature.
Over the years he added many things- a beautiful stone patio with two levels and eventually a wood deck - a tree house complete with carpeting, heat and four bunks that lowered from the walls for the grandchildren and visitors-a very impressive workshop with every tool imaginable.
It was wonderful and when Grandpa died it was auctioned, if it would have been possible at the time I would have bought it. So of course this portion was off the table-a few weeks before this though Mr. Trent and I had been down to Carroll County and had swung by the lake, the area where the old dock was and tried to peer through the trees at the cabin. So enough of my drifting back in time to the event in October-The Algonquin Mill festival.
Going to the festival is a bit like stepping back in time. Our Grandson was extremely excited about the adventure and was full of questions and “Are we there yet?” the whole way there. We got out of the vehicle to a big bustle of activity. The sound of steam engines puffing and sputtering filled the air-along with the smell of pancakes, apple butter and coal smoke. We patiently waited in a big line to get a pancake breakfast-hotcakes are one of his favorite foods so this was a ok with him. After we stepped out of the pancake house and started to move toward the steam engines his eyes got very big and he was jumping and pulling us toward the saw mill operated by a big steam engine-he could hear the shrill noise of the blades cutting through logs, the clacking of the cart on the tracks and the steam whistle blowing. We got up to the mill and he was in a zone-taking in every detail of the machines, every movement, each cut. I really had no idea a five year old could sit still that long, but he did. He was mesmerized.
We visited the cookie house, the cheese house, the bread house and the general store-but he only wanted to watch the steam engines. As the festival got busier we had seen and done everything and headed out. The ride home was much quieter. He gets a look on his face that reminds me of my Dad when he is pensive, and I knew he was thinking about those machines the whole ride home.