craigslist cabin in the woods

born a day (and two years) apart, pierre and i are forever doomed (blessed?) to celebrate our birthdays jointly. i’ve never been a good sharer, and sometimes i’m bummed to “share” my birthday — joint gifts, joint parties, joint cards, sad face. but some years (like this one) it’s great to share because we do joint trips to celebrate. and it doesn’t seem like an over-the-top way to celebrate a birthday because, after all, it’s two birthdays.

after the craziness that was 2012, we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate turning 27 and 29 than to curl up beside a fire in silence.

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welcome to the corner oak carriage house in grand island, new york. sometime in late november, having purchased our “woods” and “indigenous” themed christmas gifts, pierre set to work finding us a backwoods cabin to spend our birthday weekend in. we looked at a bunch together (on cottage rental websites) and it was mostly a goldilocks situation. everything was either too rustic (no indoor plumbing), not rustic enough (we’d move in permanently), or actually a skijoring retreat (strongly considered). so pierre turned into a bear and told me to get lost and that whatever he found would be a surprise.

which it was, up until a few days before we left, when our friend dave asked me if i was excited to go to new york for our birthdays.

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this place was beyond perfect for our little weekend getaway. it was built on the same parcel of land as an 1860s farm house and it dates to the 1850s. after living in the farm house for a few months, the owners decided what they’d really like was a carriage house for friends and family to stay in when they visited. (by the looks of the main house they probably don’t need the extra room, but they claim to have “a million kids,” so maybe they do.)

only problem was, there was no carriage house on the property. and what do we all do when there’s something we want but don’t have? yeah. craigslist.

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someone in a nearby town put their 1850s carriage house up for sale on craigslist and the owners bought it, dismantled it, moved it, and rebuilt it in their own backyard.

then they furnished it with all kinds of antiques like rag rugs, an old church pew, a 1920s gas stove (which we actually cooked on — poached eggs and a lamb, no less) and vintage art supplies. we weren’t sure about the stove, so we waited to buy groceries until after we checked in and could check it out in person. the owners informed us most people made microwave dinners while staying there, but, despite the somewhat pervasive and alarming smell of natural gas when the stove was lit, we opted to buy a ton of groceries at tops’ friendly market, where the shopping carts had coffee cup holders.

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we relaxed like we’ve never (hardly ever) relaxed before, drinking cup after cup of coffee, finally getting around to crosswords pulled from weekend newspapers but not solved, reading the call of the wild and revolutionary road, and listening to bon iver and of monsters and men albums on repeat.

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but vacation or not, we couldn’t sit around like lumps all day. we fit in a 40 minute run at a nearby state park on my birthday and we took a quick trip into “town” to go bowling on pierre’s birthday. “bday boy” and “bday girl” played five furious games in quick succession. pierre even bowled a turkey. a new pastime for his old age, perhaps?

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i guess if bowling isn’t his thing, there’s always bird watching.

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overall, a perfect end to 2012 and a perfect beginning to our 28th and 30th years.

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