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Wellness

A Love Letter to My Home Away From Home

My family has a small cabin in southern Vermont that we visit every year, usually once in the summer and once in the fall. I’m pretty sure the first time I went, I was only a few months old. It’s situated at the end of a dead-end road, surrounded by trees, an endless sky, and the odd blackberry bush. I love it there. The cabin used to be a hunting club, and I guess it technically still is, but its primary purpose these days is to provide the perfect weekend getaway for me and my family. It can get a little crowded up there with all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and dogs, but we always have a great time.

Let me set the scene for you. The cabin, which we lovingly call “The Camp,” is small, wooden, and has a red tin roof that sounds amazing in the rain. Out back is a fire pit surrounded by an array of camp chairs, where there are quite a few people warming up by the fire. From the back patio, you can see the nearby mountain ranges that blur in the fog and are breathtaking with the fall foliage. Inside, the kitchen features an extra long table with mismatched chairs and a ton of snacks, and the living room has a card table, a camo-print TV, and the world’s comfiest couch. The walls are decorated with old outdoorsy ads and cartoons, and the kitchen sink looks over the mountains. Upstairs is the attic bedroom where everyone sleeps, with roughly 20 beds and plenty of fans in the summertime.

I’ll admit, it doesn’t quite seem like my kind of place on paper. I always have my nails done, I have an extensive skincare routine, and I love a good Netflix binge. None of these seem compatible with a cabin in the woods with spotty cell service and one bathroom. I think that’s what I love so much about it though — it’s the opposite of what I do and where I am every day. I have so many memories tied up in that place, and it is without a doubt my favorite place to be. 

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One of my favorite parts of being at The Camp is sitting around the campfire with my family. We don’t all get to be together that often, which makes this time together even more special. Even just writing about it, I can smell the campfire, feel the cool breeze, and hear the rock music (undoubtedly) playing in the background, courtesy of my dad and uncle. When it’s dark out, the stars are everywhere, so much brighter than at home, and we’ll just sit around talking for hours until the fire dies out. I love going on walks at The Camp, too. There’s an old beaver pond at the end of one of the trails off the main dirt road, which is always fun to walk to. Sometimes it’s all dried out, but as of our last visit, the recent rainstorms had filled it back up again. 

When we were little and it rained, my cousins and I would all go looking for frogs and salamanders, and we were never disappointed. We’d go blackberry picking from the wild blackberry bushes when they were in season, and we would take turns on the rope swing when it was nice out. When we got a little older, we started to explore the fields and orchards down the road. Of course, age is no reason to stop doing things that make you happy, so you can bet that we all still tromp around up there, picking berries and swinging over the hillside. There’s no doubt about it.

And here concludes my love letter to my home away from home. I love this place more than I can say, and I’m already looking forward to the next time I can visit. There’s nothing like seeing that red tin roof appear from around the corner on the drive up! I hope you have a camp of your own, a place where you feel safe and relaxed and happy. The Camp is all that and more for me, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

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Emily Day

U Mass Amherst '24

Emily is a sophomore at UMass Amherst majoring in Business Management and pursuing minors in Spanish and Natural Resources Conservation. In her free time, she can be found hanging out with friends, dancing, or following a Bob Ross painting tutorial.
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