The Summer Place Bit

So who’s heading out for a summer getaway?!

Maybe some folks took off last year without missing a beat for their customary cottage, cabin or camping spot as protocol allowed. But others may only now be taking the pin out of their 2020 summertime plans.

I’ve stayed pretty close to home so far – but this is what I consider my summer getaway spot that awaits me up in Pinecrest, California:

(My cabin at the Lair of the Bear!)

It’s my summer cabin!

Well, it’s my summer tent cabin.

And – you know – technically, it’s only my cabin for one week a summer but darn it, I still think it counts!

Do I sound a little defensive..? That may be because I was reading the memoirs of a cousin of my Grandpa K’s (John Ilmari Kolehmainen – a good Finnish name!) and he wrote with such fondness about his family’s Minnesota summer home on Salo Lake (another good Finnish name!).

It kinda made me wish (again…) that I’d grown up with a place my own family went back to year after year.

Not that I was deprived! It’s just I was born and raised under more of a wandering summer star. Our family traveled around to different places every summer – and I have lots of sweet, sweet memories of trips across our country and eventually throughout the world!

And in fairness, while we had no summer home in the neck of some particular woods, there were places that became traditional summertime destinations even so. Like we made the trek every summer for decades to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland for a slate of great plays, and a mess of decadent dinners which we liked to think were entirely walked off by the strolls we took around beautiful Lithia Park!

While we didn’t have a summer home of our own there, we often booked the very same room at a local motel and it sort of came to feel like home! “Our” room had a nice little porch where we could hang out, enjoy a Happy Hour cocktail or snack of choice and gaze out across the valley, admiring its summertime color palette of greens and golds.

(Relaxing in Ashland!)

After a number of years, our lovely view got rudely obscured by a hotel that went up across the street. But we made lemonade by making that establishment our Shakespearean summer place! After many more years of happy visits, Dad chose it as the spot where he most wanted the family to meet up to celebrate his 80th birthday – and celebrate we did!

I feel so blessed to be able to savor the memory of lots of summertime getaways – even if they aren’t tethered to just one place. And who knows? Time will tell, but “my” cabin at Pinecrest may end up being pretty darn close to a summer place of my own!

In the meantime (and after a most trying year…), I’ll wish for everyone to find or to rediscover their own summer place – whatever and wherever it may be! A peaceful kind of place where the food and drinks seem just a little tastier. Where it’s not windy but breezy. Where the sunlight plays on the water in a wonderfully hypnotic way. And where the conversations are especially sparkling and the silences especially golden.

Cheers and good wishes!


  1. Your tent cabin looks perfect. I haven’t decided yet other than 3 days camping at a lake where you cannot swim due to parasites, which sucks but it is a dark sky preserve and we will watch the sky for meteor showers and I will take lots of photos.

    1. Bummer about the lake – but the chance to see meteor showers sounds fantastic! Enjoy, and thanks for reading!

  2. Enjoy your vacation. My wife and I like to get away in autumn. We plan to go to Cape Cod, where we have been regulars for over 20 years.

    1. Sounds beautiful! Thanks very much and hope you enjoy the coming season!

  3. Enjoy the time in “your” cabin. That is the way we feel about our spot in Jasper. It is our cabin, when we are in the mountains, even if only for a few days. Returning to a favourite place or memory feels like a safe harbour. Stay well, Amy. Allan

    1. Thank you so much! Jasper is a gorgeous area and I bet a great place of retreat – I’ve taken one trip there and would love to go again!

  4. Looks so relaxing!

    1. Yes, it’s a great place to do all sorts of outdoor and social activities – or just to be there and enjoy doing nothing at all!

  5. Mike Bonomo · · Reply

    Pinecrest was one of 3 vacation locations that my family returned to several times over the years. The other two were Monterey and Lake Tahoe. Our neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Perona owned a cabin up at Cold Springs which is off Highway 108 about 15 minutes from Pinecrest. They rented their cabin to us many times in the seventies and I have great memories of that cabin and going to the lake. It was pretty Spartan. It was very hot and there was no AC of course. No TV. There was a radio that picked up KCBS news. We had books, board games, cards and the beautiful outdoors. There was a cabin every fifty yards or so back then. About 15 years ago my brother and I tried to find the place on Google Maps using street view and it was so packed with new cabins we couldn’t recognize anything.

    I remember one of the first times getting an air mattress and racing my brothers along the surface of the cool lake with my arms feeling like I was on a surfboard. I had sunscreen on my back and face but not on my legs. In my joyful enthusiasm like Icarus I underestimated the power of the sun and got a tremendous burn on the back of my legs. My dear old grandmother who was born in frigid Tsarist Siberia did not have a lot of experience treating sunburn. So don’t blame my Babushka for putting mentholatum on my legs when we quickly ran out of noxema. It soothed the pain enough that I felt up to playing outside with my brothers before dark. Unfortunately, I was in shorts and as we ran around we kicked up a lot of dirt and dust that stuck tenaciously to the mentholatum on my legs. As my brothers got to go to bed, I spent the next hour or so it seemed in the tub with Mom and Babushka scrubbing the dirt and mentholatum off my sunburned legs. It hurt so much it felt like they removed a layer of my skin with sandpaper by the time they finished.
    I had to sleep on my stomach that night and it was hard to fall asleep. I heard my father reacting to the news on the radio that Edmund Muskie refused to be George McGovern’s running mate against Nixon. The next day Dad took my brothers to the lake and they rented a rowboat. I stayed in the shade at the cabin with Mom and Babushka and read Custer’s Last Stand by Quentin Reynolds. It was the summer of 1972.

    The following summer I remember watching a movie at the lake. We brought lawn chairs and sleeping bags. A huge sheet was strung up between the pines. As it got dark we saw bats flying past the screen. I saw my first PG movie that night: The Poseidon Adventure. I was shocked to hear Ernest Borgnine say SOB (although I’d heard my dad say it occasionally). I was 9 years old and my feet froze despite the sleeping bag’s covering. It was the first time I realized that I could not fall asleep no matter how tired I was if my feet were cold. So I was awake to laugh when Eric Shea was trying to figure out how to go to the john when all the toilets were on the ceiling. So many things we see and hear in the world may change but kids will still laugh at potty jokes. It was the summer of 1973 at Pinecrest.

    1. Love your Pinecrest memories, Mike – fantastic detail! Sorry about the sunburn though – ouch! I see a dermatologist every year now, waiting for the ill-gotten tans of my childhood to cause trouble… And I still get caught packing for trips with the mistaken idea that places only get really hot or really cold – not both! My first purchase after going to the Lair was a MUCH warmer sleeping bag! Thanks as always for the wonderful reminiscences!

  6. Yes I have always wondered what it would be like to have a summer place, but then we wouldn’t have visited other different places. When I was eight we stayed in a converted railway carriage and once Cyberspouse and my brother and sister-in-law stayed in a railway station part converted into a cottage – it was still a working railway station and also looked out over a large bay where sheep grazed at low tide!

    1. We’ll you’ve got me there – I haven’t ever stayed in a railway carriage! Sounds like you agree that one summer place, while romantic somehow, might have limited our overall experiences. Thanks for reading and sharing one of your summer abodes!

  7. Enjoy your summer break!

  8. Mike Jackson · · Reply

    Hi Amy, for those with a wanderlust, the past Covid months have been difficult, to say the least. My wife haven’t been over to the USA since 2019, and missing visiting our daughter and family in MN. And the epic roads trips we’ve made exploring your glorious country, as I’ve described in many blog posts. Enjoy your tent cabin break. I think it will be another year before we can fly across The Pond!

    1. Yes, it’s tough to stay put – especially when loved ones are far away… But here’s to your getting back across the Pond for more family time and of course more epic road trips!

  9. What an enchanting place and full of special memories.
    Lovely telling 🙂

    1. Thanks very much – glad to share it with you!

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