On November 4, we drove out to Indiana and spent the weekend with old friends at New Harmony State Park. Now, a weekend at a state park normally conjures up visions of camping, roughing it and communing with nature. However, in addition to the traditional campsites, the park has Family Cabins available, and that is what we and the two other families rented out. We were in Cabin 8 (or Cabin ‘ocho’ as Scott started calling it), with our friends in Cabins 3 and 4.
This “camping trip” has been an annual event for the past three years, but this was our first time participating. During the weekend, each family is responsible for hosting one of the meals, and the rest of the time is spent playing games, fishing, hiking, making campfires and generally hanging out (sounds like normal camping activities, eh).
Since this was our first time going to the State Park, we weren’t sure what to expect with respect to the Family Cabin accommodations. We had told Erica and Brian that we were going to a “cabin in the woods” and Brian automatically assumed that “Cabin” meant “Log Cabin”. In the days leading up to the trip, Brian hyped up our impending “Log Cabin Adventure” to all of his friends and teachers. We really didn’t expect authentic log cabins, so we continued to say to Brian “You know, it may not be a LOG cabin”, hoping not to disappoint him. So, imagine our surprise when we pull up to our cabin, and discover that it was indeed an authentic log cabin . Brian was so excited - he kept on touching the log walls.
The cabins has two bedrooms, a full bath, kitchen, great room and screened in porch - really not roughing it by any stretch of the imagination. In the kids’ bedroom, the immediate attraction are the two sets of bunk beds - each claimed the top portion of the beds and set up their sleeping bags (thank goodness there were two sets of beds - would hate to have to mediate the “who gets to sleep on top” argument).
Our first night was spent unpacking, having dinner with the W’s and enjoying the campfire Mr. Jeff built outside. The fire kept us nice and warm against the cold November night air. The mostly clear skies allowed the almost full moon to cast its cool glow on the campground.
Saturday arrived with sunny skies and fairly moderate temperatures. No, it wasn’t warm, but it wasn’t cold either. Our family (ie - yours truly) was responsible for the lunch meal. I prepared BBQ Beef brisket and Chinese Homestyle BBQ Pork. The Chinese pork is really easy to prepare - just combine cubes of pork (not to lean - it has to have fat in it to taste good!) with equal parts of Sugar, Ketchup, Soy Sauce (I use Kikkoman), Red Vinegar and a half part of cheap white wine in a stock pot and cook it for 3 hours or so, until the meat is nice and tender and the liquids have reduced to a medium thick sauce. We served it with rice and steamed broccoli
While lunch was cooking, the kids decided to explore the park grounds. They came across a lakes set down in the woods and decided to try there hand at fishing. As ususal, Brian was enthralled with the worms.
The heavy tree cover posed line casting challenges - several of the kids’ casts became tangled in the tree branches or got stuck in the floating branches in the water. They didn’t catch anything, but had fun while enjoying the fall scenery.
After lunch we took a hike on the number 2 trail which winds through the woods, along the banks of the Wabash and back through the woods.
We took time out at the playground to play on the swings and jump in big piles of leaves.
Dinner Saturday night was hosted by Mr. And Mrs. Jeff and followed by an evening of entertainment, games and general silliness while hanging out by the fire. For entertainment, Sarah first wowed us with ballet as she demonstrated her advanced pointe technique on her new pointe shoes. Then Meredith and Erica played several violin pieces from the Suzuki program. Finally, the extreme silliness set in as the kids created several cheerleading “cheers”, led by the sole male child (yes, that would be Brian - and he really hammed it up).
But the excitement didn’t stop there - it continued as we returned to Cabin “ocho” where we were greeted by an unexpected visitor - a MOUSE! The mouse ran from the kitchen into our bedroom, amidst some yells and squeals. Then it scurried into the kids’ room, around the beds and proceeded to climb the walls. The screaming started to crescendo until the mouse disappeared into the wallboards and seemingly up into the attic area of the cabin. Then the reality of a mouse in the cabin set in along with the normal feelings of the heebie-jeebies and elicited some funny comments, the being:
“I can’t go to sleep in this cabin! The mouse might come back and bite my head off!”. We finally convinced ourselves and the kids that the mouse was not coming back into our sight and settled down to sleep.
The next morning, we all gathered at Mr. And Mrs. Jeff’s cabin again for a great breakfast:
The last activity before we all parted ways - we went on a letterbox search and found this cool letterbox that the kids signed -
Looking forward to attending in future years, and hopefully, we won’t get a mouse in our cabin the next time!!