Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Chalet

One of the things that makes Plattekill Mountain so unique is its location, tucked away in Meeker Hollow at the end of a narrow country road. To get there, you pass some sights of greater and lesser charm, depending on your perspective - including Cronk's Appliances, which looks a bit like the set of Sanford and Son if Fred Sanford lived in Petticoat Junction. And on a little triangle of land at the bottom of Upper Meeker Hollow Road, there sits a bunch of old office trailers. Something of an eyesore, I suppose, but I've always thought it added to Plattekill's charm. And it seemed to me that one of those trailers could be easily converted into a living space, a "little house," off the grid--a mountain chalet.

I thought about that every time I drove past those trailers. Finally, this past August my partner Kate and I with her niece McCala and my son Henry took a tour of the trailers. We found one that appeared immediately to be totally workable. 8 feet wide, 8 feet height, and about 30 feet long, it had three rooms that suggested a mud room, a living space, and a bedroom. The interior paneling -- one kind of wood made to look like another kind of wood -- was in near-perfect condition. The linoleum floors were dirty, but intact. The windows were functional; all but one had a screen. There were two openings in the walls for air conditioners, with one in just the right position to send a wood stove pipe out to a chimney.

This tour was followed by a few months of rumination, conceptualization, and hesitation. Could we really do this? Where would we put it? The first idea was to put it in the lower lot of Plattekill Mountain. However, not everyone could see the incredible possibility given its current exterior condition. The rough paint job it currently sports might be kindly called beige, but probably more accurate to call it baby-shit brown. Parking it at Plattekill was a non-starter with the top brass. There were other ideas, but these all led to the dead end of concerns about liability. We were just about to give up when I made one final push. Through a mutual friend, I contacted a farmer with some land in Roxbury and described our idea. She was one of those people that you meet in life who understand your vision and have the generosity and wherewithal to make things happen.

About a week later, on Halloween, a flawless autumn day, I handed a wad of $100 bills (I ain't saying how many) to a dude who towed it down the road to our spot behind the barn next to the chickens and pigs, in the shadow of the old silos, just shy of 50 paces from the compost heap where we would deposit the contents of our composting toilet. I wouldn't have dared imagine a more perfect site

A week after moving it, we enjoyed our first overnight and christened 'The Chalet' with whiskey, tunes, and so forth. There are some tweaks we need to make to the woodstove, the 'kitchen' area needs to be built, the composting toilet placed, and it needs to be furnished (a trip to Ikea took care of most of that). But it's inhabitable. Stay tuned to these pages to follow the progress.

1 comment:

  1. Location looks prime! Awaiting the next update.