We were inspired to name the new cabin after the reindeer taxidermy mount we'd found, but I was concerned that it might be too Christmas-y for our non-winter guests. So I posted the question on Zipinion.com: Is Reindeer Cottage a good name for an all-season cabin in the California mountains?
Responses were quite positive. Some were concerned ("too juvenile", "too winter-themed"), others a little strange ("makes me think of cottage cheese"), but most gave us some good insights. Popular words included fun, unique, cute, cozy, rustic, peaceful, mountain, and wildlife. Some thought "cottage" brought a summer-y balance to the winter-y "reindeer"; others thought the name sounded like it would be refreshingly cool for a break from summer's heat, up in the mountains.
Some respondents thought they were giving negative feedback that we ironically interpreted as positive. "Sounds like grandma and hot chocolate" was meant to be a negative but we think it's a great positive because the cabin is authentically vintage. "Sounds small" also works for us because it isn't big -- it's cozy! "I would think of small kids running around the place, with parents trying to take their picture with the reindeer" -- we agree; it's great for families! "Sounds like you should be wrapped up in a big sweater in front of a fire" -- perfect!
If you want to add your own opinion, post a comment below. What do you think of the name?
Yesterday we finally hung the namesake of Reindeer Cottage, a 4' tall reindeer taxidermy head mount. We bought him last summer from an older couple living near Huntington Beach and picked him up on a surf day (an odd cargo mix: surfboards and a reindeer). Now that our dustiest cabin renovations are done, he (she?) holds his prized spot above the fireplace. And we were so pleased with our find that we decided to name the cabin after him: Reindeer Cottage.
I know some of you are probably thinking, "That's a caribou not a reindeer!". And you wouldn't be wrong -- or right. Caribou and reindeer are the same species. In the U.S. we distinguish caribou as wild animals compared to the domesticated reindeer of Siberia and other cold northern climates, but the truth is there's no real physical difference, other than the fact that reindeer are bred to be shorter for the sake of the domesticated tasks expected of them.
Now we just need to figure out what to do about touching. It's so inviting to give our reindeer a little pat because he's soft, but he's also shedding, and that fur can't grow back again. So if you stay at Reindeer Cottage, we would prefer you don't touch the reindeer. But if you must, please do so very gently, briefly, and with freshly washed hands. Thank you!
Last Sunday we did the zip-line and canopy tour to celebrate a couple Birthdays in Wrightwood. Since I'm not a big fan of heights or activities that are physically adventurous, I was a bit apprehensive starting out. But the course is designed to teach you the zip-lining, rappelling, and rope bridge skills on easy stuff first before they take you on the crazy stuff, and we had an absolute blast. Soaring hundreds of feet above the valley at speeds approaching 50mph was incredible!
The tour took about 3 and a half hours. The good news is that the ziplines are now going to stay open in winter, which means you can have a double-hitter weekend in Wrightwood split between zip-lining and skiing at Mountain High. Our cabin guests can get discounts at both locations (restrictions apply; inquire for details).
Welcome, winter! Snow has come early to Wrightwood this year. Let's hope there's lots more to come! Photo taken at Mountain High at noon on 10/9/13.
HomeAway just sent our Certificate of Awesomeness for being the most booked property online. So now I guess we can brag that we are officially, certifiably Awesome. :)
Excuse my exclamation marks, but we just got exciting news! Tom Hale, Chief Product Officer for HomeAway (parent company of VRBO.com, Homeaway.com and VacationRentals.com) called to let us know that the Hideaway gets more online bookings than any other property in their global network! We had no idea! He recently included our listing in a keynote speech to a thousand property managers, discussing what elements make it successful. We are extremely grateful for all our guests that made this accomplishment possible!
The Sharp fire in Wrightwood is finally out, even though others have taken its place not far away. I took this shot a couple blocks from my home. We were quite worried about the cabins because they are in the neighborhood that was in the most danger. With guests coming for a wedding (the mother of the bride!), we had to sweet talk CHP into letting them into the neighborhood, which was basically on lock-down and high alert, requiring proof of residency to enter. We were also worried about our new cabin, just purchased and not yet insured! We personally took in friends and a litter of puppies that had to be evacuated. Luckily our cabin guests were able to still have & enjoy their wedding weekend here in Wrightwood, and life has returned to normal. Such events do bring the community together as everyone gathers to watch the helicopters work and to discuss the latest fire updates. I'll never forget how that mountain peak looked at night, with the many spots of burning fire like hot red lava flowing down a volcano. An amazing event but I'm glad it's over!
Where are the "Before" shots? Use your imagination. I never took a photo of how stained the light carpet was becoming because I didn't want a reminder! But we are very pleased with our DIY job, laying the limestone entry (thanks, ReStore, for the recycled custom tiles!) and bamboo hardwood floor in the living area. Only took us 2 days (why didn't we do this sooner?). As we have time, we plan to continue the upgrades, making Little Pines a cozy but contemporary Wrightwood cabin with designer touches along a global-travel theme.
Seeing spots? We were, and we know our Little Pines cabin guests were, too. That light carpet that was installed just a couple years ago (right before we bought the place) was a bad decision for a ski town. We knew then that this day would come when we'd violently rip out that mottled mess and replace it with hardwoods. Bamboo, of course, for it's environmental sustainability and its beauty (see our previous blog about visiting the factory in rural China). Such a fun DIY project because it's easy to see the dramatic progress as you work.
The event that changed our lives forever, the Wrightwood Annual Classic Car Show, is coming to town this Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013.
In the summer of 2009 we came up to camp near Wrightwood, and stopped to eat at the Car Show on our way back home to the flatlands. We'd been coming up to ski at Mountain High for a couple years and had dreamt of owning a little ski cabin but they were too expensive when we'd looked into it before the global financial crisis of 2008. At the Car Show we happened to sit next to a woman who worked with the Wrightwood Chamber, and we got to chatting about the town. She told us about how the real estate prices had crashed -- bad news for the town but good news to us.
When we got home we started looking at Wrightwood realty. Less than 48 hours later we went back up to look at properties, and even put in our first offer that day (unfortunately outbid). Within a couple weeks we were in escrow on our cabin, and the rest, as they say, is history. Since that day we've purchased two other homes in Wrightwood, one that we live in full time since we fell in love with the town too much to go back to the flatlands after our ski weekends, and another cabin that was just too good a deal to pass up.
So go to the Classic Car Show this weekend -- you never know, it could change your life!