An October “Weekend” In The Woods

The COVID-19 pandemic arrived in our area of the USA in late March, so my boyfriend, Dave, and I have been trapped at home (mostly) since early April. Our Jeep events for the summer got cancelled, our professional conferences were either postponed or switched to “virtual” conferences, and the Ohio State Park campgrounds filled up with people trying to figure out if they liked camping, since outside was the only place to go. By fall, we were pretty stir-crazy.

Dave suggested we book a cabin that he found on AirBNB, so we did that… and it went even better than expected. The cabin was in rural Ohio, about an hour and a half south of Cleveland… what I call “cow country” (to point, there was literally a cow pasture next to the cabin property… you could hear the mooing). It was a pretty small cabin, with a sitting area, an indoor hot tub, a small kitchen (stovetop and microwave, no oven), a bathroom, and a queen bed in the loft area. We spent most of our time on the front porch, either reading or watching the birds. Okay, bucket list: I want my own cabin, and my own hot tub. Gotta make it happen!

I have a more in-depth post on where we went and what we did at TB | Outdoors, but I wanted to share a couple photos from the trip here, too!

One thing that ended up being interesting was cooking in the cabin. I knew it had a stovetop and microwave, so I brought along my enameled dutch oven (for soups) and my favorite cast iron pan (for bacon and steaks). When we got there, it turned out there were only two small cutting knives in the drawer (one steak knife, one paring knife), and neither of them were very sharp… so I actually ended up chopping onions and potatoes for the soups with my pocket knife! Don’t laugh too hard, but I ended up eating my steak with my pocket knife as well since it was easier than trying to share the one steak knife! We also had a less flavorful French onion soup than I’d planned, because there wasn’t a corkscrew in the cabin and we hadn’t brought one from home, so we couldn’t open the wine I’d brought. Luckily, both Dave and I have bottle openers on our keychains, so we could open the hard ciders we brought along for sitting around the campfire! Lesson learnt: bring everything you think you might need from home. I’d thought ahead to bringing the cast iron cookware and a cutting mat, but really wished I’d brought my good knives, corkscrew, and aluminum foil/plastic baggies.

Another thing: double-check the bag when you buy “fancy coffee” for your trip… I thought I was doing great buying a small bag of pricier coffee than usual so we’d have something special on our trip. But when I opened the bag to make coffee Thursday morning, I discovered that I’d bought whole beans, and of course there was no coffee grinder at the cabin! We found an open can of Folgers three months past the best-by date in the door of the fridge, and (shamefully) drank that. It was horrible, but thankfully we were going to breakfast at the diner and only had to choke down one cup. Later on I noticed an unopened, new can of Maxwell House had been put in the cabin fridge as well, but it was hidden behind the food we’d brought. Oh well… the next couple won’t have the suffer!

We didn’t eat anything really healthy the entire time, with no vegetables in sight. Normally I’d be on Dave to eat his veggies, but you know what? Sometimes you just need a couple days where you’re not committed to eating greens. I definitely wouldn’t recommend making it a regular thing, thought. If you’re interested, our menu for the weekend was:

  • Wednesday dinner: cheddar-bacon potato soup
  • Thursday breakfast: a trip to the local diner
  • Thursday lunch: hot dogs and chips (something simple — but we ended up skipping lunch because we ate too much breakfast)
  • Thursday dinner: French onion soup and strip steaks
  • Thursday dessert: prepackaged slices of cheesecake (skipped because dinner was too filling)
  • Friday breakfast: a bag of mini-doughnuts to be eaten in the car on the way home, and a run through the McDonald’s drive-thru for coffee
  • Snacks: cheeses, chips, herbed pretzels, microwave popcorn
  • Drinks: Diet Coke, diet ginger ale, Dr. Pepper, peppermint tea, English breakfast tea, coffee
  • Alcohol: red wine (unopened, since no corkscrew), hard ciders, Fireball whisky (for the cider — perfect fall cocktail!)