Decades ago, JB’s parents bought a tiny cabin on the Umpqua River. They put a lot of work into it over the years, it is an integral part of JB’s childhood memories. He always wanted the cabin to be as much of a part of our lives — of our children’s lives — as it was for him, but we were so far away. We drove there over and over, but the pleasure of our visits was often overshadowed by the sheer effort of getting there.

Now the cabin is a little over an hour from our house. We go there almost every Friday, and our routine has become as comfortable as a broken-in pair of jeans. We leave around 4. We stop at a McDonald’s in Cottage Grove for Happy Meals. We put coins on the train tracks in Drain. We stop for a half-gallon of milk, and more often than not, a pint of Umpqua Dairy ice cream, Blackberry Revel flavor. We start a fire to warm up the cabin, pop popcorn, play a few disgusting, giggly games of Would You Rather? and curl up in front of Shark Tank.

Saturday morning JB bundles up the boys and they spend hours trekking through the chilly, secretive woods. I drag a chair over to the window and drink cup after cup of coffee while gazing out at the river. The days of swimming and sunning are gone but fall brings a peaceful sort of pleasure all its own: no need to get up, no need to go anywhere, nothing to do but sit and breathe and look for the silver-fast splash of a fish jumping from the water (like watching a meteor shower, your eye is sure to be in the wrong place. By the time you see it, it’s over, but how delighted you are all the same), the foggy tendrils caught in the autumn-tinged trees, the way the river’s glassy reflection transforms to a matte, pockmarked surface when the rain sets in. The osprey that circles its dinner before dropping in a sudden startling rush, the ragged V of geese heading upstream in a comical flurry of honks.

It’s just a short drive down the road now, but oh, it’s an entire world away. I think this over and over: we are so lucky.

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Lynn C Dot
10 years ago

It looks beautiful!

Maureen
Maureen
10 years ago

This entry? Sounds like heaven to me, and the knowledge that you are giving your own boys these wonderful memories, must be the icing on the cake.

Randy
Randy
10 years ago

Like a fairy tale come true!

Jen
Jen
10 years ago

I love this. I love your beautiful writing. Those boys of yours…they are so very lucky you’re giving them these amazing childhood memories. They will no doubt be at the cabin someday with their own children, passing on this Sharp Family tradition.

Terri
Terri
10 years ago

Beautiful!! You know ‘they’ always say how you should work towards giving your children experiences rather than things. It makes your children better rounded people. I think you two are making AMAZING memories for your boys, which they will cherish forever!!

Kudos to you and JB!! You are lucky!! And you are also awesome because you know and recognize that :)

TheRachelSyn
TheRachelSyn
10 years ago

Indeed you are so lucky. Beautiful place – and no sailboats made of souls. So glad you guys made the journey!

Betsy
Betsy
10 years ago

Sounds magical! Your words are beautiful.

Jessica
Jessica
10 years ago

Beautiful writing and a beautiful place. We have a family place here in Texas that’s similar, and I’m loving seeing my kids enjoy it just as I did as a child.

g~
g~
10 years ago

We, too, have our tiny cabin on the river. And it is a haven for the soul, to be sure…er…on the opposite side of the country, that is.

Evelynne
10 years ago

I wanted this so much for you, and was so happy when you got it, and to see you cherishing it like this made me teary.

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

That sounds amazing…brought a tear to my eye, too.

Mary O
Mary O
10 years ago

I know the area that you’re talking about. My family makes lots of treks from the coast to Portland, and we pass through the highway along the Umpqua. It is so beautiful, and you are so lucky to get to spend a lot of time there. Love those pictures!

Heather
Heather
10 years ago

I love everything about this.

Chloe
10 years ago

Oh wow, it is so beautiful.

*Mushy*

Wonderful childhood memories for your kids, too.

ste
ste
10 years ago

That looks like the most perfect little piece of the world.

Jill
10 years ago

Your writing is beautiful…

ccr in MA
10 years ago

Beautiful, the photos and writing both.

Meagan
10 years ago

When the boys are older, the Umpqua is great for white water rafting (McKenzie is good too). When I was a teenager I went every year with a bunch of other fencers.

Suburban Snapshots
10 years ago

Oh stunning. I’m not a nature girl, but that is just gorgeous, and this entry is lovely.

Navigating the Mothership

This looks so wonderful and the pictures are amazing. Oh, to have a cabin to yourself for a few hours sounds heavenly. Yay. Good for you. Glad for you.

Angella
10 years ago

I’ve told you a hundred times, but I am SO HAPPY FOR YOU.

But, you know, you guys can always come here if you want to drive. Matthew and JB can hunt, our little dudes can run around and you and I can just hang out. It’s been too long, you.

Jenny
10 years ago

Good golly, yes you are very lucky. I feel like I’m in a perpetual paradise when I stop to look around my surroundings, but . . . yours is better. Much happiness to you and yours in your pretty peacefulness!

Donna
Donna
10 years ago

So very lucky to have found your little piece of heaven on earth. I would be hard pressed to EVER leave.

Anais
Anais
10 years ago

Great entry and gorgeous pictures. The way you described it makes me wish I were there, sitting on that bed with that picturesque window and a book just the same. Oh Linda, when will you write us a book? I’m happy for you and your wonderful family. What a great place for Riley and Dylan to grow up! No doubt that they will carry on the tradition when they have children of their own.

Robin
10 years ago

It’s absolutely magical… what a treasure for you and your fellas.

Nicole
Nicole
10 years ago

Since your move, I have told my husband many many many times, he is tired of hearing it I’m sure, how much I want to vacation in Oregon. I can only imagine your pictures don’t even do it justice and I want to see the beauty for myself. You ARE so lucky and I am so glad your family made those dreams come true!

Jeanette
10 years ago

How beautiful is that view from the bedroom? You are so lucky to have somewhere like that to go to and you are creating such wonderful memories for your boys!

Renee from GA
Renee from GA
10 years ago

So very happy for you and your family! We sold our little cabin in the woods a few years ago. It was the right decision for sure but I miss it every fall. Many happy memories there.

kristin
kristin
10 years ago

Wow! That view!

Mare
10 years ago

I’m so glad all your dreams are coming true.

amy a
amy a
10 years ago

its a fairy tale place!

Em
Em
10 years ago

Lovely! It sounds amazing. Can I just say that I am more than a little jealous?

Redbecca
Redbecca
10 years ago

We’d love to be closer than a two-day drive to our place in Maine (and also that it was winterized so you could live in it more than 3 months out of the year). I am jealous and so happy that you and the fam have a place like this that is close and full of love and memories.

Elaine
Elaine
10 years ago

Beautiful entry and very familiar pictures. We’ve driven from I-5 through Drain to the coast countless times (parents used to live in Gold Beach) and that’s such a lovely area. My dream is to retire and move to the Oregon coast – seeing your dream come true makes me think maybe mine can as well. Thank you for that.

shygirl
shygirl
10 years ago

Oh, *Sundry*. I could just hug you, reading this. Heartfelt congratulations on having the stones to take the risk and make your dreams come true. So, so happy for you guys!!

Annie
Annie
10 years ago

Those pictures almost look like paintings ! Beautiful.

Amy Neto
Amy Neto
10 years ago

You are very lucky and I’d like to crawl through the computer and smack you right about now for showing us these awesome pictures over and over. Completely green with envy down here in Sacto!

Enjoy. I wish I had a place like that for my boys. We do enjoy our trips to Monterey and the Aquarium…but it’s not as rejuevinating as that sounds!

Judy
Judy
10 years ago

My eyes just filled up at the beauty, and from the homesickness for the PNW.

Carole
Carole
10 years ago

Yes, you are lucky. : D
I am planning to head for my childhood getaway next weekend. There’s nothing so good as a woodburning fire in a cabin high above the lake. Life is just easier out there than in the city.

Amanda Brown
10 years ago

Sounds beyond wonderful.
Also, this post was stunning. Very Anne Lamott…beautiful moments captured.

warcrygirl
10 years ago

Absolutely gorgeous.

Nancy
Nancy
10 years ago

Magical!

mamadoc
mamadoc
10 years ago

Looks like something out of Lord of the Rings. Beautiful.

Jessica
Jessica
10 years ago

The Umpqua is an amazing river. I have a huge crush on a little town called Elkton… have always imagined it would be the ideal place to live – close to Eugene, close to the coast. You would still get hot summers but could go to the beach quickly and easily. Drive into Eugene on the weekends for shopping. Wineries. Arlene’s. And that gorgeous river. And my favorite season on the Umpqua is fall – the leaves are extraordinary. Thank you for sharing this piece of your life.

NancyJ
NancyJ
10 years ago

You are definitely so lucky! It’s so great that the boys get to enjoy this time with the two of you while they are young!
We camped alot when our son was young – alone and with my sister and her family – and there are alot of good memories from that for all of us.
Now we have a small house in a lake neighborhood and although he’s in his 20s and can pick and choose when he comes up (we’re there every weekend April to October), he’s there much much more than 5 years ago when we bought it.
Beautiful pictures!

Linda
Linda
10 years ago

Jessica — we’re right down the road from Elkton, across from Bob’s Market in Scottsburg. JB’s dad was the superintendent of the Elkton school for several years.

Staci
10 years ago

Here’s to making dreams come true!

(I’ve always dreamed of a cabin in the woods just like that!)

lisa-marie
10 years ago

Beautiful! You ARE lucky!!

Clueless But Hopeful Mama

That is some Sierra Club calendar worthy shit right there.

You ARE so lucky. I just focused in on one of your pics for a few moments and I swear I could smell the clean air.

Kami
Kami
10 years ago

Lucky indeed. Enjoy every minute you deserve it.