Snowed-in & Why Mentone?


See that snow? Hear that silence? That's the sound of our Winter Wonderland in the mountains. There's nothing more silent than a snowed-in roadway . . .

I took this picture the first and only time that we've had the complete joy of being snowed-in at the cabin. It was back in 2014. After having the cabin for seven years at that point, this was the first time the stars magically aligned for us to hit some big snowfall.

And WOW was it ever amazing! I know a bunch of Florida kids that will never forget that first magical time of playing in the snow. I think one of the funniest remarks came from Annika, our daughter, who was 14 at the time when she said, "This stuff is really cold!!" :)

People always ask us why we built our cabin in Mentone, Alabama. Coming from Central Florida, not many have heard of our hidden little gem of a town.

The short story is that we wanted our kids to grow up with a special place away from home that they could always go to and feel like home, just like I had when I was growing up.

Second in importance was that we wanted our kids to experience real SNOW. Not the manufactured bubbles we get here in Florida during the holidays.

And the perfect place had to be within an eight hour drive from home. Our trips to the Asheville area to find snow easily clocked 10 hours or so from our home in the Orlando area. That definitely was two hours too torturously long for this family of six to bear on a regular basis!

Mentone met the drive requirement with an average travel time of about 8 hours 15 mins. Check. We could handle that!

Now for the snow part. Well, that's been a little sketchy, at least compared to the memories that Mark and I had from whence we came….

It definitely snows in Mentone, as we were told when we bought the property, but not as predictably as we had hoped; especially since we were carrying a gaggle with 4-wild-eyed kids 500 miles up the road to synchronize with those wild flurries. We just couldn't hit the jackpot on the big snow days for years.

But no matter. The kids still loved running around in the cold with hats and mittens, and they were always excited to see those scant flurries of white "bugs" in the air.

But Mark and I knew what real snowfall was. . . .

Both Mark and I hail from the northland. He from Wisconsin and me from the likes of Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegone in Minnesota. We both knew what real snow was like and wanted our kids to experience that magic too.

So why Mentone, Alabama of all places?

No doubt our young, impulsiveness came into play, but mostly it was because this sweet little town came highly recommended. A friend / colleague that Mark worked with grew up in Mentone and was often waxing poetically, as it were, about his ole' homestead.

So when a trip to see the fall colors in Asheville turned into a scavenger hunt through real estate magazines searching for affordable, buildable lots panned out, Mark suggested we take a detour home, and veer west to Alabama.

I was NOT excited. I hadn't been to Alabama enough to know much more than what I had learned from my all time second-favorite movie,* My Cousin Vinny, to really embrace this idea. Mark assured me this Alabama detour wouldn't add too much time to our trip, so I capitulated. When we got to what we thought was Mentone, we were not impressed . . . .

Stay tuned for my next blog post for the rest of the story . . .

Wishing you all a wonderful week! Stay warm and travel safe, and always, always, always keep sPaRkLing.✨

*My all time favorite movie? Fargo of course! :)

This is the first in a series of posts about the story of how our family of six, together built our log home. Sign up for our updates so you never miss a post!

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