Cabin on Blake

Get Out The Games!

One of our favorite things to do at the cabin is pull out the board games. We can spend all afternoon and into the evening sitting around the table, trying to outplay each other. Depending on whether we’ve got kids, couples or families playing, we’ve got a list of favorites.

For the kids:

Sometimes it’s fun to play against each other and sometimes the kiddos do better if we’re playing as a team against the game. One of our favorite cooperative games for the little ones is Hoot Owl Hoot. It’s for two to four players ages four-and-up. The goal is to work as a team to get everyone’s owls back to the nest before the sun rises. The graphics are cute and the kids love “hooting” for the owls. Peaceable Kingdom has other cooperative games, too. We also love Race To the Treasure.

Spot-It is another family favorite and even the little ones can play. It comes in a round tin and is super easy to take on the go. There are several variations so you can change it up if the kids start to get bored. The goal is to match symbols on the cards. Usually the kids do better than the grown-ups on this one.

For the family:

If you’ve got a good sized group of six-to-eight people, it’s fun to test everyone’s artistic skills with Telestrations. It’s like playing “telephone” but with pictures. Each person has a card and has to draw a picture of what’s on their card. The next person has to write a guess and pass it on. The next person has to draw what the guess was. By the time the original tablet gets back to the person who started it, the group may have consistently guessed correctly or they may have veered completely off course.

Tapple is fast-paced fun. Someone draws a card with a category and then everyone takes turns trying to name something that starts with a different letter of the alphabet before the time runs out. The catch is, you can only use each letter once. We’ve been known to get rather creative with this one!

King Of Tokyo is a go-to family favorite. It took a few rounds for the kids to master it and they still fight over who gets to be the Meka Dragon, but we always have a good time.

I could go on and on. Can you tell we’re a big gaming family? Some of our other family favorites are Sushi Go, Headbandz, Wits & Wagers, Scrambled States, Blokus… and too many more to name!

For the more serious gamers:

We bought the game Ticket To Ride a few years ago and have really enjoyed it. The goal is to build your trains between your destination tickets before you run out or someone has the gall to block you. Bonus, the kids learn a bit about geography since they have to figure out where their destination tickets are.

Codenames is a new favorite we received as a gift. A clue giver tries to prompt his or her teammate(s) to guess their words on the board without choosing the code word. We became addicted to this one last summer and played over and over until the kids finally made the adults wrap it up and get dinner going!

Some of our other more challenging games are Seven Wonders, Settlers of Catan, & Pandemic.

We have plenty of games at the cabins if you forget to bring your own. Other ideas…

  • Pack a deck of cards and teach the kids how to play good old-fashioned solitaire with real cards.
  • Jot down a bunch of ideas on slips of paper and start an impromptu game of Charades.
  • Start up a round of Would You Rather.
  • Engage the kiddos in a few turns of 20 Questions.
  • Pick a puzzle and try to finish it up before vacation ends.

What are some of your family’s favorite games? Have you played any of the ones on our list?

The Story of the Recycled Cabin on Blake

We weren’t exactly looking for a second home. Especially not one that needed to be recycled--moved, gutted and completely rebuilt. But in mid-November of 2012, we were presented with the opportunity to purchase a house in the Cumberland area that was scheduled to be torn down. It was a charming little home with all of its original 1984 decor, but it was located on a prime piece of real estate that was about to be developed. We always try to "go green" when we can, and hated to think of the house being demolished so we tried to come up with a way to save it.

After many discussions and back and forth conversations with the owner, we put in an offer. He accepted, but…the house had to be moved by the end of the year. We already had a lot on Big Blake Lake but that only gave us about a month to make arrangements and sign the paperwork. Convinced we were crazy, we made the decision to go ahead with the purchase and our adventure began.

To meet the end of the year deadline, we had to have the home moved over twenty miles to our lot on Big Blake Lake. That meant having utility lines lifted, trees trimmed, and our new neighbors’ mailboxes removed to make room for the giant trailer.

I’ll never forget how it felt to watch our investment move down the road, inch by painful inch. Every time the truck went over a bump or the trailer shifted, my heart jumped into my throat and I thought I might pass out. Finally, finally, they made it to the lot and parked our new cabin where it would sit until spring.

Over the frigid winter, with the help of some very dear friends we’ll never be able to repay, we gutted the place. Walls came down, windows were moved around, and the interior was stripped down to the studs.

When spring finally came and the ground thawed, we were able to dig and pour the basement. The septic system was installed and we drilled the well. The home made it to its new foundation and I started to think this might not have been such a wild decision.

Then, a remarkable thing happened. Between May of 2013 and February of 2014 an amazing transformation took place. Our hard work started to pay off. New windows went in, we rearranged the interior to take advantage of the gorgeous lake views and built an incredible deck. We had custom log furniture created by a local craftsman and added our own special touches like the Mason jar light fixture that hangs from one of the trees we had to remove during the renovation.

It was and continues to be a labor of love and we can’t believe how different our Cabin On Blake looks from the one-story little rambler we first set eyes on. We hope you enjoy our little slice of paradise on Big Blake Lake just as much as we do!