Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

дача - American Style!


I love adventure, discovery and surprises! But there's some comfort in the familiar. In returning to people and places that evoke warm feelings and memories. Since childhood my family has spent many summer weekends at a place called "The Wilderness." For generations, we've packed our weekend summer bags, hopped in the car and taken the hour drive to Fredricksburg, Virginia where we have a recreational vehicle (RV) parked at a modest resort in the woods.

1. Our original RV was quite small. Here's a photo of my family in the mid-80's standing on the front porch. Oh, these were my dorky years!


2. The RV was purchased by my dad's parents in the early 70's. They called it "Casa Del MattaMar," a combination of their names (Matt and Margaret). Here's me standing by the sign around age two. My dad still has this sign hanging in the massive garage I showed you in my hometown post. When his parents passed away, he inherited the property.


3. A few years ago we upgraded to a really nice, but nameless, RV. It's a "fifth wheel" and completely mobile! You can hook it up to the back of a truck and journey anywhere but it has remained parked here since it was planted. Now let's go inside...


4. Here's the living room when you first enter the door, complete with a TV. Absolutely no Internet connection here, even on mobile devices it's difficult to get good reception. The couch folds out into a bed. We've had as many as eight people sleeping in here. In the open spaces we simply use big blow-up mattresses so a lot of people can stay overnight.


5. Aerial view from the upstairs.


6. Full kitchen with stove, refrigerator, microwave. We almost always have barbecues so it's rare that the stove is actually used.


7. Cozy table, but there's a huge picnic table on the lot that we usually use for summer meals. The table is a nice back-up in the event of rain.


8. Cute salt and pepper shakers, my favorite accessory in the kitchen. :)


9. Here, old school salt and pepper shakers in my hand. Probably getting ready to eat some burgers from the grill.


10. The upstairs has a nice bed, toilet, shower, closet and dressers where clothes can be stored.


11. The grounds of the property. We spend most evenings sitting out here chatting by a huge bonfire and occasionally singing when one of my acoustic guitar playing friends stays for the weekend. Pure joy to me, sitting by the campfire singing and I love the delicious smell of campfire sinking into your skin and clothes.


12. The resort where the RV is parked is surrounded by several lakes and a lot of wooded areas. I get so bored sitting for long periods of time so usually I'll go wander around in the woods to see if anything interesting shows up. I've seen many snakes, squirrels (eek!), beavers, racoons and huge insects. But no bears. :)


13. When we were very young my sister captured a turtle in one of the lakes and brought it home. It still lives today, almost thirty years later, in an aquarium at my parent's house. But the moment of capture was caught in this photo. My dad really pushed us to do things on our own, even when we were young girls. Touch turtles, put worms on our own fish hooks. In some ways my sister and I are both tomboys but I'm grateful for the strange knowledge he's imparted upon us.


14. There's a wonderful bridge by one of the lakes. Just last weekend I went fishing here with my sister and nephew.


15. My sister standing on the exact same bridge about twenty-five years ago. You can see the bridge has changed color, and even shape, over the years. Today it has much more character and it's also a lot less stable!


16. My mom and Aidan on the bridge last autumn. He loves it here, running around in the woods, fishing and swimming. For me it's really cool to look at the progression of the bridge through the years, seeing different generations of my family standing at the same spot and hooking a worm at the same location. I'm a progressive thinker but there's something about tradition when it comes to family. It's a real soft spot for me.


17. My favorite season here is autumn. The air is crisp and cool and the foliage is usually very colorful and vibrant.


18. Residents can park canoes at the lake, but the resort also offers them for rent.



20. Several times my sister and I have gone out on the lake, ventured too far and regretted the long paddle back. A canoe, hard work getting it back to shore at times.


21. You can also rent paddle boats or simply sit on one of the docks and catch up with old friends.


22. Things get really festive for every summer holiday. We were here for the recent Memorial Day weekend and participated in the decorating contest. For my mom, this is a big deal! She's really competitive and takes the decorations and strategies seriously.



24. This year she didn't place in the competition. Great disappointment for her. But she's a real champion at the resort and has the trophies to prove it. She proudly displays them in the kitchen. :)


25. The resort also holds parades on all major holidays. Kids decorate their bikes and can compete for prizes.


26. This little girl was my favorite. Her grandmother told us she made the girl's cap out of a coffee filter. Creative!


27. And she won a prize, standing here with her proud dad.


28. Most residents drive around the resort in these golf carts and they also compete for best decoration. Now that I think about it, Americans really like to decorate things!


29. Some just enjoy the ride.


30. There's a wide range of RVs here. Some people with bigger lots have full gardens and the RV looks more like a main home rather than a weekend getaway.



32. And some abandoned RVs and lots as well.


You can also rent a vacant lot and tent camp. We did that in our younger years, but now most of the family prefers the comfort of the RV. Personally, I like tent camping but only in cool weather. With the heat and humidity of Virginia summers, a tent in July or August would closely resemble a torture chamber.

33. Simple secluded places like this are my saving grace, whether it's up in the mountains, in the woods or by the open sea. You can breathe and think. I don't know whether Russians read American literature in school but my favorite American authors are the Transcendentalists/Romantics from the 1800's. A group of writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman and Henry David Thoreau who promoted individuality, solitude and self-reflection. The catalyst for such reflection was living in the woods or other natural landscapes.


As Thoreau wrote - "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

Some day I'll find an adventurous partner, we'll hook the RV up to a pick-up truck and journey through America. A girl can dream, right?

So tell me, does your family have a dacha? Share pictures and memories if you wish. I will be happy to see and hear.


( 65 comments — Leave a comment )
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
Jun. 6th, 2013 04:08 am (UTC)
A nice place!

What I like in F'burg is the concentration of antique stores. I bought there a funny porcelain pig (there's a photo in my journal)
Jun. 6th, 2013 01:49 pm (UTC)
You've been to Fredricksburg!?! When I was a kid, there was absolutely nothing in this city. But now the main area has everything, malls, tons of restaurants, shops, etc. But the little "old town" area is wonderful and charming. If you like antique shops, you should make a trip to Amish land in Lancaster. They are exceptional there.

Maybe you're secretly an American living in Virginia? :)
Jun. 6th, 2013 04:48 am (UTC)
Hi Shannon! Thanks for the post ! We had dacha , but we used it as small farm to grow vegetables and some berries and it was not so fun for me :-)
"My favorite season here is autumn"
My too and I miss it :-(
Jun. 6th, 2013 01:50 pm (UTC)
My pleasure! Berries - I only like strawberries, not blue or blackberries.
Jun. 6th, 2013 05:02 am (UTC)
Good evening! :)

Any girl can dream about it, Shannon. And any boy can dream about adventurous partner as you :))
Jun. 6th, 2013 05:22 am (UTC)
My mom and auntie - they has a two dachas somewhere ashore Okhotskoye sea. But I can't share pics, because I've never been there. My mom is great woman, but she invites me on dacha for one reason - make a hard work like carrying some boards, bricks and other harmful objects :)

On Sakhalin we have enough restplaces. More than enough :) Woods, lakes and mountaines, Okhotskoye sea, Aniva bay and Pacific Ocean :)

Edited at 2013-06-06 05:37 am (UTC)
Jun. 6th, 2013 01:51 pm (UTC)
It's nice nature! Well, I'm very spoiled with my dad. He does everything for his girls - fixes our cars, problems in the house, etc. A man of all trades.
(no subject) - fareastener - Jun. 6th, 2013 02:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fareastener - Jun. 6th, 2013 02:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 6th, 2013 05:27 am (UTC)
Beautiful and... alien. :) When I see this american landscapes and people, it seem so far away for me - both in literal and figurative senses. In our region autumn is mostly windy, rainy and dirty; so, I don't like it much.

We read some American literature in school. Mark Twain and Jack London, for example. As for me, I like Theodore Dreiser.
Jun. 6th, 2013 01:52 pm (UTC)
Why alien? Mark Twain and Jack London - interesting!
(no subject) - fareastener - Jun. 6th, 2013 02:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 6th, 2013 04:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fareastener - Jun. 6th, 2013 09:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 7th, 2013 12:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nar_row - Jun. 6th, 2013 06:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 6th, 2013 06:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 6th, 2013 05:36 am (UTC)
Such a awesome post! I liked it a lot!

Salt and pepper shakers is the best one!

>>The upstairs...
Does the RV have two floors?

My in-laws have a dacha. It's a nice place but now they live in the house so we go to that dacha very rare. And now we make barbecue parties in their house.

Very sad that we have very bad roads in Russia and we can't travel by RV.
Jun. 6th, 2013 01:55 pm (UTC)
Denis, hello! I'm glad you liked the story. Russian roads, I remember them well and not so fondly. It's not really two floors. The main part of the RV is the living area/kitchen and then a few steps leading up to the bedroom area. Btw, which do you like best - mountains, woods or sea?

Edited at 2013-06-06 03:54 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - mybathroom - Jun. 6th, 2013 05:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ypolozov - Jun. 12th, 2013 07:18 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 6th, 2013 05:58 am (UTC)
amazing place (or photo?)))). very prettily .
tell me, why american people so like american flag? i see it in every american movie. it is not bad, but little strange for me.
Jun. 6th, 2013 06:32 am (UTC)
It's patriotism, the kind of thing which is lacking to sausage emigrants.
(no subject) - togliatt - Jun. 6th, 2013 06:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 6th, 2013 02:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - togliatt - Jun. 7th, 2013 05:46 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 6th, 2013 06:09 am (UTC)
Very nice place you have there, Shannon!
We've been renting the same cabin up in New Hampshire for a few weeks every Summer for the last couple of years, but I'd love to own a "datcha" to spend my weekends there. Perhaps, some day, when I have more money.

Back in Russia, my parents owned a small plot with a summer house in the countryside. I spent summers there as a child. We grew veggies and potatoes there during the bad times (late 80s-early 90s), but it was kind of fun for me, and they tasted good.
Jun. 6th, 2013 02:02 pm (UTC)
New Hampshire - you know I love this State! So beautiful. My family rents a cabin sometimes in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. There I've seen many, many bears. They will come right up on the porch.
Jun. 6th, 2013 06:37 am (UTC)
Jun. 6th, 2013 02:03 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 6th, 2013 02:05 pm (UTC)
Some people swim in the lake, but I never have. We go to a huge lake called Lake Anna in Mineral, Virginia. My dad's sister has a great house there and we grew up boating, skiing, camping and swimming there. It's close to the dacha, only about 1/2 hour away.
Jun. 6th, 2013 12:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your post! This is absolutely amazing way of resting and relaxing.

It can be arguably more attractive than having a dacha Russian-style where you always have lots of home work to keep the land and the house in a good and livable condition. Older people (and my older relatives, too) spend most of their dacha summer time in a garden taking care of their plants and flowers and in the kitchen conserving the products. And we are expected to help of course.

I particularly like the idea that you can move anywhere and park your RV at a nice location, and spend there any time you want.

What are the restrictions regarding parking an RV? Can you park on federal or private lands or do you have to park it at designated places only? Are there RV parks that are free of charge?
Jun. 6th, 2013 02:12 pm (UTC)
Slava, hello! Nice to see you again. :) I read that in Soviet times dachas were extremely regulated (could only be certain sizes, etc.). When we first started coming to this RV park, most of the residents were private owners. But then another company gained ownership and convinced many of the property owners to sell so they could use their lots for transient campers. But my family didn't sell out. Now, there are vacant lots where people pay to park their RV for a day or two. But we own our lot and the RV always stays in the same spot, unless we want to hook it to a car for a private journey.

Almost all national parks in the U.S. have huge camping areas for RVs and tents. So, this is my dream. Journey to the West, stopping at national parks along the way for overnight sleeping and rest in the RV. :)

P.S.: tell your wife I said hello.
(no subject) - moonrainbow - Jun. 9th, 2013 10:21 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 9th, 2013 02:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 6th, 2013 01:44 pm (UTC)
Wow! This second RV is huge!
Very interesting, I did not know that Americans use trailers as almost permanent "dachas".

Yes, our family has dacha, it is a 2-storey log cabin, quite large, and we own the land.
The downside is that the place is not that pretty, looking packed like American suburbs.
One need to drive to get to a lake or some better lanscape.

I do not have a picture of my dacha ready but this picture from Google is quite typical.
www. ivushka. msk. ru/iva-photos-001.html

There are thousands of such places around Moscow.
Jun. 6th, 2013 02:15 pm (UTC)
It's a pity I couldn't visit a Russian or Ukrainian dacha during my visits. Log cabins - I love! Americans are very mobile, this you know. So the RV is great for this lifestyle. There are restrictions at this resort where you cannot live here all year, but some residents pretty much make it their permanent home. Leaving only a week or two out of the year.
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Jun. 6th, 2013 02:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 6th, 2013 02:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 6th, 2013 03:48 pm (UTC)
The irrational side of America. Death Valley, California :)
rider3099. livejournal. com/119031.html
Jun. 6th, 2013 03:52 pm (UTC)
I read and communicate with her. She's very pleasant! I'm always searching for other female bloggers. This LJ platform, it's completely dominated by men. What a pity more women aren't represented among the popular bloggers, except those who show their tits or talk about sex.
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Jun. 6th, 2013 04:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 6th, 2013 04:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Jun. 6th, 2013 04:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 6th, 2013 05:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Jun. 6th, 2013 07:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 6th, 2013 08:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 6th, 2013 04:51 pm (UTC)
from Amanda
Woman, this is my second favorite post! I love the ones about your sweet family so much. And I love seeing campgrounds since its against everything I stand for ;) though I do love mountains and water and fresh air. Beautiful post. Thank you!
Jun. 6th, 2013 04:53 pm (UTC)
Re: from Amanda
Hi, thanks. Well, you know I'm not a "girly girl" or high maintenance. ;) Though Heather would probably disagree. I like camping in the middle of nowhere, sitting by the fire...
Jun. 6th, 2013 06:52 pm (UTC)
Nice photos Shannon. I remember the fun that Jim & Jeff had with all of you while camping at Smith Mountain Lake. We still enjoy camping here in California. We camped at Mammoth Lakes last year and had the bears visit three times while we were there. You know how much I love to travel, but I have always enjoyed the peacefulness of camping.
Jun. 6th, 2013 07:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Camping
Hi Carol! I remember the fun trips to Smith Mountain Lake. Your boys, always trying to cause trouble. :)
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
( 65 comments — Leave a comment )


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by yoksel