Last week, for our third wedding anniversary, my husband convinced me we needed to go on vacation. Looking for an affordable option, we finally took my Aunt Meredith and Uncle Cal up on their standing offer of using their guest house for 4 days.
The "Little House" is just outside of Two Harbors, MN and is the original homestead on their property. My grandfather, Cliff Gruver, and his brother, Ralph, built it in the 1950s. It's a small, 1 story house with 2 bedrooms and 1 bath and most of the 1950s decor is intact, including the original Art Deco yellow and black plastic wall tiles in the kitchen and bathroom.
The house sat vacant for decades until my uncle bought the property from my grandfather's estate. The house required significant exterior and structural repairs, and now sits quietly up towards the top of the hill, a little gem of a guest house for those lucky enough to know Cal and Meredith.
As a child, I knew the house as a place my parents stored extra furniture, and my father stored old cars on the property, including many prized 1940 Ford rehab projects. My brothers knew the property as the lawn mowing job they never wanted. I'm sure the property was an eyesore for the neighbors during those years, and Cal's ownership and improvements appear to be well-received.
As we stayed in the house for several days, I came to appreciate the Little House and its purpose in life. The house is on a large lot, 500 ft deep from the main road, with plenty of room for a dog to safely wander. There are neighbors but they are not so close you notice them, nor are they so far away you feel alone in the world. The house had all the conveniences of home, with my aunt thoughtfully including just about anything you could possibly need for a stay, and having access to a kitchen proved to be an ideal way to save on expenses during a vacation. Although we were "in the country" - Two Harbors was only a mile away, and Duluth was less than 20 minutes by freeway.
"During the trip, I made a run to town, and as I drove up the driveway on my return, I realized I could live happily in the Little House, as long as I knew every day my husband would be there with me."During the trip, I made a run to town, and as I drove up the driveway on my return, I realized I could live happily in the Little House, as long as I knew every day my husband would be there with me. I was a bit surprised to feel this way after years of living in a spacious Tudor probably seven times the size of the Little House - but life is no longer completely about owning a grand home.
Granted, it's fun to own a semi-historic house, and we're very happy here in Otto's house in Camden - but I could be happy in a Little House too, with my husband and dog and enough to sustain a stable existence. My husband claims hearing me say this was his favorite part of the entire trip - it was my favorite part of the trip as well. Steph