Aspen Cabin at Mill Creek

This weekend, my fellow expeditioners and I tried our hands at “glamping.”  For those who don’t know what glamping is, it’s camping–with benefits.  We rented Aspen Cabin at Mill Creek for two nights, complete with free wi-fi, air conditioning, a microwave, refrigerator, and breakfast delivery in the morning.  It can’t get any better than this, right?

It took about an hour and a half to arrive.  The drive there was stunning.  Our puppy and child were great—quietly staring out the windows.  We cruised through rolling hills and fields, and over bridges… Until we arrived at a detour on Lodi Center Road.  There was a bridge out, which just happened to be the bridge right before we arrived at our destination.

Fortunately, the detour was easy enough.  It only took us about 2 minutes out of the way, and we ended up on Parmenter Road and at our cabin.

The exterior of the cabin was up to standards.  The rustic feel was exactly what we were looking for, but it also looked new and clean.  Wood was piled up next to the porch, and there was a fire pit built into the patio with logs already stacked log-cabin-style.  Three Adirondack chairs were positioned perfectly, with a tiny table available.  Hanging on a column, we found a Bic lighter, and on the front of the building hung tools for the charcoal grill and fire pit.

The front door was unlocked.  Upon entering, the key was found in a small basket atop a green-tiled dinette framed in blonde wood.  To the left was the microwave, china cabinet, sink, half stove, and refrigerator.  Also available on the microwave stand was a glass jar full of Milk Bones.

KitchenFurther inside, to the right was a small flat screen television with a Roku sticking out of the HDMI port closest to the door.  A very large armoire with the same rustic feel as the rest of the cabin hulked over the rest of the room.  A few feet from the TV, a futon laid out against a wall with a table in front of it, and a wood-burning stove next to the far wall.  The window closest to the futon contained the AC system.  We promptly turned it on.

The bedrooms were straight down a hallway from the front door.  To the left was a small bathroom.  The largest part was the shower stall, which seemed large enough to fit two adults.  It was gorgeous, with slate-looking tiles installed.  I often pictured something similar for my house one day, so it was in line with the vacation feel.

The “master bedroom” was slightly disappointing.  It was small, which I expected, but the mattress was a very squishy pillowtop.  We sunk right into it, causing us to wake up with sore, stiff backs in the morning.  In fact, Jeff refused to sleep on it a second night and slept on the futon.

The second bedroom was smaller but contained a bunk bed.  Holden loves bunk beds, and he immediately climbed to the top bunk and turned it into a hideout.  He remained up there for a good portion of the first evening, until we decided to attempt a cook-out.

One of the benefits boasted on the cabin’s website that we were especially excited about was the morning breakfast deliveries.  Mill Creek partners with a local bakery to bring breakfast to the cabins around 8 am.  When we awoke and dragged ourselves, creaking backs and all, to the door, we were excited to see the basket full.  Jeff set it on the table, opened it, and… frowned.

Inside were several small containers: one with four silver-dollar pancakes, another with two very small sausage patties, a bakery container with two tiny muffins, and two cups of fruit.  It was underwhelming, especially considering we had three in our pack.  We did our best to divvy up the food, Holden taking two of the pancakes, Jeff taking the other two.  They also each took a sausage patty, and I ate the muffins.  Well, I actually ate one muffin, because they didn’t taste that good.

The second day, the food was slightly better.  This time, we had a container of scrambled eggs with ham, some breakfast potatoes, and different muffins with fruit.  We ate all of it, however.  Free food=good food.  We worked it off later for sure.

Blundering Expeditioners

Have you ever seen the movie Bridget Jones’s Diary?  Do you remember the scene after Bridget gets the interview with her love interest and becomes a “TV genius”?  She says she has a feeling she is also a genius in the kitchen, and she proceeds to ruin dinner with blue soup, and nothing edible whatsoever.  Epic. Fail.

Well, in my head, I pictured us driving there in record time, immediately relaxing at the cabin, cooking dinner fabulously making delicious burgers, and chilling next to the campfire and eating s’mores.  This kind of ended up happening, but certainly not without a certain amount of frustration.  You see, we never really cooked with charcoal before.  We are gas grill people.  Gas grills are simple. You turn a knob, press a button, and they light.  Charcoal grills?  Not so much.

There was charcoal already there on the porch.  The bag was open, but it was ¾ full.  It would. Not. Light. We tried several times—we made a pyramid, we used the lighter fluid, we tried using a bit of kindling—nothing.  It took about an hour and we still could not get the blasted thing to stay lit.  So, I did what any self-respecting hangry person would do—I went inside and headed up a frying pan.  I also put on a pot of water for corn on the cob.  We were going to eat something good.

Well, while we ate hot dogs and corn, something flickered in our peripherals, and Jeff and I both stole a glance out the window at the grill.  Like magic, it was blazing.  After I was done scarfing down a hot dog, I ran out there and cooked me a burger.  They were actually delicious.

About an hour or so after eating, it was starting to get dark, so we decided to light the fire pit.  Again, the fire kept going out.  It was after a thorough Google search that we learned to take the wood out and start over.  Apparently, if there is a possibility that wood has already been burnt, you can’t try and light it because it might not light.  After we started over, the fire was fine and we were able to make our s’mores and eat ‘em too.


Throughout the night, we would wander around and take a step, and something would pop under our feet.  It was tiny millipedes.  There were hundreds of them, and they were crawling all over the cabin.  I didn’t realize why they were decreasing in number suddenly, until I caught Magnus eating them.  He must have taken out a good chunk of them, because the next night they were practically gone.

A Trail to Remember?

The website for the cabins also makes mention of a nature trail on the land.  We decided to take Magnus for a walk, so we scoped out the sites.  It pretty much consisted of overgrown brush that someone had cleared out a path through.  The best part was through a small wooded area, but that didn’t last long.  It was about ¾ miles through mostly brush and worm-eaten plant life.  It was completely flat and about a 0.5 out of 10 difficulty level.

Nearby Places

We visited several other places during our stay.  Taughannock Falls allows dogs on leashes, so we took Magnus on an expedition through their Gorge Trail.  Friday rained, of course, so the trail was muddy.  By the time we made it back to the car, we needed to use several bottles of water to clean him up enough to at least get him in the car without needing to buy a new one.

Check out some pics of the Gorge Trail below:

No Tan Takto Trail

NTTT - Entrance Sign.JPGThe highlight of our trip – the No Tan Takto Trail.  We actually found this trail by accident when we drove by the trail head and decided to hike it on the way home Saturday morning.  We had seen reviews of the Interloken Trail online, but for some reason the No Tan Takto Trail called to us, and we went with it.  It ended up being the most memorable part of the entire vacation.

NTTT - Jeff and Magnus.JPGThe first 1/8 mile or so is through a wooded area, but in the distance, a field splays across your view.  As you continue along the path, you can make out a large metal gate.  Unfortunately, that gate was locked.  Disappointed, we started back toward the car, until we saw the trail branch.  When we followed that path, we found another gate, and all the sign said was, “Please Close the Gate.”

Jeff and I looked at each other and shrugged.  What the heck, huh?  We made our way through the gate, closed it behind us as requested, and continued into a vast field which led to horse pastures.  A clear path was laid down by a tractor of some sort, and it was obvious which way we were being led to walk.  We veered off a little when Magnus clearly wanted to run… All clear… nobody around for miles… Again, what the heck, huh?  We dropped the leash and let him run.

Watching Magnus just be a puppy in that field for the next half hour was the reason we got a puppy in the first place.  He had the zoomies.  Anyone who’s ever had a puppy or dog knows what the zoomies are.  They zoom as fast as they can in every different direction, and occasionally their momentum knocks them over, they roll and start again.  Then, he’d stop and sniff something in the pasture, roll around in it, and catch up with us.

We continued along the pasture for quite a long time until our legs got tired.  They never seemed to end, but it was beautiful and quiet, and free.  This is my Heaven–full of peace and tranquility.  Finally, after we had our fill of the land, we finally strolled back to the car without a word, swearing we’d be back someday to finish that hike.