Sometimes inspiration comes in the most unlikely places. This weekend, a friend took me for a few days of R&R at Douthat State Park in northern Virginia. The forecast called for rain and cold, and I admit to being a little worried about the idea of the "rustic" descriptions I got. I had visions of sleeping on blow up beds in a drafty wood box, or worse yet, a lean-to with rusty nails to hang your hammock. In my younger days, I would have been all over that, but now...well, I don't need that much rustic in my life. Especially not when the forecast calls for lows in the twenties. However, I needed the rest, and I hate being the party pooper, so I went.
I was pleasantly surprised by Douthat. The park is one of the original six state parks in Virginia, built by Roosevelt's CCC program back in the 30s. So, the cabins are indeed rustic. Still, they are lovely, old structures made from now extinct Chestnut logs. They have the cross hatching and the rough hewn floors and stone fireplaces inside with big Chestnut mantles. Luckily, there have been upgrades over the years, like comfortable beds with linens, plenty of hot water, the greatest shower and full bath, and a functional kitchen with all the utensils. Plus, and here is where I almost wept, central air and heat.
But, The best part of the whole weekend was the inspiration I found in the old journals kept in each cabin for the guests to write about their stay. My friend and I spent hours reading them in front of a cozy fire. I had two favorite entries. The first was a couple whose daughter took her first steps in our cabin, and this year they returned, twenty-six years later, to spend the week together reminiscing, having just come from that daughter's wedding . Of course, my favorite entry was the two college boys who said they came to "do it at Douthat." Although they came to the park for a week of sex, they found a bit of boys love along the way. Maybe it came to them while reading poetry to each other every night in front of the fire. They even wrote some poetry and shared it. Their sweet journal entry filled my head with ideas. Oh yes, these boys, or what I imagine them to be, will be starring in my next WIP. Perhaps I'll start writing their story here as a free read. Oh, I like that idea! Stay tuned.