My husband grew up with cabin life and wanted the same experiences for me and his children. But I did not share that dream.

We had busy careers, kids immersed in suburban friendships and activities, and a satisfying home that demanded tending. Then, in 2005, when we were retired and empty-nested, I halfheartedly agreed to take the cabin plunge. We found an affordable place near Emily, Minn., about 2½ hours from home. The lake suited us and the cabin, while not our idea of “Up North,” was clean and sound. My very talented and determined husband, with the help of sons and friends, transformed a boring rambler into a cozy cabin with personality. We replaced mauve carpet with natural woods, removed walls, and changed windows and siding. I returned to work for a few months so we could splurge on a kitchen redo that matched our desire to entertain. We added a walkout lower level, sunroom, screen porch, and inviting places for campfires and outdoor fun. Little by little our cabin had the charm and creature comforts that made me want to be there lots. My passion for lake life gradually grew to almost match my husband’s. But this is a guy who takes no chances! This summer, as gift for our 50th anniversary and the final piece to win my cabin heart, he built me a beauty of a “She Shed” on our property. Family and friends pitched in to help decorate — from a so-cool chandelier to hand-thrown pottery and a deck of animal spirit cards that helps all who enter know themselves better. The She Shed is where I will tackle my want-to-read list and document my 70-plus years of life. You can bet those memories will include a section about “the cabin-owning dance.” It’s a life chapter I’m delighted to say ended happily ever after.

Jeanne Markell, Minnetonka