My wife and I grew up in southern Iowa and moved to Minnesota more than 40 years ago. We weren’t prepared for the cabin culture that permeates this state.

Our neighbors all seemed to be buying or building cabins Up North somewhere, but the thought of maintaining two houses and two lawns wasn’t appealing. We spent our free time in the summer tent-camping at state parks around the state.

It didn’t take us long to discover the place we wanted to be in colder or rainy weather — the camper cabins at Lake Maria State Park just west of Monticello. Staying in these snug little buildings is pretty much like tent-camping — no electricity, no running water, an outhouse, but of course without the tent. The cabins are heated with a wood stove that keeps things almost too cozy, even on the coldest nights, and the park staff supplies the firewood. There are plenty of activities at the park to keep us occupied when we’re not reading, playing board games or eating precooked gourmet meals warmed up on the outdoor campfire. The hike into the cabins, pulling sleds with our gear over a distance ranging from three-quarters of a mile to 1 ¼ mile, builds up our muscles and a good appetite. The first thing we say is “Welcome home” when we arrive at one of the Lake Maria cabins in the winter. Now that our grandson is toilet-trained, we can’t wait to expose him to our style of cabin culture.

Steve Brown, Robbinsdale