The cabin sits amid 170 recreational acres near Sauk Centre, Minn., and got its start with the purchase of 73 acres of woods and fields in 1997.

The cabin was the end result of a five-year search for a place for the family to hunt deer. Ninety-three acres across the road were added in 2002, the same year the cabin was built.

During the years between the original land purchase and start of construction, the floor plan was made and modified many times to fit the anticipated usage.

Different options were considered, from a travel trailer to a basic, small 12- by 18-foot hunting shack. With more thinking, the possibility of making it comfortable for two people to live in won out.

The final plan was a 24- by 40-foot maintenance-free structure, built on a concrete slab, with a steel roof and siding, and vinyl windows. The ground floor includes a classic high-ceiling great room, kitchen, main bedroom, bath/shower, utility room, storage, and washer and dryer. The loft sleeps four with a half-bath, couch and television.

The plan to use the cabin only for hunting quickly changed. It is so attractive and comfortable that it is used weekly, but now also as a holiday-like gathering place for the family during the deer season. Bringing grandparents, parents, grandchildren and great-grandchildren together in one cabin has developed into an annual festive occasion that everyone anticipates and enjoys. While the guys go hunting, the ladies go on shopping trips to local stores, and plan and cook the family meals.

Deer season is the excuse for the cabin, but it turns out getting a deer is only an additional benefit.