A Different Sort of Cabin Fever
By Nikki Alvin-Smith
You do not have to be an avid deer hunter or homesteader living off the grid, to enjoy the benefits that the cabin lifestyle provides. Indeed many tourism businesses have been built in providing not just a bed for guests to rest their head, but an experience that creates cherished memories for families for years to come.
For example, if you take a look at the region of the Catskill Mountains in New York, a tourism mecca in its heyday during the 1900’s due in part not just to its intrinsic beauty, but also its proximity to the city of New York, you’ll notice there is a quiet revolution going on.
The foodies and farm to table brigade have reinvented the area as a haven for healthy dining, with vineyard and brewery tours available too. Investment into these commercial ventures by such celebrities as TV’s Kelsey Grammer, homes purchased and properties developed by A list movie names such as Brad Pitt and James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, and many other folks you’d recognize, have brought the Catskill Mountain region front and center. The New York City elite is also tired of the jacked up prices and over the top lifestyles of the Hamptons. Once more they are returning to the peace and quiet and unspoiled beauty of the Catskill region.
The pristine headwaters of the great Delaware River are a trout fisherman’s delight. The trails through the mountains attract hikers and outdoor lovers from multiple disciplines. The year round use of ski resorts for Celtic festivals, international bike competitions and dirt bike fun, zip lining and other activities bring hordes of visitors.
If you have tried to drive through Hunter, Tannersville or Windham or any route in or out of the Catskill area during one of the Country Music or Rock Music Festival weekends, where iconic names in music congregate to give outdoor concerts akin to the heralded Woodstock, then you know first hand that hotels, inns and airbnb’s are overflowing with visitors and there is simply nowhere to put everyone.
While here I focus on the Catskill Mountains as an example (in no small part because this is where I have called home on my own little slice of mountain heaven for the past 20 years), there are many areas of the country that are experiencing a similar upturn in rural lifestyle appreciation.
From an investment standpoint, the writing is on the wall. There is a sincere opportunity to cash in on the tourist industry by providing or ‘outfitting’ a unique experience to satisfy the hunger for the rural lifestyle. Land is still relatively cheap in areas like the Catskills, and many folks already own a piece of woodland that they use for seasonal activities such as hunting. Consider a minimal investment in some housing on the property and voila! You have a place that you and your family and friends can enjoy as a retreat, and a place you can easily rent out to others to make money.
Before you haphazardly jump into building a campground or compound of cabins, halt your cabin fever and take a moment to learn some facts from one of the most experienced companies in the cabin business, Zook Cabins. Here are some facts and figures and some heartfelt advice from partner/advisor of Zook Cabins, Dave Zook.
“It’s important that you build what you need and that is the best quality. At Zook Cabins we provide cabins that come ready assembled. They are built to highest standard by Amish craftsman in a factory environment and are delivered to your property, set up by our professionals and are ready to use,” explained Dave.
When you think about having a cabin or home stick built, you might not consider the impact that the construction team will have on your pristine environment. Rest assured stick-built construction will cause a mess, and you will need to clear it up. Stick-built construction also takes time and is subject to weather delays. The stick-build option when utilizing certain contractors, can also entail an over budget certainty. I have personally experienced quotes from construction crews that are out by $10,000 on a $110,000 quote, and been told that they ‘simply misspoke.’ That is hassle that no-one wants or needs.
When building I like costs ‘nailed down’ and I want to know exactly what I am getting for my hard earned dollars in terms of materials used and the end result and I don’t want workmanship, I want craftsmanship.
The advantage of working with a company like Zook Cabins, is that you have all the control you want over the design and layout of the cabin(s), without the worry of price increases. Quotes include the structure, delivery and set up. First rule of investment is thus addressed. Know your costs!
Now let’s take a look at ROI (return on investment). These figures have kindly been shared with us by Zook Cabins and are based on their operation.
The price point of $25,000 listed below, is used as an example to showcase how to do the math on your project. You would need to insert an actual purchase price for the cabin that you wished to purchase for an accurate picture of your actual project.
Take a look:
For any investor this translates into a mouth-watering opportunity. Naturally there are factors that you, as an individual, need to consider for your particular project.
For example, you have the choice of building large or small cabins or mixture of both. Primitive log cabins that are just for sleeping may work for the huntsman but a family might prefer a full service cabin with kitchen and bathroom too. Then you may want to add a cabin as an office or a shed for storage of camp equipment. The opportunities are endless but you can easily begin on a small basis and take it from there. Every project is unique and to start things rolling the entry cost is inexpensive. At a minimum you will have a cabin you can use for quality family time.
For larger projects or for a full-fledged commercial project Zook Cabins can provide the expertise you need in ‘outfitting’ the perfect set up for your guests.
“Not only can we help with cabin design and layout, the Zook Cabins team will also share their wealth of advice on which facilities to choose and what to avoid based on your individual project and the experience you want to create for your guests. We inspect every cabin produced to ensure the high standards are always maintained, so you can rest assured you are buying a great investment with longevity literally built in. The materials we use for building the cabins are chosen with great care for optimum eye-appeal, usefulness and the ability to withstand the abuse of the daily use by its occupants and to withstand whatever Mother Nature may rain down. Plus at Zook Cabins we can provide an independent Building Codes Inspector, who is certified by the National Building Codes, to attest to the integrity and application of the structure if your project requires it,” Dave explained.
In areas like the Catskill Mountains there is now a year around appeal for visitors with all the activities available to be enjoyed. Snow sports such as snowmobiling (there are many groomed trails and clubs in the Catskills), skiing and snowboarding; Fall hunting; Spring fishing; horse riding; dining delights year around; Summer Festivals and the stellar choice of discoveries to be made in the region with quaint towns to visit; country fairs to enjoy; visitors can visit farms and pick produce to take home to extend the delights of a healthy lifestyle vacation.
If you would like to get your project rolling now is the time. Zook Cabins have just ‘built’ a super new website that is chock full of choices for cabin design, options for customization and lots of advice on how achieve your cabin lifestyle dream and investment. Get ‘cabin fever' and help improve your quality of life through family use, and financially through investment opportunities. Give Zook a look!