15. Build a Cabin in the Mountains

On our 2010 Life List: build a cabin in the mountains.

    Photo: DLILLC/ Corbis

If you haven't yet zeroed in on a specific region, start by checking out United Country Real Estate (unitedcountry.com) or Rural Property (ruralproperty.net), which will give you a general lay of the land and direct you to local realtors. Now grab a Delorme Atlas and Gazetteer map and start driving and stopping and walking and driving... And don't forget about wintertime access or water sources. Then the cabin. Building one yourself requires at least six months, a garageful of tools, and serious skills. Hesitating? Increase your chances of success by taking a course at the Great Lakes School of Log Building (schooloflogbuilding.com). Or there's Shelter Kit (from $30 per square foot; shelter-kit.com), which sells spartan, sturdy, pre-cut cabins that can be assembled in as little as a week by two people with no special skills or equipment.

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