With our anniversary approaching, my wife and I wanted to do something to mark the occasion—kind of like a bigger-than-usual tally mark on the wall of our self-imposed prison. Amy and I have had 15 good years, a feat worthy of celebration. We’ve been married for 20, but hey, that’s not a bad ratio, right?
A while back, I saw an article about “Glamping” (or glamorous camping) on Governors Island in New York City; it was an interesting read, but didn’t inspire me to book a space. However, a footnote to the article mentioned “The Glass House” in upstate New York, which sounded worthy of further research.
The pictures were enticing—a small, isolated refuge in the midst of a scenic wilderness. Did I mention small? Turns out this was a tiny house, like the ones featured on a seemingly endless array of TV shows.
I floated the idea, which met with enthusiastic spousal approval, and we booked a couple of mid-week days in October. Life was hectic at the time, and in those planning stages, our trip seemed less a celebration than a momentary stop for water during a long marathon run. But really, what better way to mark 20 years of marriage than to be trapped with one’s significant other in a 180-square-foot living space? Surely, this would be an idyll for the ages.
We arrived at the house, tucked away at the back of a farm in Marlboro, New York, an area teeming with apple orchards. It was a bit early for fall foliage, with only occasional sightings of yellow, red, or orange, usually celebrated with a shout of “Color!” by one of us, in a mock New Yawk accent.
The house measured roughly 21 feet long by 8-1/2 feet wide; the nearby chicken coop was only slightly smaller. My first minutes inside our mostly glass enclosure gave me a keen insight into the lives of the gorillas at the Philadelphia Zoo; I imagined myself as the subject of a piece of performance art, on display to the chickens and wildlife in all my ordinary humanness. But after a brief period of adjustment, I was able to focus my attention outside, and in a glass house, I suppose that’s really the point.
It was an inauspicious start, with pelting rain and tornado warnings for the area. Within our tiny house, I thought of the “twister” scene from The Wizard of Oz, but comforted myself by noting that if we survived the large amount of shattered glass, once aloft we’d have an even better view than Dorothy did of any chickens, cows, or witches that went drifting by. The storm passed without undue incident, however, and it was actually quite nice, listening to the patter of rain on the glass, and watching distant lightning, safely tucked in bed.
The next day’s weather was perfect, and we set off to nearby Minnewaska State Park for some hiking. We visited Awosting Falls, Lake Minnewaska, Rainbow Falls, and Lake Awosting, for a grand total of over 12 miles hiking. It was at about mile 10 of the 12 that I realized most people would balk at 12 miles of hiking. My wife was no exception, but she walked as she balked, giving new meaning to the terms “long haul” and “for better or for worse.” The trip wouldn’t be truly representative of our marriage if it didn’t consist of me pushing her to, and beyond, the limits of her patience.
We ate in the towns surrounding our little glass house, traveling orphaned highways that sought adoption, marked with signs warning of “Fallen Rock.” (Slightly less dangerous than “Falling Rock”, perhaps? Either way, it was a tense situation).
Our dining establishments of choice bore the unpromising appellations “Raccoon Saloon” and “Gunk Haus” — the former named for a family of raccoons that frequented the area years before, the latter for the nearby Shawangunk Mountains (no actual gunk on the menu, thankfully). Each had extraordinary views, of the Hudson River and Shawangunk Ridge, respectively—and pretty good food, to boot. We didn’t make it to John Fazio Farm Market, despite its enticing sign advertising Duck, Chicken, Ribs, and Pizza (and combinations thereof), not to mention tacos. Their menu offers what might be my favorite name for a pizza, ever: The Elmer Fudd Pizza (half duck and half rabbit, of course). But there’s always next time.
Yes, despite the situation’s similarities to a wrestling steel cage match (except in glass), we emerged from the tiny house after two days, unscathed and still married, no doubt defying the expectations of many friends, family members, and interested onlookers. It was a short respite before heading back to the daily grind, but our “tiny” adventure served as a nice confirmation that whatever we end up doing in the next 20 years, at least we’ll be doing it with the right person.