How to Get Ready to Stay in Your Mountain Retreat Home
If you don’t already have a mountain get-away home, now is the time to consider it. Spending time in the fresh mountain air disconnected from the world is a great way to get away to reconnect with your family and your inner peace and appreciate nature. Even if your mountain escape can’t happen this winter, the following tips will help you keep your mountain retreat in top shape and keep it ready for you to visit any time of year.
Perform a Winter Inspection
It’s no secret that cold and wet winter conditions can wreak havoc on the state of your mountain home. If you leave your home for long periods of time without any inhabitants, it is even more crucial to give your home a thorough inspection before the winter months settle in.
As you inspect your home, make sure you check these things:
- Water heater
- Pest control
By inspecting and solving any problems now, you can ensure a cozy, safe stay no matter the temperature outside.
Winterize Your Exterior
One great way to keep the interior of your house cozy is by fixing up the exterior. Winterizing the exterior of your home keeps away things that may damage your home, such as excessive moisture or trees that could fall on your home.
To keep moisture away, examine and fix any leaks in your roof, clear out and reinforce the gutters, repaint your home and deck, and check and repair any creaks in the siding of your home.
Dead trees or trees that hang near your vacation home can be a significant danger due to the weight of snow or strong winds. Clear out the land around your home of dead or sickly trees and keep branches away from your home.
Winterizing your exterior also means making navigating to your vacation home in the mountains easier to find during snowy weather. Place reflectors at parking spaces at an easy to see height so you know where to park. Make sure any other navigation signs on your property will stay above the snow and make it through the winter.
Stock Your Pantry
One way to ensure a happy reunion with your vacation home is to make sure there is already shelf-safe food ready for you. Stock your pantry with the necessities—salt, spices, pasta, rice, hot chocolate, and other foods that you use frequently in your food. Make sure it is sealed well and shelf safe, so you don’t have to worry about it attracting pests or going bad.
It can also be wise to have water and food storage, in case you have to stay longer in your vacation home than planned. Sometimes unforeseen emergencies (like a blizzard) may keep you at your mountain home or make accessing water more difficult. Plan ahead and store appropriate food for these circumstances.
Plan for Emergencies
Speaking of emergencies, the last thing you want while on vacation is to be caught by surprise in an emergency. If you can plan ahead, an emergency will turn into an adventure rather than, well, an emergency. It takes away risk and allows you to feel more at ease even if there isn’t an emergency.
Research what disasters could happen in your area. Know where you can go to get the fastest medical assistance and be aware of who your neighbors are so you can contact them if needed. A loss of power is a common occurrence, especially in mountain homes during the winter. Have a generator on hand, a fire stove, and some candles. This way you can stay warm and have light. If there is a way (such as a radio) to reach others, this is a great tool to have on hand. You can also store firewood from the dead trees you cut down when maintaining the exterior of your home.
There are lots of great reasons to own a propane tank of your own to use in emergencies. There are generators and stoves that can run off propane, and propane is clean, stable for long periods of time, and is easy to store.
Schedule Your Maintenance
Instead of focusing only on preparing your home for the winter, do regular maintenance checks throughout the year. This will not only make it easier than doing it all at once but keep your home in overall better shape. Create a calendar with scheduled times to do all necessary maintenance. Also have a checklist of to do’s before you leave your vacation home, like turning off all the lights and unplugging electronics.
Look into whether you would like to keep the power off and clear all plumbing and fill your pipes with antifreeze or keep your mountain home at a warm enough temperature to keep everything from freezing and plan accordingly.
- Remember that your recreation vehicles and supplies require regular maintenance as well, especially since they may go unused for much of the year.
- There are some tasks mentioned above (plan those in as well!), but here are a few more to remember:
- Pipe/plumbing care
- Stove and appliance upkeep
- Floor care
- Fuel care for recreation vehicles
- Driveway and parking area maintenance
- Keep Supplies There
If you have a store of special mountain home supplies at the home, this makes it easier to plan for your trip. Some of these things could be:
- Warm bedding
- Extra blankets
- Special weather appropriate vehicles (like snowmobiles)
- Heavy-duty brooms
- Ice melt
- Tools (for quick repairs)
- Extra light bulbs
- Cleaning supplies
- Other winter clothing
By keeping supplies like these at your mountain home, you don’t have to worry as much about making sure to bring every little thing. It will be a home away from home. The specific games and movies that you keep at your cabin can also become special and hold memories of the place.
Explore Your Entertainment
It’s good to at least have a rough plan of what you could do on your mountain escape. If you’re used to being connected into the internet all the time, it can be hard to slow down enough to remember what you can do without the TV or internet. Knowing what you could do on your vacation can help ease some stress of planning. Plan to disconnect, and maybe even set some rules so you can appreciate your trip more.
Research the best that your mountain home has to offer. Look for good hiking or snowshoeing trails. Find good sledding hills and how you’d get there. Look up what constellations you can find stargazing at that time of the year. See if there is a good lake you should go explore. Read up on some stories you can tell your significant other or your children (the scarier and the later the better). Create rituals that all your party will remember, like roasting marshmallows or making soup or reading a book together. The more time you spend with one another, the better. The more peaceful, the better.
Prepare Your Regular Home
It’s exciting to leave normal life for a little, but you have to make sure your house or other obligations don’t fall to shambles while you’re gone.To protect your home from intruders, consider putting your lights on a timer so it looks like you’re home. There are lots of different kinds of light timers you can use to best fit your needs. It’s also a good idea to notify trusted neighbors about when you’ll be leaving and coming back so they can be on the lookout,.Before you leave, triple check your house to make sure everything is locked.
Remember to plan for your pets, whether that means you are taking them with you, dropping them off at someone else’s home, or having someone come to check on them regularly.
As the months get colder, now is the time to plan your dream, winter wonderland mountain escape. Though it seems like there is a lot to do, it is worth it. The memories will last forever and carry you through the next year.
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