Let’s put up the Shanty on Airbnb and just see what happens?!?!
“That’s a really dumb idea,” said Garrett on the deck of the Shanty.
And that’s how it unceremoniously started in 2016. There were no fireworks, broken bottles of champagne, inspirational speeches or even a eureka moment, hell, not even a modicum of positivity.
That’s how our resort was born.
Long before hundreds of eager guests would arrive, anniversaries would be celebrated, nuptials would be confirmed, friendships would be forged and Internet interviews would give us our 15 minutes, that wet blanket of a sentence could have been the myopic thought that would have halted it all.
See, like strong coffee and bitter beer, my senses had become a bit blunted by the stunning beauty, which we had surrounded ourselves with upon purchasing this property in 2010. The chirping of birds, the sharp snaps of the brush as deer walk deftly through the woods, the yelling of neurotic squirrels, the rare sightings of bears/mountain lions and wolf, and oh and this air!!!
If given ten lifetimes to breathe our air, I’d beg for an eleventh.Garrett Hohn
But, at that moment, all of this was seemingly lost on me. Yeah, one might say I literally couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
“No, seriously. I’m from the East coast. People will love to enjoy this. You’re being an ass” Alla said with a razor-like bluntness that only ten years of marriage would allow.
By any metric, we are well-seasoned travelers so I did a quick inventory in my head of things I thought the utilitarian traveler might need in order NOT to have an awful time staying in a wooden box.
“Hypothetically, and I mean this is so fucking dumb to even be talking about this, but hypothetically, if we were to do this, we’d need to doll up the Shanty, get a porta-potty for the summer and, I guess probably give people free homebrew to get them drunk enough to forget that they are staying in a storage shed.”
Little did we know, this simplistic ethos would kind of become our compound’s credo.
So Alla took some glamorous shots of the not-so-glamorous (at the time) Shanty, waited till the following March, and put up a short-term rental listing on Airbnb. We used some buzzwords like rustic, quaint, private, as we heard people are quite fond of, but then, in the next paragraph, shit all over it by saying “no guaranteed hot showers and if you are afraid of mice and bugs, please don’t come.”
Heck, I think I even tongue and cheekily likened it to Ted Kacinksi’s infamous cabin by tucking “Unabomber Delux” somewhere in the description. If that wasn’t the definition of grounded expectations, I don’t know what is.
And then it happened. I still remember our first booking — Gert, from the Netherlands.
“Hey, Garrett, it’s our first booking! I told you people would come!” Alla said with “I told you so” smugness. Just like that, we were committed.
One reservation turned into two, five, and then 15, and then more. Without any real-world hosting experience, we would be responsible for providing guests a good time on their vacation in the mountains.
I’m accustomed to regularly disappointing my wife, but strangers who have paid money, that was terrifying.Garrett Hohn
“We are really doing it, Harry.” We certainly are, Lloyd.”
After nearly four hundred and fifty guests, I still get that mini lump in my throat as I see a car of a new guest come down the driveway.
To different guests, we are different things. We are the Montana they’ve never been to, the tiny units they might someday build, the weekend retreat on the calendar they look forward to, and/or the pause button on their hectic tech-driven lives.
It’s an amazing privilege to be in a position to provide those things to people whom you’ve never met.
Never in a million years could we have predicted how much joy hosting would bring us and our wonderful parents, and judging by our glowing reviews, our guests as well. On any given day, we have the potential to break bread with like-minded yet total strangers, enjoy round after round of ladder ball, saddle up for an “infinity float”, play a spirited game of cribbage, resurrect a derelict Toyota Tercel wagon, shoot bows or double the capacity of a two-seater hot tub.
Guests tell us our place has provided them with memories that will last a lifetime. The feeling definitely goes both ways.
If you’re staying with us in May or in September, you’ll be hosted by mom and dad Hohn – Donna, and Jeff. You’ll probably see them around on their 4 wheeler, in the garden, practicing bow and arrow shooting, or just stopping by to say hi.
Alla and I are in town (late June to late August). Either way, you’ll be in great hands, because we all love what we do!