How To Name Your Cabin

This is an article that I wrote for the "Midwest Outdoors" magazine. Hopefully it will give you some ideas on how to come up with a unique name for your property.

"Own-it, Claim-it, Name-it!"
Written by Kara Polyner

As your new guests search that cabin road for your vacation home, how easy it is to find you? With a welcoming sign at the end of your driveway, it would be simple. Stake claim to your property and come up with a name that shows your less serious side! Your cabin is where you let your hair down and be a tad whimsical. There are no rules for creating a name. Something as simple as just your last name, "The Anderson’s" or "The Jone’s Cabin" is enough to show ownership. But this is something you could have a lot of fun with and I hope these tips will help. No one else needs to understand the meaning behind it, they just need to see it! (Just make sure your sign isn’t too small!)

Naming your property can be deemed similar to the process of naming your boat. People put a lot of thought into coming up with just the right title. This tradition has been around for centuries but nowadays doesn’t serve too much of a purpose, it’s all in fun. Folks will say that a boat without a name is like a dog without a bone and refer to it as an "orphan." The name christening process for a boat is to break a bottle of champagne on the bow. That is a ritual that I am sure takes place in many forms when the papers have been signed for that new cabin.

Maybe your new ‘home-away-from-home’ is the end to a long journey. (Finally a dream come true!) After years of renting cabins, raising kids, and paying for college, you have the money to purchase that long sought-after retreat. Even a play on the fact that you may owe the bank is a fun source for names. "Costa-Lotta Lodge, Chateau We‘eau" (we owe), these always get a good chuckle. So, what made you decide to purchase a 2nd home? Thinking about why you wanted your own place might also trigger that perfect name: "The Last Resort, Here-to-Stay, Dunroamin’, The Last Hurrah, Journey’s End, Empty Nest, Seldom Inn, Golden Dreams." The name doesn’t have to be a physical object or a location. The feelings of "Pure Serenity" and "Nature‘s Harmony" speak for themselves.

Think of the story behind the purchase of your place. Did anything out of the ordinary happen while searching for that perfect property? Was there trouble during the building process? Did the purchase money come from a memorable source? A name is in there... you just have to ponder it. One customer spent the whole summer moving rocks around their new property, all the while enjoying a certain cool refreshing beverage. Let’s just say the "Rolling Rock Retreat" sign is installed with the cabin soon to follow!

Your profession may hold a unique, tongue-in-cheek phrase that will keep your cabin name a one-of-a-kind. For dentists and doctors: "Molar Mountain" and "Belly Acres". For plumbers and laborers: "Leaky Springs" and "Restin’ Quarters." For bankers and psychiatrists: "Borrowed Time" and "Crazy Daze."

The land around you may also hold the key to that special slogan. Look for unique landmarks on the property that distinguish it from the next. A funny shaped boulder ("Butt-Crack Rock"), a grouping of old pines ("Majestic Pines, Nine Pine Acres"), the scenery ("Island View") or maybe a visitor that shows it’s furry face on a regular basis. "Eagle’s Landing, Deer Ridge, Whitetail Inn, Wolf Den, Loony Bin and Twin Pikes" are a few ideas to start the wheels turning.

An easy way to come up with a catchy name is to play the rhyme-a-name game: "Robert’s Roost, Camp Callaway, Kelland’s Kottage, Shuster Shores". You get the idea. Here are some "location" names that might jump start your rhythmic writing: Shack, Shanty, Bluffs, Pass, Ranch, Villa, Place, Station, Quarters, Haven, Mansion, Lodge.

The rich have been naming their homes, mansion, halls and estates for centuries, but why reserve it just for them? Some lake properties with a small shack may cost as much as one of those manors! That one-bedroom, leaky roofed, no plumbing, no electricity place that you so lovingly call ‘heaven’ is just as worthy, if not more. Most of these relaxing, family-gathering, memory-making locations stay in the family for years. Give it the recognition it deserves and the respect it has earned. So, go ahead. Smash a bottle of wine on your cornerstone. Name it, you own it.

For more cabin names and a gallery of sign ideas, check out my website at Come visit us at "The Lake Home and Cabin Show" in Milwaukee and Minneapolis at the end of April, see website for details.

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