An intriguing outbuilding sits in the woods through an overgrown and barely distinguishable trail. Taking giant stomps we make our way through the overgrowth to a 7ft by 7ft structure with steps to a door, painted a deep grey with "Turkey Den" in colorful lettering. At the back is a door that seems to end in mid air going to nowhere but a drop to the forest floor.
Inside this odd place one wall is painted red, one pink, and another blue. A light switch flips on the overhead flourescent light. It's unclear how electric power even gets to this building set this far away from High Ridge Haven. On the floor is a trap door. Inside is a tank wrapped in insulation. The door to nowhere has a shelf across it. Is it there to prevent anyone from falling out? Or is the name of this outbuilding a hint as to another purpose?
It's hard to say for certain, but the tank suggests this was a pump house that was once a source of water and insulated to keep from freezing. But why name a pump house "Turkey Den" in colorful letters? On the outer reaches of this 10.5 acre property can be found a deer stand as well as other signs suggesting the previous owners were avid hunters. In fact, it is a fairly common sight to see wild turkey wandering the property.
Hunting season for wild turkey is from April 8th to May 6th in North Carolina, restricted to two male (or bearded) turkey. And we believe this building gets its name as a one-time blind for sniping wild turkey while comfortably seated in the den with a shelf to rest and sight a rifle. But why the colorful letters? Was this hunter a design star on HGTV?
In addition to being a hunter, the prior owner also had grandchildren, and we believe once their hunting days were over, the Turkey Den was also a place for the the children. Hence the oddly colorful walls.
What to do with the Turkey Den? For us (non-hunters) the Turkey Den was calling us to complete its transformation as a haven for youth, or for anyone seeking an enchanting and private space away from everything.
The Transformation: Standing on the deck of High Ridge Haven, it eventually became clear there was a path to the Turkey Den that simply needed to be cleared again. This was done last summer and we paid the price for doing so. Little did we know that this wasn't the best timing in terms in terms of yellow jackets aggressively defending their colony in the ground. They had other ideas about our beating the ground to clear the path. They chased us more than 200 yards back to the house where they flew down the shirt and up the pant legs. Twenty stings later, a NC mountain lesson was learned regarding the best season to work on trails - not spring, summer or early fall.
With the Turkey Trot Trail eventually completed (Trot, meaning, a small trail), we engaged David Owens Construction to help us in the transformation of the Turkey Den. First, the door / shooting shelf allowed water to sit which rotted most of the door frame and even part of the structure siding, and had to be replaced. Doing so was an opportunity to add a door with window allowing more natural light into the den. This new door now leads to a 14 x 10 foot deck. The deck was constructed to wrap around an existing pine tree, which now grows straight through. A beam is be added to provide support for two hammock chairs for reading or enjoying the view to Whiteside Mountain.
On the inside, the walls have all been painted uniformly a nature-inspired light green. The flourescent light was swapped with a fairy-like light with crystaline branches. The trap door and floor has been covered with what appears to be light oak flooring, but is actually foam puzzle pieces screen printed to look like wood, and is soft under foot and simple to keep clean.
A tot-sized table and two chairs have been added along with a nature-inspired reading library. We plan to build on this space as a nature discovery zone in the future with displays and more.
The Turkey Den isn't just for kids. Anyone can meander down the Turkey Trot Trail and enjoy a moment of solitude.
Sitting on a mountain ridge, High Ridge Haven is a 10.5 acre private vacation rental property providing spectacular views of Whiteside Mountain, on
-site hiking trails and a beautiful landscape. Book direct with us (the owner) and save from OTA booking fees. High Ridge Haven is an easy drive to Cashiers (4 mi.) and Highlands (10 mi.) and close to numerous waterfalls and hiking trails.