The Inspiration for Bear Necessities
DREAMS! We all enjoy them while recognizing that the chances of them coming true may not be great. Below is our story of how our dream cottage came to be.
In our more than 20 years of marriage, Mark and I often idly discussed having a retreat - someplace to go to unwind, enjoy sun and surf and just hang out. We considered many coastal areas, particularly in South Carolina and Georgia. We searched off and on for years never being sufficiently inspired to act.
Several years ago, we discovered Port St. Joe, in Florida’s panhandle. Its quiet, quaint atmosphere attracted us immediately. We began our search, discovering several "fixer upper" homes, but nothing was workable for us.
Then one day on our way from PSJ to PCB a miracle happened; I did not have my head buried in my cell phone! As we drove through Mexico Beach, I was smitten by its low-key vibe and charm.
Thanks to the internet and Google Earth, Mark identified a corner lot for sale. He made a trip down, offered a bid (yep, without me seeing it!) and our dream was in motion.
In mid-October 2015, we started clearing the land. The lot was overgrown, thick, and impossible to penetrate by foot. While clearing the land, we discovered something that would ultimately become the inspiration for the name of our cottage.
Smack in the middle of the overgrown, wooded lot was a vacant bear den. Black bears are native to the area and residents periodically find bears raiding their trash or their surveillance cams capture them roaming their property.
So, okay, maybe we felt a tinge of guilt that realizing our beach home dream meant displacing the bear from his den. And, he let us know what he thought some months later during the build. Mark spotted a prominent paw print on the property. The bear had paid us a visit and staked a claim.
Our goals as we developed the design concept for our house were clear. Be cost conscious. Keep upkeep to a minimum. And, perhaps most important, merge the indoors with the outdoors allowing in nature’s sounds, smells and views.
Our cottage, which features a big roll-up door, meets all goals.
One room does it all. No fuss. No frills. Just the essentials for a comfortable beach vacation.
We give credit to our friend, Diane Black, for the name "Bear Essentials" which is the perfect nod to the property's previous tenant and the simple design of the cottage.
"Bear Essentials" exists today thanks to our family and friends who gave us their time, talent and treasures.
We hope you enjoy your stay!
Mark & Denise Vickers
Paw Print: The bear returned to check out his former home during the build
"Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind."