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story.lead_photo.caption Patti Vonder Haar stands proudly in front of her realized lifelong dream, Patti's Place. The log cabin retreat is officially open for guests to enjoy the peaceful bridge between life and nature. Photo by Liz Morales / California Democrat.

A good number of children have a pretty good idea of what they want to be when they grow up, be that an astronaut or a ballerina. However, as time passes, those dreams can sometimes fade. This cannot be said for Patti Vonder Haar, whose lifelong dream of building her very own log cabin recently came to fruition.

Life started out for Vonder Haar in St. Louis, but as a little girl, she dreamed of living in the woods in a log cabin. The chance to watch the world pass by while laying in the grass, lost to the natural world, became her escape from the concrete jungle.

Then one day, she picked up some artistic tools and drew a picture of the log cabin she always dreamed about. A couple of decades later, she never let go of this dream. In fact, the nearly three-year process of building her cabin just outside of Wooldridge was recently completed — thus, "Patti's Place" was born.

Patti's Place is a two-floor cabin tucked neatly in the woods, complete with an indoor kitchen and outdoor camping equipment and many more amenities. Inside, guests will find a large sitting room with a trundle bed and a tidy living room setting. Past the small but spacious living room rests a kitchen boasting a new refrigerator, microwave and stove. The food that is available for guests all comes from local sources in Prairie Home, Jamestown and other nearby areas.

The kitchen opens to a back porch with a community garden nearby, one that Vonder Haar tends herself.

All are part of the dream Vonder Haar has decided to share with others.

"The whole idea is to disconnect," she said. "For people to have it as a bridge that connects life to nature."

This bridge, of sorts, allows guests to walk with nature on trails that surround the property, one leading to a labyrinth that doubles as a meditation area.

Just as the food supplied in the Patti's Place kitchen, the entire cabin itself was made from logs, wood and stone sourced locally.

Years of construction and help from many hands helped form the retreat into what it is today. Inside Patti's Place is a thick photo album that documents the entire construction process in photographs. One such assistant renders close to Patti's heart.

"My husband, Reed, is the one who put the most work into this place," she said. "He built all the stone walls and shaped all the stonework that's in and around the property. All the stones are from Splice Creek, which is on the property."

Another binder guests may peruse tells the story, in much detail, of Patti's Place and the entire history of every item within its walls. Maps of the property and the trails that snake around it are labeled for easy access for hikers, runners and walkers alike.

Patti's Place is open for curious, and perhaps stressed, visitors on a nightly or weekly basis. The cabin may also be rented out for events — interested customers can contact Vonder Haar for the rates.

"This is more than just a cabin," Vonder Haar said. "It's not just a place to sleep, either. I want people to come out here and realize it's a completely different world than California or anywhere else. I want guests to feel like they've gone someplace far away, and to just relax and disconnect from the world."

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