C-Scape: Home Away from Home

In April, I was lucky to stay inside one of the 19 dune shacks nestled in the Provincelands. C-Scape would be my home away from home for 7 days and nights.

The Dune Shacks of Peaked Hill Bars Historic District includes dune shacks that were and are home to artists and writers from the 1920s onward. They have a long history beginning with the 'lifesavers' in the 1800s who would call these dunes home during their stints aiding fishermen. The shacks are weathered, isolated, without modernities like electricity or running water, and most of all - peaceful. The shacks are a beacon of simpler times where one can be immersed in and become one with patterns of nature and weather. You can read more about the dune dwellers and the history of these shacks here.

You may have heard about the Shacks as they have been in the news recently due to the NPS decision to put 8 of the shacks up for public bid - a highly controversial subject in the local community. I want to be clear that I am a proponent of maintaining the shacks as the cultural icons that they are, and want to preserve them as dwellings for the wayward and free spirits who choose to be their inhabitants and caretakers.

a Tour of the interior

~ modest but cozy and everything you need ~

First Light just atop the sand dune

It's incredible how the dunes transform; I love these "Fogscapes"

Life by Oil Lamp

One of the first things that I didn't "expect" was how your body adjusts to the natural cycle of days and nights. Once the sun dips below the horizon, so do you. Things become much more difficult to do when the only source of light you have is candlelight. I would wake up early with the sunrise (as I'd be baking in my loft bed with the sun beating down on me) and go to bed shortly after sunset. There is no need for clocks or to tell time; simply look outside.

By the weeks end, I felt comforted by the oil lamps; their soft light and warm glow made me feel cozy and safe in my little wood shack. It didn't feel like I was out here completely alone, not another soul for miles.

The interior is adorned with sweet notes, artwork, and found materials

A seascape, abstracted by movement

Fire: A Shack Necessity

In the month of April, the woodstove is on every night and morning. The start of the week was very cold, dipping to freezing temperatures. Without any insulation or other sources of heat, this stove would determine my comfort. Growing up, my parents had a woodstove, but I never really paid attention to how to start and stoke the fire. I did learn how to do it myself this week. I sat by the fire each morning drinking a coffee, waking up slow, wondering how I might spend my day.

Notebook entries from previous artists

~ I found a handful of bound books full from front to back with handwritten notes detailing previous tenant's experiences, trials and tribulations at C-Scape. Many of them artists. I spent hours flipping through the pages, illustrations, polaroids, and poetry inspired by time spent in the very same shack. ~

Love the stamped date and old polaroids!

A charcoal drawing of the dune view out the front door, and what beautiful script writing.

I love how much talent has passed through here. What an adorable block print!

I can relate to this one ~ a couple days into my stay I started to hear and see the mice that also call C-Scape home.

The morning sun shining perfectly on my little dune dwelling

One benefit to living by the ocean is you experience every sunrise + sunset

& each was beautiful in its own way

Taken high from atop the dune edge ~ "Deep Breath"

The Camp Kitchen

~ simple cooking for simple living ~

If you've ever been on one of my photo tours you'll know that I'm somewhat of a 'foodie' -

I appreciate great food and make sure to treat my guests to the best. I would not say I'm a chef - not at all - but I do enjoy making a delicious meal from simple ingredients.

Pretty much a requirement when you don't have running water or an oven.

This meal was so good I made it twice. Sweet sausage with bowtie pasta and spinach in a parmesan cream sauce. And, all cooked in one pan is a win!

This may have been my favorite meal this year so far; it was the last night in the shack and Jake came by to stay with me after work. Marinated rib-eye steak, cucumber & onion salad, perfectly seared scallops and mashed potatoes.

To keep it easy - I ate nearly the same things for lunch each day. Salad with greens, tomato, red onion and cucumber, and either chicken salad or an Italian sandwich with salami, prosciutto, provolone, tomato, red onion, mayo and white vinegar. Mmm mm.

I watched this entire sunrise unfold ~ a full palette of colors

Star Trails over C-Scape - Aligning your camera to the North Star creates a focal point and circular trails

Shooting the opposite direction creates opposite results

Alone in the Dark

One of goals for this week was to spend time photographing the night sky. Too often do I get bogged down in my day-to-day work that I have no energy left to explore and photograph, especially in the night. This week was the perfect opportunity to create images I have had in my mind for some time - the moon phase was right, the weather was clear, the milky way was out, and I had nothing but time. & Yes - the coyotes were out, howling away. They would come close to the shack at night, practically next to the windows. But they didn't bother me. I like to think of my tripod as a good weapon if I ever needed it!

"Between Sand & Stars" This is my favorite image created over the week. I hiked about 2.5 miles down the beach each way in the dead of night to create this work that I have imagined for some time. The tail of the Milky Way rising over the Tasha/Kemp shack. During this week, there were no other dune shack tenants, so I felt safe in illuminating the structure. It is not okay to be skulking around the dunes late at night during the regular season when people are sleeping inside.

"Transcend" - I love this image and the trafficked path to the sea over the dune - Inviting

"The Perfect Day" - A most beautiful sunset to close out a beautiful day; I shared this experience with a fellow artist, Isabelle of Driftshop

A Retreat

My week in C-Scape was one of rest, rejuvenation and endless inspiration. I am looking forward to my next dune shack stay in the years to come. If you choose to visit these historic structures, please visit these special spaces with respect for privacy, for nature and preservation.