The Kandalaksha Gulf is in extreme northwest Russia, well above the Arctic Circle, tucked neatly into a large crook of land just east of Finland. There’s a small city there too, called Kandalaksha, population roughly 45,000 hardy (one presumes anyway) souls.
The gulf forms the westernmost arm of the White Sea, on the opposite side of famed (and terrifically named) Russian port Arkhangelsk, once a thriving center of trade, now an important base for the Russian navy.
It is a cold, wild, and beautiful place, snowbound much of the year and often bathed in the surreal glow of the Northern Lights. Bears and wolves range just outside of the town, salmon run in local rivers, cod swarm the White Sea. Cross-country skiing is popular, as is alpine skiing in nearby hills.
And, for the entirely reasonable price of roughly $75 per night, or 5,000 rubles, you can rent the DublDom, a minimalist-inspired prefab house set down with stunning views of the White Sea and surrounding ice-covered mountains.
DublDom is a Moscow-based builder of prefab cabins (you can now order them in the US) and they held a contest a few years back in which people were asked to send the company photos of where they live. The most interesting response received a free DublDom cabin. A man named Alexander Trunkovskiy sent in a picture of his spot outside Kandalaksha and DublDom liked it so much they sent him a cabin. By helicopter.
The cabin was pretreated to deal with the unbelievably cold winters and to counter the ferocious winds blowing off the gulf. It sleeps eight and of course is equipped with a lovely fireplace; you can venture out on snowshoes to explore nearby trails, pick blueberries and lingonberries in the summer, and connect to the rest of the world through wi-fi if you must.
It is reportedly a 40-minute hike away from civilization. A snowy, cozy, modern oasis.
Weekend Cabin isn’t necessarily about the weekend, or cabins. It’s about the longing for a sense of place, for shelter set in a landscape…for something that speaks to refuge and distance from the everyday. Nostalgic and wistful, it’s about how people create structure in ways to consider the earth and sky and their place in them. It’s not concerned with ownership or real estate, but what people build to fulfill their dreams of escape. The very time-shortened notion of “weekend” reminds that it’s a temporary respite.
Photos: DublDom in Kandalaksha