Long before mindfulness became a 21st-century thing, Henry David Thoreau was writing about the importance of connecting with oneself and simple living.
The Concord-born transcendentalist philosopher was so committed to the practice that he built a small cabin by Walden Pond in 1845 and lived there alone for over two years, focusing only on nature and his writing.
Now you can take your own mindful living to the next level by purchasing a replica of that exact cabin.
Thoreau Farm: Birthplace of Henry David Thoreau and the Thoreau Society are holding an online auction for the cabin to raise funds for both organizations. The lucky winner of the cabin will be able to turn every day spent writing, meditating, reading, or painting into their own personal Walden retreat.
“The way the cabin is built is a work of art,” said Margaret Carroll-Bergman, executive director at Thoreau Farm. “When you step through the door, you can smell the cedar and you fall in love with it.”
The 150-square-foot cabin features reclaimed, heart pine wood floor, cedar shingle siding and roof, and reclaimed windows. It was built with a slightly wider door than the original cabin and has no chimney or fireplace so that it would be more accessible to the physically disabled.
Thoreau may have subscribed to the belief that you can’t put a price on peace of mind, but this replica of his cabin is valued at $30,000. The opening bid is listed as $15,000.
The cabin was built by Thorough Homes, a company that designs and builds minimalist small homes, in honor of the bicentennial of Thoreau’s birth in 1817.
Once completed, it was a big attraction at a 200th birthday party held last year at Thoreau Farm. Nearly 500 people came to see the cabin in one evening, according to Carroll-Bergman.
Since the party, the cabin has been open as an exhibit and for public tours. Some neighbors have even rented the space out on the weekends to hold yoga sessions. However due to stipulations of its permit, the cabin was only meant to stay at the farm for a year, and is now in need of new owner.
Other listings in the auction include a high-resolution scan of one of only four known photos the 19th-century philosopher, collections of rare books, rhubarb from Thoreau Farm (which also grew while he was living there), and more. Many items were donated by members of Thoreau Farm, the Thoreau Society, and other nonprofits.
“The items in the auction are membership drawn. They donated based on their knowledge and expertise so we’ve got a pool of some really great options,” Carroll-Bergman said.
The cabin can be viewed at Thoreau Farm, 341 Virginia Road, in Concord or on biddingforgood.com. The auction ends on March 29.
“Any type of person or organization could end up with cabin,” Carroll-Bergman said. “But whoever gets it, I believe they will get use out of it.”
Zipporah Osei can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org