Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | December 4, 2018

A visit to Grandma’s Cabin


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What a fun call from the granddaughter of a former owner of Cabin Fever!  Phyllis Gabler owned the cabin for 14 years and was also a realtor on Palomar.  I learned a lot from her.  Dawn Sober came all across the country from Florida to stay at the cabin with so many happy memories.  She brought the photo, above, with her grandmother’s writing on the back saying ‘My little Love’. Of course, we had to re-create the photo as close as we could to the same spot on the deck.

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It was a pleasure to meet her and her family, including Phyllis’ great grand daughters!

From Dawn:

My grandma, Phyllis Gabler, said she came to Palomar Mountain to find God. She said it was a spiritual mountain. Oh, how I miss her.

When I saw Cabin Fever on Airbnb, I thought, “It couldn’t be!” It was. Phyllis Gabler’s old cabin was now a vacation rental!  I could stay there again!!!  The memories of making fires, bird watching and making jalapeno jelly in the kitchen ran through my mind. Memories as a young girl of 8 playing with my dolls and running through a sprinkler made me smile. She had arrived in heaven just 4 years earlier. Perhaps it would be like seeing her again.

For my first time in 16 years, my two daughters, our childcare worker, husband and I visited in July 2018. I cried all the way up the mountain. It was just as perfect as I’d remembered, maybe even more.

I am now a grown woman. Gone is the 7th grade year I spent at the local mountain school, only 2 classrooms large. I was one of five 12-year-old children in a class with 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th graders. It was the nineties, but it was reminiscent of yesteryear’s with one room school houses. Our little school even put on The Grinch for that year’s Christmas play, plus several of us won a poetry contest in the local school district that year. What a joy to have had that experience! I used to love walking through the General Store, dreaming of owning one of the large amethysts that were for sale. How many times had my Grandma and I had pulled up to the post office to say hi to Jennifer and Robin? Too many to recall.

Every day on that mountain was truly spiritual. Looking back in reflection, I now see how my Grandma’s yearning to connect with God led me on my own spiritual path to where I am today.

My husband and I are in in Jewish/Christian relations with Bridges for Peace. We build relationships between Christians and Jews and support Israel through around 25 hands-on humanitarian projects including a feed-a-child program, two food banks and a victims of war program. Our ministry even visits Holocaust survivors on a monthly basis to show Christian love when they only have memories of hate.

A big thank you to Nathan for restoring Grandma’s cabin and for keeping her legacy alive.  It is so heart-warming to know that people from all over the world have a  chance to experience Palomar Mountain and perhaps have their own encounter with God.

* * *

Dawn is the National Field Adviser at Bridges for Peace USA.  Everyday she connects Christians to bless Israel.  Dawn can be reached at or follower her on Instagram @DawnSober.

With Grace and Grit for Zion’s Sake,

dawn sober



  1. Bonnie,

    I enjoyed this SO much. How special that she could come to her Grandma’s cabin again. I know what she means about having wonderful memories on Palomar Mt. I love it when you write these posts about people on our mountain.

    Did Phyllis work for Matthews Realty in VC at some point? Her name sounds so familiar to me and I think we met her way back.

    Take care.


    • Yes Alicelynn, Phyllis did hang her license with Joanne Mathews in VC. (About two inches of rain so far today on your favorite mountain!)

  2. Dear Bonnie,

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story about Dawn Sober and her fond memories of her grandma Phyllis and her experiences on Palomar Mountain.

    Palomar Mountain truly is a spiritual mountain, and Dawn and her family have been touched by the grace of God, and no doubt grandma Phyllis is looking down from heaven with a big smile on her face.

    Inspirational and uplifting, I had tears of happiness in my eyes reading every word, and a big smile on my face as well at the end.

    Thanks again for taking the time to make this a perfect visit for Dawn and her family, thanks to Nathan for his caring work on the cabin, and thanks to you for inviting us all in to share a very special moment.

    Michael Walsh

    • It was my pleasure Michael. Often I would like to include some history of properties with my real estate listings. Great stories out there! Also so many wonderful stories from folks from around the world who stay at the rentals. This one is extra-special.

    • Hi Michael! Dawn from the story here :-). Thank you for taking the time to comment. Means so much!

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