ABOVE Kelly, Josh, and Abby Manahan pose with their pups, Bandito and Cowboy, and 1973 Shasta 1400 camper on their Alna property. Josh recreated the iconic wings, which were missing.
TEXT BY SARAH STEBBINS
PHOTOGRAPHED BY HEIDI KIRN
At first it was a little embarrassingly cute,” says Josh Manahan of Miss Marigold, the 1973 cream-and-saffron-yellow Shasta 1400 camper he tows behind his Toyota Tundra on bird-hunting trips. “It’s got wings and stripes and the other campers are big and aggressive and say Sportsmen on them, but I’m very fond of it.”
And the hunters haven’t even seen cute. When parked on Josh and his wife Abby’s 65-acre Alna property or serving as a mobile shop for Abby’s vintage clothing business, Miss Marigold flaunts mirrored “baby moon” hubcaps (removed for safekeeping and to preserve “machismo” on guy weekends), along with a cheerful striped awning and bunting in her signature shades. The charming scene “always makes people smile,” Abby says.
ABOVE The dining area converts to a twin bed; an adjacent sofa/twin bed can pull alongside to create a king bed.
A school technology specialist, Abby began searching for a vintage camper in 2017 to facilitate the side hustle she hoped to launch. In the process, Josh, owner of the wood products company The nEAT Kitchen, revealed he’d been harboring a camper dream of his own. “I thought it would be a great way to stay comfortably in the woods, but didn’t think I’d get a lot of support, so I kept sleeping in my truck,” he says. Many local rigs in their price range “were up to their axles in a field somewhere,” Abby says, and had suffered structural damage. But Miss Marigold was tucked inside a three-sided shelter in Vermont and, when they drove there to look her over, seemed to be in good shape.
ABOVE The kitchen sports original cabinetry, laminate countertops, and appliances.
They paid $3,500 for her and put about $500 into spiffing her up. Abby’s dad, a handy retired plumber, rewired the lighting, replaced the tires, water tanks, and battery, fixed a dent, and painted the frame, and her mom deep-cleaned and sewed striped café curtains. Josh patched and sealed the roof and Abby and their 9-year-old, Kelly, painted the faux-wood paneling white and the lima-bean-green cabinets a navy blue she chose to complement the original gold upholstery. Displays of vintage glassware play up the ’70s vibe.
In summer, the Manahans head to the camper for coffee and cocktail hours and hitch her up to the truck for camping trips, knowing they’ll make friends along the way. “One guy at a gas station said, ‘I’m looking at a vintage Shasta for my wife, what do you think?’” Abby recalls. “And I said, ‘absolutely you should do it. Don’t hesitate.’”