by Lisa Tome
Nothing says 'I love you' like owning your very own teepee.
It was the perfect gift for Cathy Swartz of North East. Swartz, a mother and grandmother, got the gift from her husband, Brent, for Valentine's Day. The teepee allows Swartz to embrace her Native American heritage and gives her a place to store all the dream catchers she has made and other family heirlooms. "Brent bought it online from a teepee maker," said Swartz.
The 20-foot authentic Sioux teepee, also serves as an extra room for the family.
"My two grandkids (ages 8 and 6) live here and I have two more (grandchildren) on the way. This is our outdoor living room," she said. It also features an indoor fire pit and furniture.
Swartz plans to install beds in the near future. The teepee has rain channels that are similar to downspouts to keep things dry.
The exterior was professionally painted by Native Americans. Swartz painted the interior herself.
"I love it. It's my pride and joy," said Swartz.
The teepee is visible from Route 272. That has caused people to follow a trail which leads to the Swartz yard.
"I have people stopping by because they see it from the highway," she said.
She said it fits in with the outdoor lifestyle that she and her family enjoy during the warm months. They have a swimming pool, the new fire-pit, and an outdoor movie theater.
"This is my little reservation. I love it," added Swartz.