Sometimes it can seem impossible to disconnect for even a moment. Our phones are constantly buzzing and ringing, and our fingers tremble with the urge to Instagram our morning lattes. And we can't always make time in our day-to-day lives to escape all the noise. We live in a time when you just have to take it upon yourself to schedule some much-needed relaxation time. And I have just the way to do it.
It's called a Getaway house. The concept of Getaway houses (or cabins, really) is to disconnect and become one with nature. The company was founded in 2015 at the Harvard Innovation Lab by two Harvard students, Jon Staff and Pete Davis, who wanted to find a solution to the constant stress of city life. (They even took the idea to Shark Tank—and said 'no thanks' to billionaire Chris Sacca's offer of $500,000 in order to go it alone!) If you're like me and are completely useless when it comes to the great outdoors, Getaway houses offer an idiot-proof way of becoming one with nature. It's more like glamping, if I'm being totally honest, but you're surrounded by trees nonetheless.
What is a Getaway house?
A Getaway house is a tiny cabin that is situated in a rural area not too far from the city, whether it be in the woods or on a mountainside. As I mentioned before, the point of these houses is to disconnect, so they only come with the bare essentials to encourage you to use less technology, get outside more, and build your relationships with your fellow travelers in the process. There's no WiFi (I repeat: No WiFi) and they provide you with a cell phone lockbox (don't worry, it's optional) to assist you in your digital detox. I know you're probably thinking, Do you at least get toilet paper? The answer is yes. But I'll get more into that later.
I heard about Getaway houses for the first time when one of my friends said she wanted to book one for her birthday weekend, and I've booked two more since, for long weekends with my boyfriend. My homebase is Boston, so the closest Getaway campsite is a little over an hour away in New Hampshire. Other cities that have nearby Getaway houses are Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh/Cleveland, Portland, OR, and Washington D.C., with more on the way.
How does a Getaway house work?
Signing up for a Getaway house is as easy as booking a hotel. You visit the Getaway website, select your homebase, and indicate the number of people in your party and how many beds you'll require, and a calendar will appear with dates available for booking. If you're looking to book around a specific holiday, you'll want to book ahead of time because the cabins can fill up pretty quickly. Prices range from $99 and up per night, depending on the time of year or days of the week you want to book (summer and weekends are usually the priciest times). Upon booking, you'll be emailed the exact address of the campsite. It isn't until the morning of your stay that the company will email you the name of your cabin and a keycode that unlocks the door. You can check into your house at 3 P.M. the day of your stay.
The cabins come with one queen bed or two queen-sized bunk beds. When my girlfriends planned that birthday trip, we had eight people, so we opted for two cabins with the queen-sized bunk beds so we could comfortably sleep four people in each cabin. Because we booked as one party, Getaway selected two cabins close in proximity to make it more convenient for us—half of us were going to be staying in a cabin called "Rose" and the other half in "Antoinette." According to the website, each one is uniquely named after grandparents of staff or guests. (Cue the "Aw!")
The Boston-area campsite has dozens of cabins, which took me by surprise the first time we drove up, because I thought each house was going to be more private. You're not in complete isolation, but it doesn't take away from the experience. I was pleased that Getaway strategically places the cabins at angles facing away from each other so you have a feeling of solitude and privacy, despite all of the cabins being rather close together. It gives you space to play music or eat outside without feeling like all of your neighbors are joining you (but quiet hours start at 10 P.M. so the whole campsite can enjoy some peace). This was a great feature especially when I started booking Getaway houses with my boyfriend.
Checking out of your house is even easier than checking in. They provide some written directions to tidy up your trash, turn the lights off, and lock up behind you on your way out. Easy-peasy.
What comes with the Getaway house?
The houses, while minimalist, have most things you might need during your stay. They each have a bed or bunk bed, a little kitchenette, and a bathroom with running water (yes, you can take a hot shower and there's a flushable toilet, so you don't need to use the great outdoors as your bathroom). In the bathroom, there's even shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and towels. It's basically a spa.
It should go without saying that, yes, there is electricity. That being said, I wouldn't bring any high-voltage electronics because 1) you're in a tiny wooden cabin 2) you'll probably blow a fuse and 3) you're supposed to be disconnecting.
The sleeping arrangements are incredibly cozy. The beds I've slept on at Getaway houses are surprisingly plush. I don't know what kind of mattress they use, but it's like sleeping on a cloud. They have great pillows and blankets, too. There's also AC and heat so you can sleep comfortably no matter what season you book a stay. And next to the bed, there's a beautiful, show-stopping picture window. If you follow Getaway on Instagram, you've probably seen the iconic window. It is huge and gives you an unobstructed view of the surroundings from inside your cabin. It makes you feel like you're in nature from the comfort of your bed. But don't worry, there are also room-darkening, privacy blinds, should you prefer not to awaken with the sunrise or allow passersby to peer in.
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