Updated: Aug 17, 2020
In a digital space full of notifications, emails, texts, calls, scrolling, algorithms, news feeds, and blue screens, how genuine do you feel your connections are? With your family? With your friends? With your 'followers'? With Nature? With Yourself? Have you ever thought about disconnecting to reconnect?
I first heard about Getaway back when they were still in the funding stage, and I was instantly intrigued by the idea of a spontaneous trip to a remote cabin without technology. This summer, when deciding where I should vacation, I ended up checking out the Getaway schedule and booked an entire week (the longest you can book at a time) in late November at their Getaway Shenandoah location. They also have outposts at many other major cities, and are rapidly growing and expanding their reach.
The company is so thorough and hands on to prepare you for your trip, that you enter your stress-free zone well before you even hit the road. They text you a week before to let you know they're available with any questions, provide a minimalist packing list, let you know what you should expect, and even link you up with an amazing playlist for the drive.
Since I live in a tiny/minimal space already, and I camp often, I'm pretty utilitarian and pack as light as possible. The more objects you bring make a space seem cluttered so I made sure everything had both a purpose and a place.
Outside of food and clothing, the things I brought were: a cast iron skillet, pie iron, puzzle, sketchbook & field artist set, Instax camera, 120mm camera, 35mm camera, United by Blue camp blanket, head lamp, travel coffee mugs, Chemex & filters, good coffee, 30 foot lead for Enzo (there was a 20 foot lead already attached to the picnic table but this gave him a little more room to explore and chase squirrels), a couple books, and extra tin foil.
Food & Drink:
The cabins include a two-burner stove and a bin of provisions for purchase: pasta noodles, sauce, beef jerky, single-serve pour over coffees, tea, oatmeal, hot cocoa, canned soup, etc. Since I love cooking, especially over a campfire, I ended up just meal planning the week. I packed a medium-sized bin full of dry food that I kept in the car, and a small cooler of cold food that all fit in the mini fridge.
If you're a big coffee drinker like me, you'll need to pack your own grinder and a pour-over system (they provide a kettle). I also packed a lot of bourbon because drinking hot toddies in the mountains is mandatory.
The morning of your stay, Getaway texts you the name of your cabin (all named after the grandparents of the employees) followed by the code for the keypad to get in. Just an hour and twenty-six minutes out of Richmond and I was already under Blue Ridge skies and blanketed by the crisp air that only belongs to the mountains. Getaway also sends you an illustrated map of the outpost so you can locate exactly where your cabin is--quite literally in the middle of the woods, but still easy to find.
The cabin is equipped with a heater in the unit (there's also AC if you wish to go during the summer months). On the table was a welcome packet with all useful information, nearby hikes & attractions, and emergency information. They even gifted me with a s'mores kit which I immediately used the first night there. The staff also included dog bowls, waste bags, and campfire treats for Enzo, which obviously he was stoked about.
The Phone Situation:
I had known from the beginning that mindlessly scrolling on social media, checking emails, doing work, responding to texts, or managing notifications would defeat the purpose of the entire trip altogether. I also knew that I needed Maps to navigate drives to hiking trails and Spotify to play music on the provided Bluetooth player, so I compromised by disabling all apps but those two and the camera, Everything I wanted, and nothing I didn't.
Tips & Tricks:
There's a small trail at the outpost that makes for a great morning walk.
Pack a headlamp to make tending to fires in the pitch black wilderness easy & safe.
If you plan on doing a lot of campfire cooking, be sure to bring enough tin foil.
Pack a pair of shoes that are easy to slip on and off for walking from the cabin to the campfire/picnic table so you don't track leaves. I highly recommend Teva Ember Mocs not only because they come in my favorite color, but because they are the ultimate campsite shoe.
Put a blanket on the picnic table and lay and look at the stars--it's a great view.
Lean into the art of "doing nothing" and waking up without alarm clocks. Really embrace all the aspects of living in nature. You get what you put into it.
Overall, the simplicity of the week and the entirely stress-free environment gave me the ultimate gift of relaxation and made this a true getaway that left me feeling recharged and reconnected. I'm not sure I would have had such a profound experience if I stayed for just a weekend, but I'm sure I would be enjoyed it regardless.
The ability to reclaim time for things it seems we seldom get to do (quick sketches for fun, working on a puzzle, cooking, thinking about real things that weren't memes or YouTube videos or Netflix shows) was the most valuable aspect and I certainly took some things I learned home (like no social Sundays)
What are you waiting for? Getaway and get $$ off your stay by using this link.