Living and working in the Washington, D.C. metro area makes for hectic week days and weekends full of kid/family activities so finding time to getaway is few and far between. As a mom of one busy 6.5-year-old girl, small business owner, and blogging full time, to say my days and evenings are jam packed with projects, errands, and the longest to-do list is an understatement. When the opportunity presented itself to take a mini getaway with Getaway House, I said yes and I’m so happy I did! The timing was perfect because the last day of school for my little one was a couple days before, I thought what perfect way to kick-off our summer with a mommy and me trip to unplugged in the woods. When I first learned about Getaway House (via Instagram) I was immediately intrigued by the look of the house/cabins, especially photos with views of the woods from inside that make you feel like you were literally outside in nature.
WHAT IS GETAWAY HOUSE?
Getaway House is an experience designed to bring us back to our elements, immerse us in the magic of the woods, and challenge us to rediscover the pleasure of boredom, solitude and unstructured time. Getaway House offer simple escapes to tiny cabins nestled in nature. (source: Getaway House). The Getaway houses/cabins are placed two hours outside of major cities (currently in Boston, NYC, and DC), and are designed with modern amenities. Our cabin / camp site was surrounded by the remarkable native trees of Virginia with the outpost being a short drive from the Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains—old mountains in America.
THE GETAWAY EXPERIENCE.
Booking a getaway is easy. The cabins are located about two hours from each city and all you do is select an Outpost (DC, Boston, New York) to see available dates and cabins. Once you are booked and confirmed, you’ll receive an email revealing the exact address of your secret location with all the details included. On the day of our Getaway, we receive a text and email with our exact cabin name and lock-code; we stayed in the “Alvin”. The cabins are available for rent year-round and is a great alternative to hotel rental if you are the woodsy type. Oh, and a little fun fact: the cabins are named after grandparents of their staff and guests.
I’ll admit that I was a little apprehensive about taking my Little A out to the woods for a couple of days “in the middle of nowhere” not really knowing what to expect. We stayed in the two-person cabin and it has a full bathroom and shower and a kitchen with running water. The cabin also has a large platform bed with a large window overlooking the beautiful nature views. The cabin we stayed in was modern and modest and definitely made the experience of being out in the woods a whole lot better.
The cabins are slightly bigger than a tiny house and comes complete with a cell phone lock box to lock up your phone when you arrive, queen bed, hot shower, biodegradable shower products, electric heater + toilet, two-burner stove, sink + potable water, salt, pepper + olive oil, dining nook, and provisions for purchase. Outside the cabin are chairs + picnic table, a campfire grate, and a couple of Adirondack chairs. Provisions and firewood are available for purchase at a small fee.
The campsite and cabin were clean and there are other cabin houses around, so you don’t feel totally alone. I was so impressed by the fact that I spent two days out in the woods and had zero mosquito bites (I can’t even go into my backyard without a few bites); it’s completely safe. In the evening, we built a fire and cooked our dinner over open flames—yes! If you are apprehensive about being out in the woods without the comforts of your home and your electronic device, i.e. your cellphone, don’t be. GH cabins have been designed with busy city dwellers in mind.
SMALL TOWN TOUR.
The whole experience of staying in a Getaway House cabin is to unplug and get back to nature. But I wanted to take it a step further in a sort of “seize the day” moment. I mean, we were already out there, so like I do on most places I travel to, I like to get the lay of the land…. Wander around to get to know the local people and learn a little bit about where I was visiting. On our first night, we explored the town (population less than five hundred). It was so cool to learn that the town was recently (in the last five years), designated a Historic District and is listed on both the federal and state registries of historic places. One of its historic buildings was built in 1839! It was so neat to walk through the old town and to experience the shops, it was so fun!
Our unplugged getaway allowed us to bond even more, play games together, made a campfire together, roasted s’mores, we talked and giggled about silly things, and she even revealed to me that she will be an artist when she grows up (I knew that when she was two years old, but happy for that moment when she knew and told me).
DAY EXCURSION + BEAR SIGHTING AT SNP.
On our second day, we drove a few minutes out to the Shenandoah National Park (SNP) and took a drive on Skyline drive occasionally stopping to take pictures and take in the stellar views at some of the most picturesque overlooks I’ve ever seen. After exploring the exhibit at the Harry F. Byrd, Sr. Visitor Center (located at Milepost 51 on Skyline Drive, right across from Big Meadows). At the visitor center, we toured the museum where we learned about and watched videos and saw historical photographs of early trail construction of the Shenandoah National Park Trail back in 1933. We browsed the gift shop and purchased some SNP stickers and souvenirs and refrigerator magnets.
We grabbed lunch and soon heard that there was bear sighting, so naturally, we packed up our lunch, grabbed the camera, and headed towards the direction of the bear. The Park Ranger was close by to make sure we did not get too close. It was such a cool experience to see a black baby bear eating berries and roaming the park by himself. This is the true essence of Getaway House—providing us the opportunity to bring us back to nature and experience magical moments like the overlook, deer and black bear sightings, campfires and to rediscover and reconnect with nature and the simple pleasures of life.
Being able to take a break from our everyday busy life, enjoy the ordinary, share meaningful moments with one another, and appreciate the simple things is what our mini getaway with Getaway House was all about. And we loved every minute of it!
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