Review: Getaway's Wifi-Less Cabins Are the Perfect Antidote to Life in LA
Architect-designed, handsomely appointed and completely disconnected
Los Angeles is a city of transplants. People who — chances are — hail from a place with seasons. If you are one of those people and you miss those seasons, you should go about two hours east into the mountains, to a place called Getaway.
Located at 6,100 feet above sea level in the San Bernardino Mountains, Getaway is a collection of 40 tiny house cabins spread across 60 acres of towering ponderosa pines and mountain vistas. It is, simply put, the diametric opposite to life in LA.
Getaway’s mission to “give people time, space, and permission to be off” started in 2015 with their first outpost in Catskill, New York. Today, they have nine locations across the country, with their SoCal location near Big Bear being the newest addition.
So in search of the winter season and some quiet time to write, read, meditate and disconnect, I took a solo trip to Getaway for three days and three nights. For 72 hours, I lived the Getaway mission by giving myself the permission to step out of my daily routine, slow down and just be. And even though it wasn’t a stay at a five-star hotel, it turned out to be the most indulgent thing I’ve done for myself in awhile.
If you too could use a reset, here’s what you need to know about escaping to Getaway.
WELCOME TO YOUR TINY CABIN
Each Getaway cabin offers 140 to 200 square feet of interior space. Small, yes, but inside you won’t feel confined thanks to each cabin’s most Instagrammable feature: a huge view-framing window set behind a spacious queen-sized bed with white linens and down pillows.
Overall, the tiny space packs a big punch, taking an “everything you need, nothing you don’t” approach. There’s a kitchenette with plenty of counter space, a two-burner stove, mini fridge, sink, utensils, dishes, cups, mugs, plus a pot and pan. Finishing out this all-in-one room is a small table/desk for eating and writing, a bluetooth speaker and an AC/heater. There’s also a separate bathroom housing a proper flush toilet and shower with hot water.
Outside, you’ll find your own private lounging area complete with fire pit, picnic table and Adirondack chairs for two. A bin or firewood and fire starter are also within arms reach, so no need to bring you own. In summation: this is the absolute easiest way to spend time in nature.
THERE’S NO WIFI, AND THAT’S A GOOD THING
You’ve been thinking it. “Is there wifi?” Getaway’s answer to that question via their FAQ: “There is no wifi and never will be.” It’s a bold move, but one I welcomed.
Think about it — when’s the last time you went somewhere without wifi? I’ve been to places many times more remote where people pay thousands of dollars to retreat and feel disconnected from the world so they can reconnect with themselves … and there’s wifi.
Getaway, on the other hand, can help you disconnect from the matrix of everyday life much closer to home, and for far less money. And honestly, if you’re tethered to your computer for a living, not having wifi might be the exact reason to go.
Also of note: Getaway is a self-catering environment. While there are staff onsite, you won’t see them unless you call for assistance or more supplies (towels, etc.). On your day of check-in, you’ll receive a unique code via text that you’ll use to let yourself in to your cabin via the door’s keypad. When it’s time to go, just tidy up a bit and lock the door on your way out.
Waiting for each guest inside their cabin upon arrival is a handwritten note and welcome packet of essential information — next to, most importantly, a complimentary s’mores kit.
Inside the welcome packet, on the reverse side of a map detailing local attractions, you’ll find an infographic titled 36 Ways to Getaway with prompts for all the things you could do that aren’t sitting around on your phone. Examples include: instructions on how to forest bathe, meditate and properly build a campfire.
Then there’s the cell-phone lock box: when I saw this listed under amenities on the Getaway website I figured it was a safe for small belongings. In reality, it’s a neat little wooden box with “for a true escape, forget your phone inside” inscribed on the top. Prying your phone out of your hand and putting it in this box is a lot harder than you think, but feels so good. Trust me.
THE AREA & THINGS TO DO (OR NOT DO)
About those seasons I mentioned earlier: in these parts, they offer up an ever rotating list of things to do. In winter, the ski hills of Big Bear are a 35-minute dive away. In fall, there’s an apple orchard within driving distance. Come summer, nearby Lake Arrowhead offers up a variety of watercraft rentals. And as you’d expect, the surrounding mountains mean there’s plenty of hiking, regardless of the season.
But here’s an idea: do nothing. Seriously. In fact, while Getaway provides all the info you’ll need to explore the area, they do encourage doing nothing. So over my three-night, three-day stay, I did zero activities and took zero excursions. Aside from the morning and evening walk around the property and having a campfire on my last night, I never left my cabin — and it was glorious.
FOOD AND DRINK
As mentioned, your kitchen comes equipped with all the cooking gear you’ll need. It’ll help to plan your meals, snacks and booze needs ahead of time, then go grocery shopping pre-trip. If you run out of anything or get a craving, there are two markets with everything you need within a five-minute drive.
Your cabin will also be stocked with a provisions basket, Getaway’s version of the hotel mini bar. It’s got a little of everything, from snacks to pour-over coffee to oatmeal to pasta and sauce for a full meal.
For anyone looking to show off or spruce up on their open-flame grilling skills, be sure to bring some meat, fish or veggies to cook over your bonfire outside (each fire pit comes with a grill grate and Getaway’s campfire cooking recipes should get you started).
If you get cabin fever, the town of Running Springs and its handful of casual eateries are just five minutes away. For a local favorite, check out Lou Eddie’s in nearby Skyforest, which serves delicious fire-roasted pizzas and beer from their on-site micro-brewery.
Getaway notes they host many solo travelers, including those looking for an affordable self-guided writer’s or artist’s retreat. While I went solo and plan to again, Getaway is primed for all types of visitors.
Many of the people I saw during my stay were couples, and for good reason. It’s the perfect spot for a little woodsy romance (bonfire under the stars anyone?). For friend trips, couple up and rent a collection of nearby cabins or check out Getaway’s four-person cabins, which feature queen bunk beds (making them ideal for young families, too).
YOU’VE GOT NO EXCUSE
Getaway makes it hard to come up with excuses not to visit. If you’re a student or veteran they’ll give you 15% off, if you’re an artist you can apply for a free night stay through their Artist Fellowship program, and huge savings can be had when you stay for three or more nights. And because Getaway is invested in helping you get out of your daily routine and into nature, you can book via this link and get $25 off your stay. So go. Thank us later.
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