2 Girls, 1 Tiny House: Getaway House Review
I would describe myself as indoorsy. I will not camp. I will not sleep in a tent. I will not shit in the woods.
These central tenets of my personality are as non-negotiable as they are born from one less-than-pleasant experience where I had to attend Boy Scout camp with my brother in middle school.
Still, in desperate need of a break from the interminable blue glare of my phone screen, I turned to nature for a mini vacation, and spent President’s Day just as Malia Obama would have wanted: getting the hell out of the District to pound a bottle of rosé in peace.
As it turns out, the middle of nowhere is only 2 hours outside America’s political swamp.
I made my way down I-29 with my gal pal Erin, driving exactly 100 miles from Northwest D.C., to find the Getaway House property nestled in a quiet corner of the Shenandoah Mountains, just outside of Charlottesville, VA.
Getaway House has locations outside of DC, Boston and New York (LA coming soon!) but my experience can only attest to the DC location.
Food. An electric stove with two burners was all we needed to whip up a few meals. Each home has a small pantry of food for purchase, and complimentary cooking supplies including salt, pepper and olive oil, as well as a set of pots and plates.
Fire. A few chairs surrounded a campfire just outside our cabin. We used the firewood available for purchase ($6 a bundle) and a fire starter ($2) to get things going. You could probably bring your own, but the price was so reasonable. Beware that your clothes will smell like firewood for days to come.
Feels. This tiny house is as cozy as it looks, but it’s also extremely close quarters with your travel partner. Make sure your travel partner isn’t someone you need a lot of privacy from — you won’t really be able to find any. There’s a shower and toilet behind one door, and the rest is a shared room with a kitchenette, folding table and a queen-size bed. A cellphone lockbox and a shelf of books are available to those who need a little nudge to look away from their screens.
You can see the entire list of amenities on the Getaway House website.
Things to Do
Nothing! I am a huge proponent of doing nothing; I did not think I would need a lesson in lack of productivity. Still, I felt compelled to document the trip, to explore, to ‘make the most’ of my downtime. How does one unlearn this undying need for entertainment? It’s not rhetorical — please, I’m begging y’all to explain it to me.
Explore. We struggled to find Shenandoah National Park based on the verbal directions from the kind property manager who recommended we go hiking — I blame the aforementioned rosé — and wound up in a very Confederate town that closely resembled the setting of Get Out. With almost no cell service, we drove around town until we found signs to point us to the park, and enjoyed some light hiking for almost 2 hours.
Entertain yourself. Remember that brain inside your head? It’s full of ideas and questions — let it all flow in a journal, with your travel partner, on a sketchpad. Take advantage of the precious time without the obligation of your inbox. If you’re stuck, use the handbook created by the Getaway team, which is full of questions guaranteed to make you fall in love with your partner, instructions for shadow puppetry, and prompts for what to do with your time.
Get cozy. We built a campfire with firewood that was stored under our unit, and roasted marshmallows to make the complimentary s’mores from the Getaway team.
I’m not nature’s best friend, but I did find a lot of peace and fulfillment in spending time outdoors. The fresh air was a much needed break from D.C., and it was wonderful to look at something (anything!) other than a screen for two days.
I’m not saying this is because I’m a Leo, but I have at least three mirrors in my room. So you can imagine my discomfort in a living space with no way to check myself. This was an excellent lesson in how much my appearance does not matter as much as I think it does. I was desperate to review my outfit before we went for a light hike, but for what purpose? We are just out exploring, it truly would not affect the experience I was about to have.
It’s impossible to finish this post without discussing that “minimalist lifestyle” can only be a novelty to people who are significantly financially privileged. To rid ourselves of our wardrobes and pantries for two days was a challenge to detach ourselves from material possessions, but for most people, that lifestyle isn’t temporary, not is it Insta-worthy. Hundreds of millions of people around the world — hell, in our same Zip codes — live this way because it’s all they have.
So, if you decide to visit Getaway House, you should use the discount code below for $25 off your booking, and then donate the $25 you save to a homeless shelter (like Thrive DC!) or organization that helps connect people with the resources they need to survive each day.
DISCOUNT CODE: HILLEA25
Getaway often, and pay it forward.
Disclaimer: this article isn’t sponsored, but our stay at Getaway House was complimentary.