One thing I always wanted to do with my kids was go camping. And I’m talking the whole nine; the great outdoors, cooking beans over a fire, stargazing, hiking, bare feet, fresh air, catch a fish and eat it for dinner….woah, just got a little carried away there. But you know what I mean. Like some solid quality family time roughing it in the woods. There’s only one problem. I’m a wimp. I mean hello. And then there’s bears, misquotes, ants, bugs, rain, sleeping on the ground, no showers or running water….I mean, how in the world am I supposed to steam my matche latte to a perfect 145°?!
Enter: Getaway. Getaway is a collection of tiny cabins in the middle of nature – basically camping without the hassle of camping. Or camping for wimps as I like to call it. Getaway has sites outside of Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, L.A., New York, Pittsberg, Cleveland, Portland and Washington D.C. We spent Labor Day weekend at the Atlanta site which is located 1 hour and 45 minutes north of Atlanta in the Chattahoochee Oconee National Forest.
I’m going to start out by saying my kids loved every minute of this trip. And by “loved” I mean if they weren’t starting or tending to a fire, they were asking to start a fire or if they could light matches or burn something. I mean to the point where I’m like, I think we need to ask for a fire pit for Christmas. It was constant!
They also loved the cabin too. We all did. I was a little nervous about us all fitting in there comfortably but we totally did and with room to spare. We got a 4 person cabin which comes with queen bunks. And the bunks are oversized so we slid the mattresses to the edge and had enough room on each bunk for the kids to lay out their sleeping bags over a couple of blankets we brought. This was awesome because then Jason and I each had a queen bed to ourselves and the kids felt like they we’re “camping” – a win win.
I have to add too, the cabins were incredible. The space was so well thought out and it was stocked with everything we needed like pots, pans, running water…a bathroom. Firewood, fire starters and a guide on how to start a fire. You can see everything that’s included in the cabins here.
It was so obvious that Getaway put a lot of thought into how they stocked the cabin too. They chose biodegradable soaps for the shower and they even had some organic snacks like Amy’s Soups and Bob’s Red Mill instant oatmeal (and I have to add, some non-organic favorites too like Swedish Fish) that were available for purchase, pre-stocked in the cabin. The stay even came with a complimentary copy of this book written by the founders and also another take-home guide with puzzles, fun facts, a constellation map, information about the area and lists of conversation starters if you ran out of things to talk about. Jason and I had fun with this sitting around the fire after the kids went to bed.
The term “forest bathing” was coined in 1983 by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. It describes the therapeutic practice of spending time in nature.
According to Qi Ling, the major researcher of the effect of forest bathing on the immune system: ” If you have time for a vacation, don’t go to a city. Go to a natural area. Try to go one weekend a month. Visit a park at least once a week…on urban walks, try to walk under trees, not across fields.” He continues, the reward for this challenge is lower blood pressure, lower heart rate and lower cortisol levels, all without a prescription.The Getaway Handbook
Getaway has also partnered with One Tree Planted and for every cabin booked, a new tree is planted. To date that totals 13,700 trees!
Meals and what we packed for food
We stayed two nights and brought a few meals with us so we weren’t scrambling in the morning or at night which worked out great. If you are interested, we packed:
- Gluten free pasta with jarred sauce
- Organic/grass-fed hotdogs and baked beans and roasted asparagus
- Hard boiled eggs mashed up with butter, salt and pepper
- Muffins and mellon
The kids cooked the hotdogs on a stick over the open fire and they were so excited, you would have thought it was Christmas. Just a side note here. I was planning on boiling the water and warming the beans over the open flame but all the pots and pans stocked at the cabin were for the stove top only and could not be used outside so if you are planning to do the same, bring your camping pots and pans. We also brought all the fixings for S’mores #obvi.
For more, check out the Getaway Recipes page for campfire cooking inspo like Campfire Shakshuka and Strawberry S’more Skewers.
What to do
Okay so really the only downside to Getaway Atlanta is there is LITERALLY NOTHING TO DO THERE. I mean, that’s the whole point right? Unplug? Get up close and personal with nature. Read a book. Take a nap. I’m all into that but with 2 small kids, napping and quiet-time does not make for an all day agenda.
So the “outpost” or grounds for Getaway Atlanta is a dirt road loop that goes into the woods adorned with cabins. Some are uphill, some are downhill, some are down another road. But that’s it.
There’s no lake or swimming/fishing hole. There’s no playground or even a field to throw a ball around with the kids. There was a walking path but I started in on it with my flip flops and the overgrowth had me wondering if I was walking through poison ivy so I left.
We also chose to go at the end of August, a time of the year in Atlanta that is BLAZING HOT during the day. It’s so hot outside and there was no shade at our campsite (some sites did have shade depending on how they were positioned) so we were really stuck for things to do at the outpost. We couldn’t be outside and we couldn’t be inside. Four people in a tiny space doesn’t work when you have two boys with energy steaming out of their ears. So during the day we had to peace out of the outpost and find some things to do locally.
What to do around Getaway Atlanta with kids
So we ended up hitting up the Consolidated Gold Mine which was super fun. We took a tour that took us 200ft underground in the old mining tunnels and we got to see the tools they used to use to mine gold. Anyone want to swing a hammer for 12 hours straight in the pitch black for .25 a day? Anyone want to be the guy holding the hand drill steels the hammer guy is aiming for!? After the tour, we all panned for gold (we actually left with two small specs of gold) and then the boys mined for gems. It was a fabricated mining experience but they got to leave with a bag full of gems and LOVED IT.
Dahlonega is also a fun stop for lunch. It’s a small city right by the Consolidated Gold Mine in Northern Georgia with tasting rooms, a gold museum, little shops, restaurants and antiques.
About 8 miles from the campsite is the official beginning (or end) of the Appalachian Trial. A sign near the trail reads, “This 2,190 mile trail stretches form Maine to Georgia, passes through 14 states, eight National Forests, six national parks and more than 60 federal state and local parks and forests. It’s terrain ranges from flat woodland paths to near vertical scrambles.”
The funny thing about being at the beginning or the end of a trail like this is the juxtaposition of hiker energy. You get the fresh-faced trailblazer with a pack stacked so high it doubles his height – whistling into the yonder and cracking a smile at his own thoughts. And then the next minute you see hunched shoulder guy talking to himself and frantically looking around to see if anyone, ANYONE will make eye contact with his “I’ve been by myself for 97 hours straight” soul. Good people watching to say the least.
The kids asked if we could “hike the 2,190 mile trail.” I was like, maybe next year. But actually it would be fun to do sections of it over time, wouldn’t it!? (Note to self: Learn how to camp).
North Georgia is also full of waterfalls. I wish we scouted out some locations in advance. Getaway recommends some pretty options like Cooper Creek for fishing, hiking and a waterfall about 15 minutes away. But I’m sure there are a ton more too. We just didn’t have the bandwidth (literally) to figure it out on the fly.
One other cool thing we passed on the way home is a “Shoot the Hooch-like” launching site called Chestatee River Adventures. I don’t know how many of these there are but it’s essentially floating down a river in a tube and it seems to be the thing to do in Georgia. Putting this on my list for next time. The kids would LOVE IT.
Also, there is a massive apply orchard in the area but it’s not organic which was a bummer because that would have made the perfect stop on the way home. Come to find out, after some research, it’s pretty much impossible to grow an organic apple in the state of Georgia so that’s a bummer. There was a pesticide-free PYO blueberry farm called Blake Collins though so maybe next time we will check it out. (Google doesn’t have much on this farm so call before you go to confirm: 843 Collins Road, Morganton, GA 30560. Phone: 706-374-5674 ).
The perfect getaway
In the end we had a great time. Getaway is geared more toward singles or couples rather than families in my opinion. I’m not sure what the other Getaway campsites look like around the country but maybe they have more to offer in terms of activities, play space and or fishing/watering holes.
This was a fun adventure for the family and the closest we will ever get to camping. For that, I am so grateful!