Social Distancing Was Already a Selling Point for Getaway House
Elevators, hallways, front desks, breakfast buffets, shared air—these routine trappings of hotel travel suddenly all seem like opportunities for the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Last summer’s opening of a Mount Adams location of Getaway House Inc., then, has turned out to be most fortuitous. Launched on the East Coast as a grad school project in 2015 and hyped on Shark Tank, Getaway House sets up simple cabins within a couple of hours’ drive of a major metro area and pitches its woodsy locales and unplugged chill vibes to stressed-out cityfolk. Guests reserve online and are sent directions and a door code before their stay, no physical keys or human interaction required.
The units get around a lot of cost-heavy building codes by being, technically, trailers. The towable “houses,” some with Twin Peaks–themed names and running $99–299 depending on demand, are set so the picture-window views are full of trees, not other people. Pine-lined walls make the inside cozy, though any carpenters in your party will wish they’d brought sandpaper to do some finish work. There’s a picnic table outside, and Adirondack chairs arranged around a fire ring with a cooking grate. (Charcoal is OK, but crackling campfires are verboten this summer thanks to Klickitat County’s season-long burn ban.)
Cabins come with made beds, cooking supplies (but BYO coffeemaker), toilet paper and towels in the bathroom, tampons, lighters, a s’mores kit, a refrigerator, a two-burner stove, heat and AC, a minibar-style tray of snacks for sale, and aggressively themed reading material, from The Illustrated Walden to the founders’ own heavily annotated treatise on the value of tech-free nature experiences. A “Cellphone Lockbox” invites you to “forget” your phone in favor of “a true escape,” though the Bluetooth option on the radio sends a different message (as does the wireless router hidden among the utilities). Cabins sleep two or four, with the extra capacity coming in the form of a sleeping loft with a second queen mattress. Be ready to repeatedly warn children about sharp corners and low clearance. Inevitable head bonks aside, the faux-camping experience is a pleasant one, holed up in a tidy cabin with a table for board games and no RV-er neighbors running noisy generators all night.