If you're like me, staying home during the pandemic has meant staying constantly connected to various screens. From early-morning Zoom meetings to phone calls on my morning walks to scrolling social media and streaming movies in the evenings, it's difficult for me to recall a time spent in the absence of some sort of digital device.
So when the time comes to finally get away, I eye destinations offering the opportunity for a full digital detox along with plenty of room for social distancing.
That first criteria includes not just an absence of TV and internet, but also an abundance of analog activities that encourage meaningful interaction, connecting with nature, and mindful presence to ensure I won't be tempted to check my cell reception. Here are a few spots to distance yourself from digital devices and other people as the coronavirus pandemic wears on.
Designed with the hyperconnected in mind, Getaway offers tiny-cabin escapes near large cities including Washington, D.C., Boston and Atlanta.
Located in Georgia's Chattahoochee National Forest, Getaway's Atlanta outpost is an ideal escape for Chattanoogans looking to unplug for a weekend. And the whole experience is contact-free, making it a perfect pandemic getaway. Guests are sent the location of their cabin the week of their stay, followed by the name of their cabin and code to enter the morning they are due to arrive.
You can choose to spend your getaway alone, as a couple or bring the family (cabins have either one queen bed or two queen bunk beds), including members of the four-legged variety.
Cabins are outfitted with everything you'll need during your minimalist vacay, including a bathroom with hot shower and toilet, heat and air conditioning, and a kitchenette with a mini fridge, two-burner stove, basic cookware and dishes, cooking oil, and food available for purchase. You're also provided with a mini library, an activity book, a radio and a cellphone lockbox, as well as your own fire pit and outdoor seating.
With its baby goats, treehouses and bucolic atmosphere, Candlelight Forest is the perfect spot to live out your Instagram-inspired #cottagecore fantasies. Accurately billing itself as "A Simpler Times Resort," this Chickamauga, Georgia, getaway is designed for folks who want to go outside and play the way it was done back in the day. Pull yourself across the lake in a Huck Finn-style raft, pick up an ice cream from the sweet shop, hike the property's 30 miles of trails or swing from a rope into the lake.
Guests can choose from two treehouses — one decorated by Sophie's Shoppe and featuring an outdoor "cowboy kitchen" — or stay in the "This Old House" TV show's first-ever model home. You also have the option to pay $12 per person to get outside for the day and enjoy the 250-acre property's amenities.
One of my favorite fall destinations, Barnsley Resort, just happens to be a perfect socially distanced getaway with plenty of opportunities to disconnect outdoors. Choose one of its "manor" rooms and suites, which are located inside cottages in the resort's Bavarian-style village. Each has its own separate entrance and porch, with parking just outside the door.
Once settled in, you can have a fancy dinner delivered to your door by golf cart as you cozy up by the gas fireplace in your room after enjoying a day outdoors. Borrow a bike to cruise the property, schedule a horseback ride through the woods, go shooting or go fishing in the lake, enjoy a treatment in the spa, or just take a relaxing bubble bath in your room — rubber ducky included.
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