There is nothing else I need to be doing and nowhere else I need to be, I thought as we lounged in our comfortable bed, cozy inside our tiny cabin. It was, as the Eagles sing, “a peaceful easy feelin’” and that’s a feeling that’s become increasingly rare in our frenzied, work-obsessed, social media sharing world. And that’s exactly what is intended with a vacation with Getaway House Atlanta and its other locations around the country.
I’m fairly certain those Slow Down signs on the dirt roads of this tiny cabin community near Suches, Georgia, aren’t just about the speed limit. Everything about this 57-acre property is designed for you to lower your operating speed and disconnect.
That was the intent of the founders of Getaway House, Jon Staff and Pete Davis, who referred to their cabin rental company as the anti-Twitter when they appeared on “Shark Tank.” The concept is simple. Put a bunch on tiny houses in the woods within two hours of major cities and rent them out by the night.
The two met in the pressure-cooker world of Harvard when Jon was in business school and Peter was in law school. They started the company in 2015 with the first cabin in Virginia. There are now seven other locations of Getaway House, listed on the website as Escape from: Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh and Cleveland, Portland, Oregon and Washington, DC.
The location in Atlanta opened in 2019. (Its official name is Getaway House Chattahoochee, but the getaways are also referred to by the cities you are getting away from.)
We spent the weekend at Getaway House Atlanta. Here’s what our experience was like, tips and why you want to experience a Getaway House for yourself.
What’s it like to get away with Getaway House Atlanta?
I loved our stay here. In a way, it’s the proverbial dream come true. Well, almost. I’ve always wanted a small cabin in the woods. Nothing big and fancy – just a cozy cabin we could get away to on weekends.
My husband knows my dream and for Christmas one year, he gave me a beautiful book on cabins. His note was something like, “this is as close as we can get to the real thing.” It’s lovely, but hardly a substitute for the real thing, a place to de-stress, relax and escape from city life.
We did all three of those things in a comfortable, light-filled, well-equipped tiny house of our own. And we can’t wait to do it again. It’s one of my favorite weekend getaways from Atlanta.[ See related story on another North Georgia cabin getaway: Barrels of Fun at State Parks: Unicoi State Park Cabins}
What’s the booking and preparation process like?
Booking is super easy online. Some properties book up quickly so try to book as far in advance as you can.
Kudos to whoever designed the website for Getaway House because it’s one of the best I’ve seen. It’s organized, easy to navigate and answers just about any question you can possibly have about a stay at one of their locations.
There’s even a whole section on what you don’t need to bring. These items include a corkscrew, paper towels, can opener or sugar.
I’m typically an uber prepared traveler. I like to know where I’m going, what I need to pack and what’s there when I get there, so the information on the website was perfect for me. I didn’t need to search through pages and pages just to find out if there will be a coffee maker, like on some websites for accommodations that seem to hide vital information.
A week before our stay we got an email filled with information we needed to know, which included links to more information on what to pack, FAQs and provisions.
A few hours before our getaway we got a text with the name of our cabin and the entry code. There’s no check-in procedure when you get there – just drive up, put your code in and you’re all set.
Can I say how much I love having a code rather than a key for access? Soooo much easier and you’ll never get locked out or drop your key on the streets of New York and not be able to get in your cousin’s apartment until the next day. That’s just one of my husband’s key-related mishaps on a trip. Thankfully, I wasn’t with him for that incident. That’s one of the reasons we remain married.
I was really impressed with the level of communication we got from the staff at Getaway House. Unfortunately we had a big storm come through during our stay, with tornado warnings, and the power went out. We received texts from the staff about the weather warnings and power outage on Saturday. On Sunday we got notice of a road that was closed north of the property as the road had flooded.
How easy is it to get to Getaway House Atlanta?
The Getaway Houses are designed to be about two hours away from major cities. That’s about the time it took us to get to ours from inside the city of Atlanta where we live. I do recommend leaving before 2:00 p.m. if you go for the weekend, because you know. Traffic.
The distance from our home is only 85 miles, but the last part of the trip is through very windy mountain roads and you’ll be going about 30 to 35 miles an hour.
There’s really not a great option other than going by car to get there. You could take a Greyhound bus to Gainesville, then take an hour-long Uber or Lyft ride but it’s much easier to get there by car.
What do you need to take to Getaway House?
Beyond clothes and toiletries, we took food and drinks for dinner and breakfast. I bought my husband a nice Yeti cooler for Christmas and it was perfect for carting our items and keeping them cold.
We also threw in a big battery charger thing you can plug things in to charge them that my husband uses for camping when he goes to music festivals. I do not go camping with him. Another reason we remain married.
We also took our iPads loaded up with reading material and movies we had downloaded from Netflix. Guess what Getaway House doesn’t have? Wifi. Never had it and never will. Be sure to have what you need downloaded as far as maps, restaurants, whatever else you plan on accessing during your stay.
While some guests have reported no cell service on their phones, we have Verizon and had good service. While I do love the feeling of being totally unplugged, I also hate it too. I did my best to stay off my phone, although did not use the wooden box where you can store your phone for a true tech detox.
What are the Getaway House cabins like?
Getaway House has over 300 cabins in all of its locations, with 40 being about the average per location. Getaway Catskills West has the fewest, with 12, and Getaway Catskills East and the most, with 50.
All of the cabins are named after grandparents of staff and guests. Our cabin was named Geza, and we had a rough map of where to find it.
We pulled in the property and begin to wind our way about the winding dirt roads, spotting cabins with names like Mitie, Irene, Josephine and Jarina.
Every cabin has its own parking area. Ours was just a few feet from our cabin, while some do have several wooden stairs either leading up to or down to the cabin.
From the outside the cabins are quite sleek looking with dark grey exteriors. They don’t look very large from the outside and while they are not huge on the inside, they are incredibly efficiently designed.
A queen-size bed, kitchen area, bathroom and table with seating are all included in the less than 200-square-foot space.
A step up to the bed also serves as a bench for one side of the kitchen table. There was room underneath to store our suitcases. Hooks on the wall in the kitchen area were perfect for hanging our grocery bags and coats.
The bathroom area has a toilet and shower. You wash your hands in the small sink in the kitchen.
The founders worked with architects to come up with the design. The cabins are built in Massachusetts, at a cost of $30,000, and transported to their final homes where they are set up with running water, heat and electricity.
The beds are really comfortable, with plenty of pillows, nice linens, and a plaid Pendleton blanket. There are windows on two sides with shades that pull down when you’re ready to go to sleep.
Some cabins have two beds in them, one on top of the other. We saw a few families with younger children, who I imagine loved crawling up to the top to play and sleep. It does seem floor space would be at a minimum, but that’s part of the fun, right?
The kitchen has pots, dinnerware, knives, silverware, paper towels and dish towels. Some nice touches include salt and pepper, dish soap, olive oil and aluminum foil. We also had a brand-new sponge, which made my heart sing as I despise the nasty sponges you find in some rental properties.
There a really cute red mini fridge where we stashed some of the items we took out of the cooler. Yes, there is electricity, heat and AC and our room was toasty warm for our entire stay during the month of January.
There’s a lantern by the front door if you need it for light at night, playing cards and an activity sheet should you get bored.
There’s a basket of items for purchase that included pourover coffee, cookies, pasta, jerky, popcorn and fixings for S’mores.
Now about coffee. One of the things I need every day, in addition to air and water, is coffee in the morning. Right away. I do not like to have to get up, put on clothes and go to a lobby or elsewhere to get coffee. Thankfully, when we don’t have a coffeemaker in our room, my husband will fetch it for both of us. That’s another reason we remain married.
I’m not a big fan of pourover coffee as I lack the patience to stand there while it drips, drips, drips. We took a small individual coffee maker with us that I bought just for such emergencies as not having one in our room.
Then I read the request in the cabin to not use a hair dryer or coffeemakers as they may overload the electrical system. That’s where the big battery my husband brought came in handy. We plugged the coffeemaker in so we had fresh coffee in the morning.
When you get ready to check out, just tidy up and go. That’s it. We always leave tips for housekeeping. However the instructions said their staff doesn’t accept tips but would appreciate us not leaving our cabin a mess.
Are the cabins pet friendly?
Absolutely. All of the cabins are family friendly. Getaway House will provide some treats, a leash and a bowl. To see how much furry friends enjoy a getaway too, check out #dogsofgetaway.
Are the cabins private?
We were there in the winter so the trees were bare and we could see a few cabins. But they aren’t very close and we would be able to see even fewer when the trees were full of leaves.
One of the best things about Getaway House Atlanta is the private outdoor area where we had a fire pit with a grate on it, picnic table and chairs.
How do you handle meals at Getaway House?
I always joke that my husband and I will never run out of things to talk about because we can always discuss our next meal. Back to that being prepared thing – I don’t miss meals and need to know where my next meal is coming from.
I would have loved to cook over the campfire, a fun throwback to my Girl Scout days, and our original plan had been to cook steak and salmon over the fire. But the forecast called for rain and we weren’t sure if we’d be able to cook outdoors so we had picked up fried chicken and sides.
We got lucky and our Friday evening was mostly clear so we could lounge by the fire and cook S’mores after dinner. It was heavenly.
There is firewood and a starter log in a bin right by your cabin available for purchase for a small fee.
Although we rarely eat bacon and eggs at home for breakfast, it seemed like a stay-in-a-cabin type thing to do so we packed those as well and enjoyed them with leftover biscuits from dinner. There is no oven but there is a two-burner stove.
If you’re up for the challenge of cooking on the campfire, see the Recipes section on the Getaway House website, which includes spinach grilled cheese, Cambodian street wings and veggie chili.
Where to eat and what to do during your stay
If you’d rather eat out during your stay at Getaway House Atlanta, your best option is Dahlonega, about 40 minutes away. We stopped for lunch on the way up at Capers on the Square for yummy Mediterranean food. There are a lot of other restaurants and cute shops in Dahlonega.
Don’t plan on dashing out to the grocery store as there’s not one really close. You can find a few provisions at Van Zandt’s Riverwalk Grill & Grocery about 20 minutes away, and a much bigger selection at WalMart, about 40 minutes away.
Getaway House Atlanta is close to a lot of the North Georgia wineries, and a perfect day would be to visit several and have lunch at one. Wolf Mountain Vineyards is one of my favorites and perfect to visit on a pretty day. Others close by include Cavender Creek Vineyards and Kaya Vineyard & Winery.
My husband was observing dry January, something I’ve never been compelled to do. So visiting vineyards was out for us for this trip, but definitely on the list next time.
Hiking in North Georgia
Getaway House Atlanta is located on 57 acres of the Chattahoochee National Forest, and has a short nature trail on site. You can also hike around the property for a short journey.
For longer hikes, there are several trails close by as the property is near the Appalachian Trail.
If you’re really feeling adventurous, head to Blood Mountain, the highest Appalachian Trail summit in Georgia.
There are more activities on the website under the Local Guide section.
Other Great Things About Getaway House Atlanta
- Every time you book a getaway they plant a tree through a partnership with One Tree Planted.
- You can give someone a Getaway House gift card for any amount.
- There’s an Artist Fellows program you can apply for. The definition of artist is a loose one and includes chefs, musicians, writers, anyone “looking to harness their talents in a focused environment.” If accepted, you can stay at a Getaway for one weeknight.
- There are accessible cabins at most of the locations. They have a ramp into the cabin and large bathroom with grab bars.
- First responders, veterans and active duty military get 15% off a stay.
- Students also get 15% off when they enter a student email during booking.
- You can join the Getaway Often Club. You know those punch cards you carry around for months and then maybe get a free yogurt after a certain number of visits? Well, this one is way better. After staying seven nights, you get a free night.
- Getaway has a podcast and the founders wrote a book called How to Get Away: Finding Balance in Our Overworked, Overcrowded, Always-On World
- Know someone who really needs a break, like a caregiver, teacher, friend? Nominate them and mention why they need a break. Each month Getaway House will select a nominee and give them a free getaway.
For more weekend getaways in Georgia see our related stories:
And for cabin getaways in Georgia see our related story:
– Jan Schroder, Editor-in-chief
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