Culture / Travel

Tiny Cabins Offer a True Escape From Technology 90 Minutes From Dallas

Getaway Dallas Puts You in the Real Wilderness, But There's a Comfy Bed

BY // 10.28.19

I am not a camping person. I don’t do bugs, bears, or flimsy tents that sit directly on the ground. So, when my boyfriend suggested we go camping some time this fall, I remembered a tiny cabin company I had heard of that just opened a brand new outpost near Dallas.

Getaway Piney Woods is located about an hour and a half east of Dallas at 1 County Road 4357 in LaRue. The appeal for me was simple: Experiencing the outdoors, but with ability to go inside with a shower, toilet and comfy bed to sleep in.

The concept of the tiny cabins is to unplug and relax. There’s an optional cellphone lockbox if that’s the kind of experience you’re looking for. The cabin is also decked out with queen bed (there’s a two queen bed options for four guests, as well), a two-burner stove, mini-refrigerator, a deck of cards and dice, books and snacks for purchase. Outdoors, you’ve got a picnic table and campfire grill great. Firewood is also available to buy.

In 2015, Jon Staff and Pete Davis launched Getaway in Boston. There are now eight cities in America with Getaway outposts including Atlanta, New York, Portland and Washington D.C. The newest, along with Dallas, are in Los Angeles and Pittsburgh + Cleveland. The overall concept: to escape, unwind and spend time with nature in a relaxing setting.

As soon as we arrived on a Sunday evening, we unlocked our cabin (named Alexander) with a key code that was texted to me two hours prior to our check-in time. We both placed our cellphones in a simple wooden box with a simple gold clasp that really doesn’t lock. Still, it felt good to give a device-free evening a try.

The cellphone lockbox. Photo by Michelle Watt

After taking a look around the very clean, tidy and modern space, we decided to go on a walk around the rest of the 99 acre property. We saw several other couples walking hand-in-hand and families sitting around their own fire pits. Each cabin was named after grandparents of staff and friends, making them easy to locate and giving them a sense of charm.

On site, there’s a .75 mile nature path and if you want to explore further there are several other hiking and biking trails and Lake Palestine within a 40 minute drive.

The place is pretty well stocked, making it easy to pack light. The bathroom includes toilet paper, towels, shampoo, conditioner and body wash. There’s even a first aid kit with free feminine products. In the kitchen, they provide a kettle, pots and pans, plates, cups, knives, scissors, lighters, utensils and more.

Our plan was to cook, I even brought chicken sausages and pasta with me, but we got hungry on the way and stopped at Athens Brewing Co. It ended up being a great choice for an early dinner. Located in historic downtown Athens, the brewery serves pale ales, IPAs, sours and more. They were just about to close the kitchen, but we managed to order some boneless wings  and “Sexy Fries,” which are beer battered fries tossed in butter and house seasoning. A definite must-stop if you’re traveling from Dallas.

We did want to make a fire though, and if you’re making a fire, you have to make s’mores. My  boyfriend built the fire while I watched out for wild boars amongst the darkness. That was one thing our guide mentioned. That there could be wild boars or piglets roaming in the area. I think I had a bit too much excitement in my voice when I said piglets because my boyfriend then replied that they wouldn’t be the kind of piglets I was thinking of.

Roasting marshmallows by the fire was nice for awhile and after two s’mores I was satisfied and ready to move on to something else. So we decided to go back inside and read the books we brought. After what I thought was about an hour of reading The Library Book, I was starting to wonder what time it was and thinking about how I needed to set my phone alarm to wake up in the morning.

So I took my phone out of the lockbox. It was 7:20 pm. It was pitch dark outside and we had thought it was going to be at least 9 pm. But, in reality, we had only been at the campsite for about an hour and a half, maybe two hours. We were astounded. How were we going to pass the next two or three hours in a tiny cabin?

My boyfriend then pulled out the laptop I had told him not to bring. I accepted it at this point as it was necessary. There is no Wi-Fi on the property, but he had The Wolf of Wall Street downloaded on his computer. As much I dislike that movie, it passed another couple of hours until we were ready to go to sleep.

The next morning, I made some pour over coffees that were available to buy for $1.50 each and we took in the last hour of our Getaway escape. It was nice laying in bed and drinking coffee in tin mugs while looking out a giant window where you can only see trees, leaves and rocks.

They truly made it feel like you’re the only ones there, although there are other cabins a short distance away. Not quite camping or glamping, it was a perfect medium for our outdoorsy getaway.

Stays at Getaway Piney Woods can be booked anywhere between $99 and $209 per night. 

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