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By Laura Roe Stevens
It was going to be another boring Zoom meeting with investors, except in this case, the marketing executive wasn’t going to participate from his home base. Instead, he joined the call from a Tennessee cabin that made his colleagues somewhat jealous. After all, along with expansive views of lavender-hued mountains, the rental came with a fireplace, wine in the fridge, mountain bikes in the garage, and a deck hot tub overlooking the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Call it a unique form of “cabin fever.” As the winter drags on with more lockdowns amid the second and third waves of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it’s easy to see why interest is continuing to mount in cabins and camping trips. Indeed, while city vacations requiring airline travel and hotel stays continue to slump, some 61 percent of US travelers are more likely to consider outdoor or nature trips than they did pre-pandemic, with nearly two-thirds preferring to go on trips that are off the beaten path, according to a TripAdvisor survey. “Whether it’s cabins or campsites, this is where people are searching,” says a spokesperson for the popular travel-review website.
This type of trip isn’t for every executive. Reliable high-speed internet service and the joys of strong water pressure often are issues, not to mention wildlife that might rattle the average city slicker. Weather changes are more critical, too, when there is no central heating or air conditioning in your tent. Still, when you look at the kinds of options available these days, it’s hard not to at least consider these trips.
Minam River Lodge
Nestled within Oregon’s 361,446-acre Eagle Cap Wilderness and accessible only by “a long hike, horse ride, or private plane,” the lodge offers an extreme, remote wilderness experience married with high-end dining, wine events, and local entertainment. Accommodations tend to be on the simpler side, but reviewers call them “comfortable” and say the property’s many excursions, such as fly-fishing, hiking, and horseback riding, make up for the lack of elegance.
Located in Big Sur, California, the family-owned resort bills itself as a classic “glamping” experience. The two autonomous tents—each with a private bathroom, shower, and deck with firepit overlooking the Pacific—book up 10 months in advance, says guest relations manager Donna Heckert. Yurts with hardwood floors, decks, and skylights book up six to nine months out. Drivable from San Francisco or Los Angeles, Treebones serves as a nature break for those who want to hike and whale watch but who still crave creature comforts, from sushi bars to heated pools to yoga classes and massages (when COVID-safe).
In Litchfield Hills, Connecticut, this popular wedding and spa destination is an East Coast option for a wooded yet cushy getaway. Set on 113 acres of land, the property rents 18 uniquely designed luxury cottages whose themes include a tree house, a library, a “helicopter room” restored from a Coast Guard chopper, and a lighthouse-inspired cabin. Like other glamping sites, Winvian Farm has a local organic garden and a farm-to-table restaurant. All this, along with a 5,000-square-foot spa.
Dunton Hot Springs
Enjoy a Wild West experience without roughing it. This former mining town in Colorado may feel remote, but it is within driving distance of many cities and airports. It also is home to a mineral water source described as high in “iron and manganese and a little dash of lithium.” The company claims that the springs’ bicarbonate water improves circulation in the body and promotes healthy skin. Restored, authentic log cabins have views of the mountains and meadows and are within walking distance of the bathhouse and the springs’ source.
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