Camping, Travel

A camping compromise an hour from Pittsburgh

Find a quick escape with Getaway’s tiny cabins

Are you thinking about a getaway?

Let’s start with some background information: Last summer, I saw an article by Bob Batz Jr. of the Post-Gazette highlighting some new cabins in Lisbon, Ohio. But these weren’t just any cabins; they were bright and clean and air-conditioned. They had beds with pristine white sheets and it seemed like the lighting was always perfect for photos. For days afterward I kept seeing ads on social media, which is pretty much a siren’s call to just book a trip already.

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This weekend @bmattisemua and I stayed at one of the @getawayhouse in Lisbon, OH. This was one of the most awesome experiences I’ve had in a while. Very calming and relaxing and a great way to unplug from everything. We walked around the ground, had a fire, made some s’more, cooked some food and just relaxed while looking into the night sky. I highly highly recommend giving these a shot for a night or a weekend. We enjoyed it so much and can’t wait to go back and stay again. If anyone is interested in staying at these homes check them out and use my code “JUSTINB25” for $25 off your stay. They have these outside a few major cities like NY, LA and Oregon but check their website for the full list of Getaways!

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And so I did. My partner and I have very different ideas about camping. In short, I am not a fan and he is. This trip presented an opportunity to compromise, and we were able to take our dog on his first overnight trip.

Happy about hot dogs

For a girl who likes showers and who has terrible seasonal allergies, the Getaway Pittsburgh + Cleveland outpost in Lisbon, Ohio, offers the means to experience all the fun parts of camping (A fire pit! S’mores! Lightning bugs!) without the need to bury your poop because of bears.

We took a hike with the dog, we made a charcuterie plate and drank some beers. I read a book, we made a bunch of hot dogs and s’mores. But I also got to pee in a toilet, take a shower before bed, and watch the lightning bugs through the huge window in each cabin. We returned home, and I immediately rebooked for New Year’s Eve. Yep, I hit a milestone birthday this year, readers, and I wanted to start the decade with some quiet introspection. Little did I know what 2020 would bring.

What about food and drink?

Sort of like a well-stocked minibar, the cabins do have extra dry goods available for purchase, but who are we kidding, you are doing this for the char marks on your burgers and hot dogs and steaks. Just pack a small cooler with your groceries, and the on-site cooking pans and utensils make everything else easy. You can even just accept the charge for firewood on the credit card you used for booking and you won’t even have to stop along the way to purchase some. With a travel time of about an hour from our house on the Northside, there really wasn’t any reason to stop along the way, although we bought some extra Hershey’s chocolate bars at a mini-mart just in case. With the dog anxious to get out of the car, we didn’t stop at Two Smart Cookies, the bakery/cafe just down the road from the cabins, but it’s on the list for next time. Their menu has sandwiches and wraps. It is literally on the entrance road to Beaver Creek State Park, which makes it a good stop for pre-hike fuel.

Getaway’s marketing materials shouts out The Vineyards at Pine Lake, but we are beer people who always come prepared and bring our own to a party. They’ve done the research to compile a more extensive list, but do you really want to drive 20 minutes for pizza?

What sort of actual nature can I explore nearby?

For the allergy-ridden, leisurely walker such as myself, there is plenty of nature and a nature trail around the cabins. There’s no shame in just posting up around the firepit; this is a mini-vacation. The closest outdoor recreation is Beaver Creek State Park with multiple trail loops. It doesn’t really offer much in the way of strenuous hiking, although the dog liked jumping in the creek. A longer option is the Little Beaver Creek Greenway Trail, which is 12.5 miles long. Since it’s paved it can be used as a bike trail, and the trailhead is only 15 minutes from the cabins.

Getaway Ca

Alternately, you could stop at Raccoon Creek State Park in Hookstown, Pennsylvania, on your way there or on the way home. Getaway has also posted what they call “Sidetrips” on their website, with activities such as a visit to a berry farm. But for the three people reading this who love antiques and flea markets as much as I do, remember that the Getaway Beaver Creek cabins are close to the Rogers outdoor flea market if you happen to plan your trip on a Friday. There’s also multiple antique shops in East Liverpool, Ohio. You shouldn’t miss out on The Church Hill Road Covered Bridge — “the shortest covered bridge in the United States” (but do not get it confused with the world’s shortest covered bridge in Geneva, Ohio).

Things I think are great:

  • A minifridge so you don’t have to obsess over bringing enough ice to avoid getting food poisoning.
  • A long leash for the dog and a water bowl (seriously, another thing you don’t have to pack).
  • There’s not only a shower, but also soap and shampoo.
  • I didn’t get cell much cellphone reception and on New Year’s Eve, we listened to the radio.
  • The door locks, so it feels very safe for someone to get away alone, without worrying about someone slashing through the side of the tent (yeah, I probably listen to too many true crime podcasts).

Some COVID-19 updates

The cabins are spread far apart, so you are never within 6 feet of the next campsite. They have a tracker on their website that shows you how many of the campsites are currently booked that day, if you are feeling really spontaneous. Things were always set up to check in and out via emails and a text message with a code, so you never have interaction with a conventional front desk. While the cabins were pristine, they have added additional cleaning protocols and reduced reservation capacity. You can read the rest of their company response here.

Vacation all I ever wanted, vacation had to get away

Think of this more as your overnight getaway, not a weeklong vacation. Reserve a cabin, pack some food and alcohol, jump in your car. The beauty of this is that they really take all the work out of things, so you can ignore your phone and dig into your book (and if you forgot your book while packing, they have a couple of those in the cabin too). You can enjoy all the things that make a traditional camping trip fun, without the need to pack and plan. After two trips, both my partner and the dog have decided they want a more traditional camping experience, but I would gladly take a solo trip and get away any time.

Book a Getaway Cabin

Cabin rentals from $119/night. See availability and book online here.

 

📸 Header photo by photo by Michelle Watt, courtesy of Getaway.