How would you like to drive to a tiny, pared-down wooden cabin in the middle of the woods and immediately lock away your cellphone?
Turns out, many people would embrace the chance. Local start-up Getaway offers year-round rentable 160-square-foot cabins within two hours of major cities that are designed to help guests escape, unplug, and unwind. Getaway founder and CEO Jon Staff, who started the business with fellow Harvard graduate Pete Davis in 2015, said the tiny houses have been almost 100-percent occupied since the company launched, and that he has a steady waiting list.
“People are much hungrier than I thought they were for a place where you can just slow down, stop doing stuff, and be bored,” Staff said. “As soon as we roll out a new tiny house, it fills up.”
The company began with three tiny houses in Southern New Hampshire, where it sends Boston-area customers. By 2017, Getaway had 46 houses total in the Boston, New York City, and Washington, D.C. areas. Last month, Getaway announced that it will build 21 more tiny houses in Southern New Hampshire before 2018, for a total of 35 in New Hampshire and 67 nationwide, Staff said.
Just don’t ask him exactly where they’re located.
“We do this weird thing and tell you where it is after you book, to preserve the sense of spontaneity,” Staff said.
The company reveals where guests are headed a week before their trip, which makes it harder — by design — to research outings and activities.
“The first thing we’re trying to get folks to do is quit working,” Staff said. “The second thing we’re trying to get folks to do is disconnect. And the third thing we’re trying to get folks to do is quit planning your time off minute-by-minute.”
The cabins are not equipped with WiFi. In fact, guests literally are encouraged to lock up their cellphones in a box. (Each cabin is equipped with a landline in case of an emergency.)
“We’re all kind of sick of being connected all the time,” said Staff. “The most honest of our guests will say, ‘I really struggled for the first couple of hours, feeling a little bit of anxiety about my phone.’ Then they’ll say, ‘This feeling washed over me that I haven’t felt in years.'”
The cabins have queen-size beds, linens, bathrooms with a toilet and a shower, kitchenettes with a refrigerator, a stove top, and kitchenware, wireless speakers, and heat and electricity. Guests won’t find amenities like a pool or spa, but they will spot a fire pit, firewood, and ingredients to make s’mores.
For those who don’t want the hassle of grocery shopping, Getaway will stock the kitchen with basic foods like almond milk, pasta, coffee, tea, popcorn, and trail mix, Staff said. The customer is billed a la carte for the items.
Guests can rent a two-person cabin for $125 a night or a four-person cabin for $150 a night. Dogs are welcome, too, for a $25 added fee.