Can Getaways Help Urban Families Make More Time For Each Other?

fresh off the boat
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Here’s what kids learn about Henry David Thoreau: In 1845, he unplugged from his daily grind to commune with nature in solitude. Moving into a cabin in Concord, Massachusetts in pursuit of a simpler life, he wrote, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.” Here’s what they don’t learn: Walden Pond is an hour away from Thoreau’s townhouse — if you jog a little —and that land, now covered in trees, was open farmland. Basically, he was hanging out in a neighbor’s backyard. But it was still a powerful gesture and an important moment in literary history. Getting away mattered even though the getaway itself was a small thing.

Despite the radical proliferation of technology in the century and a half since Thoreau wrote those words, it’s never been easier to get out of town for a bit of deliberate living. And it’s getting easier. A company called Getaway has been quietly creating Walden-like escapes outside of New York City or Boston. These small homes are built in part for families and entirely for quality time. They’ve made it possible to pull a Thoreau with minimal planning.

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flickr / Justin Schuck

“About 75 percent of what we love about a vacation is that we’re not at work and we’re with the people we love,” says Getaway founder Pete Davis. “So we decided to make something that was centered on bringing that into the simplest setting, which is nature.”

Davis describes the Getaway experience as being in line with camping, minus a lot of camping’s pain points. You’re embedded in nature, but there are no tents or sleeping bags. Instead, there are beds and a refrigerator. There’s no wi-fi, but there…

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