2020 Camping and Glamping Trips Review


2020 has been a weird year for everyone.

My husband and I had big dreams for international travel in 2020, but as COVID-19 took off across the globe, that hope quickly disappeared. Even national travel started to seem unlikely as state restrictions increased. We soon came to the realization that we’d really have to lower the bar on any sort of “vacation” we were going to take this year.

So, in true optimistic form, we tried to look for the silver lining. Instead of a jammed packed summer like usual, most of our weekends were now free, thanks to a global pandemic. We decided that we were going to stay in Ohio and camp as much as we could. We explored everything from tent camping, to glamping, to going completely off the grid. It was the perfect time to explore Ohio’s great outdoors.

Here’s our list of all 14 places we stayed in 2020, complete with reviews, advice about booking and how to get the best prices. I’ve also included tips about how to find unique places to stay in your area.  


Strong Cabin | Madison, Ohio | Rustic Cabin

This is one of two cabins available through Lake Metroparks.

We stayed at this cabin with a group of friends the weekend before everything hit the fan with COVID. It’s weird to think about because I remember sitting around the fireplace and talking about coronavirus. We had NO idea what was going to unfold the following week.

To start off, one of my biggest pieces of advice for booking neat places is to check with local park districts in your area. Often times these organizations have inexpensive campsites and cabin rentals available. With our local park district, you get a price discount if you live in the county, but you can still book even if you don’t. This cabin through Lake Metropark ranges from $70 to $80 a night.

Things to know:

  • There is a great fishing pond right next to the cabin, but since it was March, we didn’t have much luck with catching anything. I imagine it would be awesome in the summer.
  • The cabin sleeps eight people – all in bunk beds. As a group of 20 and 30-year-olds, we found this hilarious.
  • There is running water and a bathroom, but no shower.
  • There is a full size kitchen, but we did see a mouse in there! I would describe this cabin as very rustic. It has decent amenities, but it’s still a cabin in the middle of the woods.
  • It’s located in Hodge Ridge Park and is within walking distance to some great trails.
  • Dogs are allowed at this cabin.


Getaway House Cleveland/Pittsburg | Lisbon, Ohio | Glamping

This was our second time staying at Getaway House Cleveland as we were there in November 2019. In May, my parents, husband and I rented two separate campers. We went mid-week and were able to use a referral code (more on that below). Both the code and traveling during the week saved on the price.

Things to know:

  • If you’re coming from the Cleveland area, you’ll drive about 1.5 hours to get to the site. My advice would be to book two nights, because by the time you drive all the way out there and get settled, it feels like you have to turn around and drive home. (Check-in is at 3PM, checkout is at 11AM.)
  • The sites are dog friendly, but you’ll have to pay extra.
  • The Cleveland/Pittsburg location is located near Beaver Creek State Park. You can find some pretty decent hiking trails in that area. 
  • This site is perfect for “glamping” if you’re not used to camping or don’t like roughing it, but it can be pricy. 

Tips to save money: My suggestion for Getaway is to book during the week. It’s cheaper and there’s more availability. Getaway has a phenomenal COVID cleaning policy, but unfortunately it limits what’s available. There’s also a referral discount on the website. If someone books using your code, you each get $25 off. If you have access to two email accounts, try signing up with one email and sending the referral code to the other.

I’ve also seen a few people on Instagram post Getaway House discount codes, but that would require some serious social media hunting. Getaway House comes stocked with food and firewood, but using it will cost you extra. In theory, it’s great for people who don’t feel like planning or know too much about camping. But you could easily save money by bringing your own stuff. 

Lakeshore Reservation | Perry, Ohio | Primitive Tent Camping

This tent camping site is available through Lake Metroparks. It does not include water or electric. Firewood is provided. This site is a Lake Erie lover’s dream!

Things to know:

  • The bathrooms are a .3 mile walk from the site and does not include a shower. I recommend only staying one night if that’s important to you!
  • The site is located overlooking Lake Erie, so although you can hear the waves, you cannot access the beach directly from the site.
  • We’ve seen quite a few bald eagles at this campsite, which is always very cool.
  • There are walking paths and trails surrounding the site, so depending on the leaves, this site isn’t completely private.

Tips to save and important booking information: In early May, Lake Metropark campsite registration opens up and most are available from the first weekend of May through mid-November. BUT, you have to be quick as the best weekends throughout the summer are booked within minutes. It’s $10 a night if you’re a resident of Lake County and $20 if you’re not. Compared to most state parks, this is a steal for a campsite. Combine this price point with the fact that firewood is provided and it can’t be beat!


Punderson State Park | Newbury, Ohio | Tent & RV Camping

We stayed here in early June, but I think it’s important to note that I booked this site in December! We’ve tent camped at Punderson before and have had a blast, but I really wanted to get a site along the lake. I happened to check in December and was shocked to see many of the lake sites already booked for the summer, so I didn’t hesitate.

This state park offers full RV hookups, tent sites with electric and primitive (VERY secluded) campsites. We stayed at site 23, but the real gem you want is site 21, which has a beautiful view of the lake.

Things to know:

  • If you’re new to camping, this is a great first place to start since there are plenty of shower houses and restrooms. There’s also a camp store for purchasing firewood and other random stuff you might have forgot.
  • Some sites have an electric box so you can charge your phone or Bluetooth speaker, but make sure you book one with those amenities.
  • There is plenty to do at this park including a beach for swimming, boat rental, playgrounds, hiking and lots of picnic areas.
  • Although separate from the state park, there are also cabins available at Punderson.

Important booking information: Check often and book early as the best sites fill up quickly. Also make sure you know exactly where you’re booking because some sites are no more than camping in a parking lot and others are so secluded that they can be difficult to get to (read: dragging your stuff there would be a huge pain).

Regarding prices: I’m always a little annoyed at how expensive state park camping is. It’s $28 a night, plus tax and processing fees. For a typical 2 night, weekend stay, it’s going to cost you about $65. Relatively speaking that’s nothing, but for sleeping in the woods it always seems a bit pricey to me! 🙂

Hidden Lake | Leroy, Ohio | Primitive Tent Camping

This tent camping site is available through Lake Metroparks. It does not include water or electric. Firewood is provided. All things considered – this is my favorite campsite in Northeastern, Ohio!! If you’re looking for a beautiful, somewhat private campsite, this is your spot.

Things to know:

  • You’ll want to bring some sort of wagon to help carry your stuff since it’s a long haul from the parking lot to the campsite. BUT, it’s extremely worth it because this site is gorgeous!
  • This site sits directly next to the water, giving you perfect access to fishing. We also brought kayaks and were able to launch them from the bank of the campsite.
  • There is one, wood tent pad, but multiple tents will fit in the area.
  • Walking trails surround this site and you’ll see many fishers and people walking from the other sides of the lake. Be sure to close the gate leading into the campsite, otherwise you might be surprised by people walking into your area if they don’t know the campsite is taken!

Regarding booking: This site will fill up the quickest – because I’m telling you – it’s amazing. When registration opens every year, this is the campsite I try to book first because every weekend will be booked within a matter of minutes. In the past, we’ve taken Friday off work and stayed here on a random Thursday night if we couldn’t reserve a weekend night.


Tappan Lake | Deersville, Ohio | Cabin

We stayed at this cabin with family in July. It’s about 15 minutes from Tappan Lake and comfortably fits eight people. We booked this site on Vrbo, which I had never used before, but my sister-in-law came across it and it had amazing reviews – plus it was only $89 a night!

We have family down in the area and were able meet up with them during the day at Tappan Lake and had a blast swimming and hiking.

Things to know:

  • This is pretty much a complete dead zone with wifi and cell service. We knew this going in, but even our hotspots were having difficulty connecting. You really are very secluded.
  • I ran with our dog one morning and I saw all sorts of little hideaway cabins tucked into the woods along the road. Some were nice and some weren’t more than a shack that looked like a horror movie.
  • This cabin comes fully stocked with pretty much anything you could think of and my nieces had a blast in the basement with tons of games and toys.
  • Since you are so far in the country, be careful of ticks. I pulled one off our dog one night, but thankfully he is treated and it didn’t stick.
  • The listing says “no pets” but I reached out to the host and she allowed us to bring our dog for an extra $30 for the weekend.

Resource Center Cabin | Madison, Ohio | Cabin

This is the second of two cabins available through Lake Metroparks. The first one (Strong Cabin) we stayed at in March. We stayed at this cabin near the end of July with family.

Things to know:

  • This cabin is not as rustic as the other park cabin, which appeals more to people who don’t like “roughing it.”
  • The cabin was recently updated and has a really nice bathroom with a shower.
  • All eight beds are bunk beds in two separate rooms.
  • The kitchen is very nice with a breakfast table and then there is a very big dining room table off the kitchen. There is TONS of space at this cabin.
  • There is a massive basement, which our nieces and nephews loved!
  • This cabin is in the middle of a neighborhood, but is still surrounded by trees and is secluded.
  • There is a trail off to the side of the cabin that connects to a park with a fishing pond. The weird thing was, people kept cutting across our cabin’s front yard and driveway as a short cut to the park instead of driving around to the official entrance. It was weird and annoying because the dogs would bark like crazy when they noticed a person out in the front yard walking by. We kept saying they needed to put up a sign. 
  • There are TONS of local parks in the area (plus wineries) and The Grand River is super close.
  • Dogs are allowed.

Regarding prices: You typically get a discount if you live in the county, but you can still book even if you don’t. This cabin ranges from $70 to $80 a night.


Geneva State Park | Geneva, Ohio | Tent & RV Camping

I absolutely love this area! We stayed here for the first time in 2019 and picked the most awful site imaginable. (It was no better than camping in a field next to a road.) This year, I did research to make sure we had a site that was more woodsy and private!

Staying at this park is one of my favorite summer memories because there’s so much to do. Between the beach, trails and being less than 10 minutes from Geneva-on-the-Lake – you’ll have plenty to do. Geneva-on-the-Lake is a fun little strip of bars and restaurants that feels like a boardwalk. Even with COVID, we were able to safely walk around and sit outside at a few places with our dog.

Things to know:

  • You’ll find that most people “camp” in their RVs at this park, although we did see other token tents here and there. (For the record, I don’t consider staying in an RV real camping, although many will disagree with me!)
  • There are plenty of restrooms and one shower house. There’s also a store on site.
  • You can walk or bike directly to the beach from your site (or drive). You can also walk/run on an awesome trail that runs along Lake Erie and goes directly into Geneva-on-the-Lake.
  • Dogs are allowed on a section of the beach, which is always so much fun.

Tree House Cabin & Log Cabin | Near Canton, Ohio | Glamping

We took a long weekend near the end of August for our fifth wedding anniversary. I wrote a full review of the tree house cabin and log cabin here. In general, I highly recommend both, although the tree house cabin can be pricey. I found the log cabin through Airbnb.

One of my biggest tips for finding cabins and other unique places is to filter your search to “unique stays” when using Airbnb. This will pull up cabins, campsites, barns, campers, tiny houses, farm stays and even boats that you can stay overnight in. Also check out the app Hipcamp for more neat places near you.

Regarding prices: The tree houses are super popular and some of the best ones are booked a year in advance. Try staying during the week to lower the price and for better availability. It’s also cheaper to stay here in the off-season, which is typically November to April.


Hemlock Hideaway | Madison, Ohio | Rustic Cabin

I found this site through unique stays on Airbnb. This cabin is VERY rustic, with no electricity or running water, but it’s so much fun!

This off-the-grid cabin sits on a small ravine next to The Grand River. It’s a semi challenging hike, but if you’re up for it – head down the ravine to the river where you can fish and walk around. This cabin goes for $65 a night.

Things to know:

  • You are super secluded at this site and there’s little to no cell phone service.
  • Firewood is provided, so is the bedding, a few light sources and some other random camping supplies (think: wine opener, bug spray, paper towels, etc.).
  • The cabin is wrapped in tiny LED Christmas lights, which looks very magical and cute at night.
  • There’s a composting outhouse/toilet behind the cabin, which I was a little nervous about, but it was actually completely fine and very clean! There is no shower.

Tappan Lake | Deersville, Ohio | Tent & RV Camping

This was our second visit to Tappan Lake this year since we have family down that way. I love Tappan Lake Park so much because it’s so beautiful and there’s a lot to do.

Things to know:

  • There is a ton of camping at the park, but it’s primarily RV camping. I didn’t see any other tent in our area besides us!
  • There are lots of restrooms with a brand new shower house built just last year.
  • Our site wasn’t super scenic, but we set up camp as close as we could get to the woods.
  • The beach allows dogs in one area and you can rent boats, kayaks and paddleboards.
  • There are a few hiking trails throughout the park and it was fun to explore.
  • We ended up visiting a farm not too far from the site and going horseback riding.

Regarding prices: Staying here is pretty comparable to staying at a state park, costing about $60 to tent camp for the weekend.  

Penitentiary Glen Reservation | Kirtland, Ohio | Primitive Tent Camping

This tent camping site is available through Lake Metroparks. This site does not have water or electricity, but firewood is provided.

People are always surprised when I mention camping at this park because very few people know there’s a campsite here. I love this site since it’s so private and absolutely beautiful, especially in the fall.

  • Bring a wagon or cart to carry your stuff. It’s probably .3 miles from the parking area to the site and although you can make it without, it’s just easier.
  • There are lots of hiking areas and woods to explore all around the campsite. There is a ravine to one side that’s pretty steep, but it’s not super close to the site.
  • There is a bathroom located at the actual park entrance, but it’s probably a 1.5 mile hike to it. If you stay here, it’s probably best to accept you’ll be peeing in the woods! There are no showers.


Farm Cabin | Hartville, Ohio | Rustic Cabin

This cabin was a bit pricey for me ($90 a night), but it had great reviews, looked adorable and dogs were allowed. We stayed here with my parents and there was plenty of room for four adults.

Things to know:

  • The cabin is located on a farm with lots of stuff to do. It’s a kid’s dream!
  • There’s a pond with a canoe, a swing set, a trampoline, goats, chickens, cats and dogs. There’s also a barn that guests have access to that has a basketball court, indoor swings, a rock climbing wall and lots of other games and toys.    
  • There’s no bathroom in the cabin itself, but guests have access to the bathroom in the basement of the host’s house, which was clean and easy to access.
  • There is a full bed and twin bed downstairs and then two twin beds in the loft upstairs. I stayed in the loft on a rope bed and it was AWFUL. It was so uncomfortable that I tossed and turned all night and then woke up sore the next morning!
  • Firewood is provided and there is a nice little outside area with a porch and picnic table.


Tiny Cabin | Perrysville, Ohio | Glamping

With COVID cases continuing to surge, it was the perfect Christmas to getaway. We rented this tiny A-frame cabin through Airbnb and it did not disappoint! It was about an hour and a half drive from Cleveland and it’s located within a 5-minute drive to awesome hiking trails in Mohican State Park. It snowed pretty heavily on Christmas Eve, so waking up to a winter wonderland in the woods was pretty amazing.

Things to know:

  • Dogs are allowed at the cabin (in fact, I filtered Airbnb’s search to only include places that allowed dogs).
  • The cabin was immaculate – like SUPER clean. They had a guest book where you can read about past traveler’s stays at the cabin and you can write down info about your own stay – and when I went to write down our stay I was a bit weirded out to see someone had been there the night before! But honestly you couldn’t tell. The place was spotless.
  • I would love to come back here during the summer because they had an outdoor grill and fire pit. Plus, the backdrop of the cabin was so beautiful. Being so close to great hiking would be awesome for a summer weekend getaway.

Regarding prices: This tiny cabin was a bit pricey, clocking in at $225 a night. It was very quaint with not a lot of room, but it was a nice experience. The cabin says it fits four people, but with two adults and a dog I already felt a bit crowded. I feel for this price (we stayed two nights) we could get a much bigger cabin.

Here’s to 2021!

Overall, despite how weird and negative this past year was, I feel lucky that we were able to stay at so many cool places and make these memories. It was an adventure that booked many of our weekends and it was a welcomed distraction throughout a tough year.

Onward and upwards to 2021! Here’s to more exploring. CHEERS!

Fifth Wedding Anniversary Trip Recap


My husband and I celebrated five years of marriage on August 29! (Psst, read all about our wedding here!) It seems like so long ago, but also feels like it was just yesterday. I miss that beautiful, bright, HOT summer day. Dancing with our friends and family and sipping champagne. I can picture our wedding day so vividly sometimes!

To celebrate our day, we always try to do something pretty epic for our anniversary:

  • Year 1 – we celebrated in Italy
  • Year 2 – we splurged on a nice room at The Lodge at Geneva.
  • Year 3 – we had just gotten back from an 11-day trip to Europe, so the night of our actual anniversary we went out for an amazing steak dinner.
  • Year 4 – We road tripped to New England and hit up New York state, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts. (On the day of our actual anniversary we climbed a legit mountain!)
Mount Monadnock, New Hampshire. 2019.

So with year five quickly approaching, we began to make plans. We originally talked about Utah, but as coronavirus took over, we thought another road trip down the eastern coast was in store for us. Fast forward and we made the decision to stay in Ohio since we weren’t sure about the regulations and rules around COVID.

So Ohio it would be!

We are big campers, mainly tent camping, but we love a good cabin too. We also love wine. So we decided to combine these two activities!

We opted for cabins this trip because we wanted to look presentable. (When we road tripped to New England last year we camped the majority of the time, which was amazing, but we definitely LOOKED like we had been tent camping for five days straight, LOL.)

Night 1 | Mohican Tree House Cabin

I’ve had my eye on a tree house cabin in this area for a while now. Granted, they’re PRICEY, but they’re also amazing. They also tend to fill up very quickly and almost every weekend is booked months (maybe even a year) in advance. I opted to put us there on a Thursday night leading into a long weekend. It was also slightly less expensive and offered more availability.

There are six or seven tree house cabins on the property along with a couple cabins. I picked one of the cheaper tree house cabins and hoped for the best.

Luckily, I picked right!

We laughed because our tree house was called “Little Brew Haus” and it was pretty ironic because my husband and I actually met at a bar called Brew House back in 2011. (I didn’t even know the name of the tree house, so it was even funnier once we got there and saw it.)

We were easily the most secluded site on the property, which we preferred. The cabin was clean and included a lofted queen size bed, couch, TV, kitchen with mini fridge, two burners, coffee maker and place settings. It also had a large rope bridge and wrap around deck with outdoor seating (where we spent all of our time).

The cabin had an outdoor shower for warm weather, which we were able to use since it was late August. I was a little nervous to shower outside, but we laughed that it was weirdly invigorating to be surrounded by woods while you’re showering.

We made tacos and had margaritas out on the deck and danced and listened to music for hours. The cabin was wrapped in hundreds of LED Christmas lights, which made for a pretty magical atmosphere, especially because we were among the canopy of the trees and there wasn’t a soul in sight.

The tree house also had an adorable swing underneath it and room for a campfire, although we didn’t make one because they didn’t provide the firewood and we didn’t want to haul it from home.

I wanted to see a couple of the other tree house sites so we walked around a little after dinner. (We may or may not have enjoyed an adult beverage as we walked.)

The other tree houses were amazing to see. Some could fit six or more people and were much larger and more impressive in terms of size and design. I would have loved to explore every single one! 

Night 2 | Log Cabin Near Gervasi Winery  

We had to be out of the tree house by 11 a.m. the next morning, so we woke up early for a quick work out and run around the property. We made breakfast and drank coffee among the tress and then packed it all up and headed out.

We drove to Pleasant Hill Marina (about 20 minutes from the tree house cabin) and rented paddleboards for a couple of hours. The lake was beautiful and calm and we had a blast just floating around, waving at all of the boats around us. We drove around the park and saw a few really nice cabins, which we promptly added to our 2021 trip list!

After paddle boarding we drove to the Hartville Flea Market, which was a bit disappointing. By the time we got there it was pouring, which was OK by us since we didn’t have any outdoor plans. Shortly after we headed to our log cabin where we’d be staying the next two nights.

A few minutes after we arrived our host met us and gave us a run-down of the place, which was very nice, but kind of unnecessary. We’ve used AirBNB quite a bit and I’ve never had a host physically meet us and walk us around. (He even explained the light switches to us, which I found slightly annoying, but he was very, very nice…but still, it was kinda like, uhh COVID?)  

By this time it was Friday night and very dark and rainy out – but all was good in our world! We cranked up the music, poured some wine and started to make homemade pizza from scratch, including the sauce! We made a flatbread and a deep dish pizza in a cast iron skillet. We topped the pizzas with homegrown veggies and enjoyed it while the rain sloshed against the windows and roof. It was a perfect evening.

Night 3 | Log Cabin Near Gervasi Winery (Again)

Another early morning workout for me on Saturday, which was the day of our actual anniversary. We drank coffee and ate breakfast out in the backyard and exchanged presents. Every year we try to follow the anniversary gift rules, you know: first anniversary paper, third anniversary leather…

For five years, the theme was “wood.” We laughed as we exchanged gifts. Me gifting him a wooden wall bottle opener with our last name and he gave me a wooden charcuterie board transcribed with a message and the date. It was…perfect. *Cue eye rolling, I know*

We were really excited for this day because not only was it our actual anniversary, but we had a tour and dinner scheduled at a popular local winery, Gervasi. Our cabin was 2 miles from the winery, so a quick, $7 Uber got us there easily. 

We ended up being the only people in our tour, so it lasted longer than usual, probably because we made friends with the gal and spent a good chunk of time chitchatting. After the tour, we walked around a bit more and stopped at two other places on the property to get appetizers and more drinks.

Our dinner reservation was at 6:15 p.m. at The Bistro, so we played bocce ball (that game is very easy and weirdly fun!) for a little while. We made friends with people around us and laughed, drank wine and took pictures. There was also a wedding happening and we tried to get as close as we could to tell them they had picked a GREAT wedding date 🙂

When it was finally time for our reservation I was a bit nervous. We had not eaten indoors at a restaurant since March. It took a little bit to forget that our waitress had on a face mask, but we didn’t. (Hello, guilt.)

BUT…the Bistro at Gervasi was outstanding! The reviews lived up to everything people said. 

Overall it was an amazing long weekend, which was needed in this crazy world right now. As usual, we crammed lots of activities in during a short amount of time. We always joke that we are great travelers because we think of everything (for the most part) and are very efficient in how we travel.  (We’re notoriously fast museum visitors, FYI.)  

We’re already missing our cabins and hoping for better news and a better state of the world for next year on our sixth wedding anniversary trip! (P.S. the gift theme for six is candy or iron!)

Our Mini Retreat to Getaway House


You’ve seen the Instagram ads.

Cozy couples posing in front of a giant window, surrounded by trees. Friends laughing and snuggled together around a bonfire. A tiny cabin, nestled in the forest with an inspirational quote about disconnecting…

We’re talking about Getaway House – the new, tiny cabin camping destination of millennials.

We wondered, was this place as Instagram worthy as advertised or was it a scam? Would we be isolated in a tiny field without wifi or cell service? Would we be sitting ducks just waiting for a killer to come for us??

Well, you can breathe a sigh of relief because we did live to tell about it.

Overall we were pleasantly surprised by how fantastic, accommodating and neat the entire experience was! Read on to get the details about what Getaway House is all about.

The venue and campsite

Hubby and I escaped to Getaway House for a night in November. The closest site to us was in Lisbon, Ohio. (About an hour and 30 minutes outside of Cleveland.) We headed out on a Sunday night because we had Monday off work.

Getaway House is extremely easy to contact and their response time is quick. As soon as you book they will send you a confirmation text and encourage you to reach out with any additional questions.

The day before our reservation I texted the number because I had a question about what type of coffee to bring. I received a reply back within a few minutes. (FYI: pack instant coffee if you’re bringing your own, or you can pay and use the stuff they provide in your cabin.)

The closer we got to the venue the more I was expecting to lose cell service, but we pulled right onto the site with perfect reception. We didn’t stop to double check, but it looked like there were a few buildings at the front of the site where people were working, maybe cleaning or administrative staff . There might have been a small store there too and I bet someone stayed the night in one of those buildings. Either way, we felt safe and like there was somewhere we could go if need be.

We drove around the site to get our bearings and were surprised to see that there were close to 20 other tiny cabins. They were pretty decently spaced out, with either trees or mounds of landscaping between cabins.

A couple hours before you check-in, Getaway House texts you the name of the cabin you’ll be staying in along with a map of the venue and a code to unlock the door. We were staying in “Bennie” and found it easily. (Cue singing *Bennie and the jets* all night long.)

We had neighbors on both sides of us, but everyone waved and was friendly.

Check-in was at 3 p.m. and checkout the following morning was at 11 a.m.

(To help maximize our time we arrived at 3:15 a.m.  and seriously didn’t close the door to leave our cabin until 10:58 a.m. the next morning!)

I would say that the timing of check-in/checkout is one bummer of Getaway House. I wish we could have checked in earlier in the day – like noon or 1 p.m. Also because it gets dark around 4:30 in the evenings now, we didn’t have much daylight to explore once we got there.  

Still, when we opened the cabin with our key code, we were greeted with a handwritten note from the staff, a folder of information (including hiking trails) and even a little s’mores kit! It was so cute and we were excited because the cabin was really cool.

We unloaded a few bags and put the food we brought in the small refrigerator in the cabin. Then we took a quick hike on a trail that ran down into a valley that our cabin happened to overlook. There was a river and also a pound and we saw a few people walking with their dogs on the trail. Everyone was friendly.

When it started to get dark we headed back to our cabin and began to make a bonfire. Hubby started boiling some water for pasta and I cozied up with a glass of wine and turned on the cabin radio. We found an amazing classic rock station and danced, sang and drank for the next several hours. It was chilly out, but the bonfire helped keep us warm and I took a plaid blanket from the bed outside to cover up.

The tiny cabin itself

The cabin provided a lot of great accommodations, including pasta, pasta sauce, oatmeal, tea, coffee, beef jerky, Swedish fish, fire starters and firewood.

And since we brought our dog, they had set out two bowls, waste bags and a little baggie of s’more flavored dog treats – a cute touch! There was also a garbage can inside and a picnic table and two Adirondack chairs outside.

The only thing we ended up using was a bundle of firewood. (Once you checkout Getaway House takes a tally of what you used during your stay and charges your credit card on file. There was also a price list in the cabin for reference. The next day after we checked out I saw a charge for $6.50 – the price of the firewood.)

The cabin was tiny, but it was rustic and adorable. Of course I went in expecting it to be small, but the minute my husband, myself AND the dog were all inside I started to feel like we were running out of space.

I’m not sure if the 4-person (double bed) cabins are any bigger in terms of space and I’m not sure I’d like to find out! If I felt cramped in the 2-person cabin, I couldn’t imagine 4 adults and additional dogs being in there. There would be no privacy whatsoever if you had 4 adults. Plus the bathroom is standing room only for one person. I just think it would be VERY crowded.

The bed next to the giant window was one of the best parts of the cabin. I loved lying there drinking coffee the next morning and taking pictures. You can also draw the blinds at night, which we did.

The tiny cabin is equipped with a tiny kitchenette, including: a fridge, two burner stove, tea kettle, sink,  cabinets that house plates, silver wear, cups, a pot, pan and the food for sale.

There’s a radio, a phone to make emergency calls (even though we had cell service the entire time) and 6 or 7 interesting little books. Getaway House also provides bath towels, hand soap, shampoo and conditioner.

The good thing is, if you truly don’t want to worry about a thing on your mini trip, Getaway House provides most of your accommodations. (Even random stuff such as a lighter to start the fire, olive oil, coffee mugs and paper towels.)

We had a little trouble with the heat at first, but eventually it kicked on and the tiny little cabin warmed up rather nicely. (It also has AC for when it’s hot outside.)

Personally I’d love to go back during the winter, maybe in February because I think it would be beautiful in the snow. I’d also like to visit for a a long weekend in the summer.

How much does Getaway House cost?

I was a little disappointed because the day before our reservation I found two coupons – one for 15% off and another for $25 off. I debated calling Getaway House and asking if they would honor the discount after I had already booked, but time got away from me and I never ended up doing it.

Pro tip: Google or search on Instagram for discount codes. Some social media influencers will even post their own Getaway House discount code. 

Over all, Getaway House is pretty comparable to a hotel in terms of pricing.

From what I saw in the Cleveland market (and in the off-season: October, November, December), prices ranged from $119 to $199 a night.

Adding your dog to the mix will cost you an additional $40 and I believe there was some sort of cleaning fee (maybe $30 or $40) tacked on too.

In the end, our one night stay at Getaway House for two adults and one dog costs us $236.

It’s a bit pricey for our family in terms of camping because we’re already big campers to begin with. We often camp 30 minutes from our house for about $20 a night, oppose to driving over an hour away and paying over $200. Still, it was a great experience and worth checking out at least once.

In the end, Getaway House is as Instagram worthy as it looks. You’re safe and not isolated alone in the woods and you’re well taken care. It’s a glamping dream!

London, Paris & Greece 2018 Review


We made it! We traveled to London, Paris, Greece and back. It only took 5,000 miles, 7 flights, 1 train and 1 unplanned bus ride later.

{Also it has been over four months since our trip if I am being completely transparent!!}

The funny thing about traveling though is that it makes you feel like the world is so big, yet so small at the exact same time. You know that your work, your friends and your life are all still going on back home, yet you are suddenly mesmerized with the glimpse of other people’s “normal”. It’s a weird feeling.

Traveling opens your heart and soul to possibilities. Every time I think of our trip I think of a F. Scott Fitzgerald quote from The Great Gatsby (one of my all-time favorite books and movies)…

There is this big, giant world out there. How sad it would be to never see it or experience it. There are so many facets of life. Cities, people, careers and paths. I was enchanted and yet repelled (by how lucky I am) about how much variety there is in life. It’s incredible and daunting to think about! You can literally do anything, be anyone or live anywhere.

But enough about soul searching. I think it happens to everyone when you travel for 2+ weeks! (And I image it’s even crazier when you actually live overseas for a period of time.) Here’s a first hand look at our journey to London, Paris, Greece and then back to little ‘ole Cleveland, Ohio…

Tuesday, July 31 — Journey to London 
We flew out from Cleveland on Icelandic Air. It was six hours to Iceland with a 2 hour layover and then another three hours to land at Heathrow in London (the busiest airport in the world). My husband and I flew out with my parents and my brother was meeting us in London. Our flight was basically our “overnight” so we tried to sleep as much as possible because when we landed it would be Wednesday morning in London. Our layover in Iceland was short and uneventful — which is a good type of layover to have!

I thought both of these pictures over Iceland were particularly cool, especially because the first one has the full moon. It blew my mind to think it was the same moon that I had run under during the Burning River Relay just two nights before — and now the same moon was over Iceland where we were about to land. Not long after the moon picture the sun was up. (I guess the sun is up full time in Iceland during that time of year!)

Wednesday, August 1 — London, England
Once we landed in London and met up with my brother we took the “tube” into the city. We rode the subway the majority of time while in London. This saved us a great deal of time because we were only there for about 28 hours. However when we left I kind of felt like we didn’t really “see” a great deal of London just because we weren’t driving around. The tube was probably the most time efficient though. “Mind the Gap” became a typical expression in our little traveling clan.

My brother greeting us in London.

Once we checked into our hotel we quickly showered, changed and were back out the door. We stayed at this little hotel/apartment within a mile or so of Buckingham Palace. The place was questionable, but it fit all five of us and it was close to most of the things we wanted to see. Plus we were there only to sleep so it would do!

This was the street our hotel/apartment was on. Cute and quiet yet super close to most of the big attractions.

We started out toward Buckingham Palace. We walked past a few cute tea shops and saw The Royal Mews, also know as the royal stables where all of the royal horses live. I couldn’t believe we were there! Then suddenly we were in front of Buckingham Palace and it was surreal! I couldn’t believe all of the history and that Harry and Meghan’s wedding had filled these streets only a few months before. I tried to imagine what it was like at the exact same spot during the weddings of Charles and Diana and William and Kate. (I may or may not have been freaking out.)

We continued walking around and strolled through St. James Park. We didn’t really know where we were walking to, but we were a little tired and hungry so our main goal was to find a “pub”. We ended up walking past Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and The London Eye. Almost everything was in full scaffolding though and we laughed at our timing and luck. Of course!

After walking a little off the beaten path we finally found a pub that we liked. By then it was after 5PM and it was cool to see people meeting for happy hour after work. I kept wondering if any of the people were marketing professionals! For dinner everyone (besides me) had the traditional fish and chips while I got a veggie burger. (I just can’t get down with fried fish!) The group was fading a little bit from jet lag but we were determined to tough it out since our time in London was so limited.

We walked around for the next several hours and grabbed drinks on the street (since there aren’t open container laws there!!) It was really neat to leisurely walk along the water and people watch.

We strolled on the true “London Bridge” which isn’t very exciting FYI, plus it wasn’t falling down 🙂 We walked across Tower Bridge and then walked the outside of The Tower of London. (Note: it took me a couple tries to understand the difference between all three of these sites!) Tower Bridge was built in 1066!! We enjoyed reading all the plaques along the outer side and I wish we would have had time to go inside. London has a deep (and kind of dark) history. I couldn’t believe all of the events that had taken place right where we were standing.

Once it was dark out we made our way back to our hotel and as soon as we were there everyone started crashing. I laid down and closed my eyes briefly, only to be woken up by my brother demanding I wake up. We discussed going to Piccadilly Circus, but the jet lag was too much for everyone. I guess Piccadilly Circus is like the Time’s Square of London. I’ve been to Time’s Square before and it was a bit overwhelming, so I wasn’t too upset we missed it in London.

Thursday, August 2 — Rest of London & Traveling to Paris
We woke up on Thursday knowing we had until about 5PM to see the rest of London. We were out the door by 9AM and stopped at a cute little cafe for breakfast. Our Buckingham Palace Tour was at 10:30AM.

Outside of an adorable cafe in London.

After chasing down our tour (that we still somehow managed to be late for), we saw the changing of the guards. That ceremony was long and hot, but still interesting. Then we walked the gardens of Buckingham Palace and heard about the rich history of the Royal Family (who have lived at BP since 1837!!).

Next it was our turn to officially enter the BP. Tours are only held when the Queen is away and she happened to be away on summer holiday when we were there. BP flies a specific flag when she is home so people know. I was like a giddy school girl as we waited in line and walked through security. It was a self guided audio tour, so we just walked around silently with headphones listening to the audio clips.

Last picture I got before I was asked to put my phone away. Royal family pictures in the hall!!

THE TOUR WAS SO COOL!!! But pictures weren’t allowed 😦

I kept reacting to the audio tour only to realize I was screaming I was so excited. My husband kept “shhhh-ing” me. I was pretty excited to say the least. We got to go into 16 rooms. The Palace is immaculate with crown modeling and renaissance paintings and decor. Everything was gold and red and OLD…but beautiful. We exited the tour into more royal gardens and of course had to go to the gift shop. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted a souvenir more than I did at BP. Unfortunately I thought everything was too overpriced or too tacky. I found the royal wedding souvenirs to be super entertaining!

After we were done with Buckingham Palace we walked around some more. I knew Cleveland Clinic London was close by so we swung by and visited the site. Then finally I convinced our group to have lunch at this adorable little tea room. We had tea (even though it was 90 degrees out), prosecco, sandwiches, scones and dessert. It might have been my favorite meal of our entire trip just because it was so very London.

After lunch we headed out towards St. Paul’s Cathedral, where Prince Charles and Princess Diana got married.

Finally we made our way back to the hotel where we stored our bags for the day. After we picked up our bags we got back on the tube and arrived at the train station to take the chunnel (aka Euro Star) to Paris. This train goes 186 miles per hour and is super smooth. It was a two hour ride with stunning views of the french country side as we bolted towards Paris.

When we arrived in Paris is was after midnight and we were very tired. Little did we know we would soon encounter an unfortunate event…

The husband and I told our group we were heading to the bathroom and asked if they could watch our bags. We went to the bathroom (after laughing because you had to pay a euro to use it) and walked back over to where our bags were when we were done. Within seconds we realized that my husband’s book bag was gone!! THANKFULLY his wallet, passport and cell phone were all in his pocket, but that was just a consolation prize in feeling very violated and being taken for granted 😦

It was a miscommunication between our group trying to coordinate additional train tickets to get to our hotel. But it was still very frustrating. It couldn’t have been more than a few seconds for the bag to disappear, which makes us think that someone had been following us or watching us. The scary thing was it was an international train station so anyone could walk in and walk out without security or even having a ticket. It was probably someone looking for the right moment — and we sure gave it to them. Afterwards we tried to report it stolen with the police, but it was very late and the language barrier was tough.

The last picture of my husband’s book bag! This was leaving London.

With heavy hearts we got on another train and made our way deeper into Paris. When we got off that train we walked another few blocks to our hotel. But I couldn’t shake the feeling of being taken advantage of because we were tourists. We went to bed upset that night and hoped to wake up with a lighter attitude.

Friday, August 3 — Paris Day 1
We woke up on Friday morning determined to give Paris another chance. The sun was shining and it was going to be 90 that day. We had our first Parisian breakfast with ALL THE CARBS (baguette, bread, croissant!) After that we made our way over to the bus tours and purchased the hop-on-hop off 2-day pass. We planned to see the Eiffel Tower first. We sat up on top of the double decker bus and I loved cruising the streets of Paris in the warm sun. The first glimpse I saw of the Eiffel Tower made me tear up — I couldn’t believe we were finally there and I felt so lucky!!

We stood in line waiting for tickets for about five minutes — until we realized the tickets for taking the stairs oppose to the elevator was a fraction of the wait time. So up we climbed! 1,710 steps! In 90 degree heat. In the sun. Me in a dress.

But it was a glorious day and the tower was everything I imagined it to be.

After spending several hot hours at the ET, we rode the bus back to where our hotel was, which was super close to Notre Dome. We realized the line to get in was going super fast so we jumped in and were inside in less than five minutes!

Besides being very dark inside, I thought the church looked similar to many of the Italian churches we had visited in Florence. Of course the child in me kept thinking about Disney’s Hunch Back of Notre Dome.

On the walk back to our hotel we stopped in a few cafes and stopped to get wine and snacks. We spent the next few hours sitting out on the hotel balcony relaxing. Later that night my husband, brother and I went out to dinner around 11PM. Because when in Paris why not?? We randomly just walked until we found a place we wanted to stop at. It was so fun being out late in the middle of Paris. We drank wine and tried escargot!

Saturday, August  4 — Second Day in Paris
After another Parisian, carb-filled breakfast we headed off to explore Montmarte. It was another hot sunny day and we were glad to take the bus instead of walking.

The climb up to Montmarte includes 300 steps, so when we made our way to the top, we were sweating just like when we climbed the Eiffel Tower. It was such a cute and neat little place though. We walked through the church at the top (The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris) and then proceeded to walk through the little streets of the town. We stopped to shop and eat. I even tried a true Parisian crepe!

We got back to our hotel in the late afternoon and had time to shower and then get re-ready to go back out. We wanted to go to a nice dinner and see the Eiffel Tower at night. We rode the bus out again and strolled along The Avenue des Champs-Elysees. (One of the most famous and rich streets in the world!) We walked a bit to get away from the super touristy area and settled on a nice little restaurant on a corner street. It happened to be right next to the tunnel where Princess Diana was killed (the Pont de I’Alma.) Afterwards we visited the site of the crash and it was very strange and sad. I love the royal family, especially stories of Princess Diana.

We made our way over to a bridge with a picturesque view of the Eiffel Tower. We bought a bottle of champagne from a street vendor and waited until the ET was lit up. It was a magical and incredible night!

Sunday, August 5 — Final Day in Paris & Traveling to Greece
On our last day in Paris, we knew we had to go to The Louvre. But not before we had more carbs for breakfast!

We were able to walk to the famous museum and it was only in the 80s that day. We checked out of our hotel and left our bags with the front desk.

After a 20-minute wait we were inside the museum, which I didn’t think was overly crowded like I expected it to be — probably because it’s so massive inside!

When we were done at the museum we got our bags from the hotel and took the train to Charles de Gaulle Airport. I was a little sad to be leaving Paris as it had grown on me despite our first night, but I was also excited to explore Greece. After five days of going non-stop it would be nice to relax a little on a beach, but not before we saw Athens.

We boarded our plane in Paris and landed in Athens around 11:30PM. We had to split up taking a taxi so my husband and I went in one car and my parents and brother in another. We learned a valuable lesson that night — to make sure you negotiate the cost of the drive before getting in a cab! Because a $60 ride was suddenly upped to $75 after a shady cab driver explained he charged for bags and that he took the freeway which was extra! (Seriously?!)

We stayed at Hotel Apollo, which seemed to be in a sketchy area in Athens, but the service and people working were excellent and more than made up for it.

Monday, August 6 — Athens Part 1
We woke up early on our first morning in Greece knowing it was going to be a long, hot day of sightseeing. We were able to see the Acropolis, which housed the Parthenon and the temple of Athena. The Acropolis area is HUGE and a pretty vigorous hike. Mix this with 90 degree heat, no shade and lots of crowds and you’re gonna need to take it nice and slow. After the Acropolis our traveling clan found a nice little restaurant and had authentic gyros — which were pretty incredible. The rest of the group wanted to stay and walk around this cute little downtown area, so the husband and I opted to walk another 3 miles and visited Hadrian’s Arch.

After we exhausted ourselves walking around Athens all day, it was time to make our way back to Hotel Apollo where we stored our suitcases for the day. We were concerned with getting ripped off on a cab ride again so we asked the front desk for assistance. They were THE nicest people! They called around and got us a great deal on a van to the airport and negotiated the price for us (without a weird mysterious up charge for bags and freeway driving!!) The hotel may not be in the best area of Athens, but they were incredibly friendly and helpful. I’m happy to support an honest business like that.

From the Athens airport, we took a 40-minute plane ride to Santorini — a beautiful Greek island known for honeymoons. Another van was waiting to pick us up (since the other half of our large group was already there) and it drove us to our AirBnB. We were staying in a traditional Greek hillside vila — which was legit carved out of the rocky hillside. The villa had no glass windows or AC, but was still very cool inside since it was made out of rock. The villa was set off quite a bit from the road and it was very dark out when we arrived. We had to walk a long cobblestone path and even through a wine field (not even kidding), but we finally made it! We were diffidently not in a super touristy area and were surrounded by locals — except for the group of Australians vacationing in the villa next to us!

Entrance to our villa!

A few people from our larger group came over to greet us that night when we got settled, but since it was pretty late no one stayed long and we all quickly turned in for the night.

Tuesday, August 7
We slept in a little this morning, which felt SO nice because we had been going non-stop before we got to Santorini. The AirBnB stocked our fridge so we made coffee and eggs and sat out on our patio for breakfast.

After breakfast we walked a little over a mile to our group’s other AirBnB. Their view was incredible, overlooking the bright blue waters of the Aegean Sea. We had a pretty low key day — day drinking in the sun and jumping in and out of the “cooling” tub on the back patio. Everyone along the coast had these tubs because it was 95 degrees out!

We walked to lunch, took a few naps and ended up going out for drinks in downtown Santorini (also called Oia) later that night. My brother and his partner went out separately for dinner and around 10PM I got a text that they had gotten engaged at dinner! What an awesome proposal! We met up with them and drank champagne as we walked back to the AirBnB. The night was warm and it was an amazing first day in Santorini.

Wednesday, August 8
Another morning of sleeping in felt good and once again we made breakfast at our AirBnB. (This was actually such a fantastic idea and it saved us a lot of money!)

We rented ATVs with the group and spent the day cruising around the island. We stopped for lunch at a random little gyro place, which was delicious. We drove to the beach and got in the water. We stopped at the oldest winery in Santorini and took a tour and did a tasting.

After the ATV tour we showered and went back to our group’s other AirBnB. We then had THE MOST incredible meal I think I’v ever had. Six courses prepared by a private chef on the patio overlooking the sea. It was such a fun dinner. We drank a lot and laughed even more. After dinner we convinced the chef to meet us out in downtown Oia to show us the nightlife of the island. We met him out and had the best time dancing the night away at a tiny (but packed) dance club in Santorini. It was my favorite day/night of the entire trip. We met so many great people and I remember dancing with and hugging an awesome couple from London. What an amazing experience.

Thursday, August 9
I was really looking forward to this day because we had planned a private boat and snorkeling cruise. This was also my husband and I’s last day before we started heading back early to attend a friend’s wedding. (The rest of the group would be continuing on to Mykonos.)

We spent the day sailing, tanning, napping, snorkeling, drinking and having an all around great time! We were also served a traditional Greek dinner while we watched the sunset. It as an amazing last day on our Greek island.

Friday, August 10
My husband and I got picked up around 5AM from our AirBnB in Santorini. Our flight back to Athens was super bright and early. We arrived in Athens around 8AM and took a cab to our hotel. We stayed at the Athens Holiday Inn and the staff was very friendly and accommodating. We were obviously way early for our 3PM check-in, but they worked hard to get us in our room by 10AM! We were very tired and relieved, so we took a two hour nap. When we woke up we were refreshed and ready to explore for a few more hours before making the trek back home. The wonderful front desk staff explained that we could catch the public bus right outside our hotel. We were a little intimidated since this was our first time trying to go somewhere by ourselves in a foreign country, but we laughed our way through it.

We rode the bus to Syntagma Square and spent a few hours walking around, eating and drinking. We stopped and strolled through the national gardens and saw the Panathenaic Stadium, which was built in the 6th century!! (Our minds were blown.) After our day we rode the bus back to our hotel and packed up everything in preparation for another early flight the next morning.

Saturday, August 11
Early that morning we arrived at the Athens airport and everything appeared to be going as planned. We were flying on Turkish Airlines and had a layover in Istanbul. It was only once we were in Turkey, trying to navigate a completely foreign airport, did we realize our flight to Chicago was delayed by over three hours — making us miss our connection from Chicago to Cleveland 😦

Now we had a terrible experience flying back from Italy two summers ago that involved the Chicago O’Hare airport. So this was just not ironic that we’d have issues around that airport again. In fact, we had joked about this happening a few times on our trip, so when it did actually happen we lost it laughing. But our laughter didn’t last long because Turkey Airlines did NOTHING to help us. We sat at the service counter for two hours trying to explain that we would miss our connecting flight and that we needed to get booked on something else. Finally they claimed their printer was broken and they couldn’t print us any boarding passes and we’d have to deal with it in O’Hare. I think they just couldn’t understand our issue, which was so frustrating and honestly kind of scary. We felt like no one really cared about us not being able to get home…

Finally we boarded the plane in Turkey. (After having to pass through the typical airport security and then again in the terminal. It was actually pretty nerve wracking thinking they were doing all this to protect us, but only because the threat was there.)

We needed alcohol ASAP once we finally boarded the plane in Turkey.

Once we landed in Chicago, we had to relive another nightmare of going through customs and running through the airport — only to be told we missed our flight!! The people working customs were ZERO help. We knew there was a plane leaving Chicago for Cleveland in 35 minutes when we landed, yet the airport workers would not move us to the front of the line. Instead we waited almost two hours and missed the last connecting flight to Cleveland for the day!

Fast forward to us trying to sprint to find an open front desk halfway across the airport, only to have to turn around and go back to customs where the only desk open was closing in 20 minutes. We were then told we would have to stay overnight and they could put us on the next flight — at 8PM the next night. Meaning we would have missed the entire wedding that we had left our trip early for. At one point I cried at the front desk (it still didn’t help our case though). The workers were rude, mean and did little to even sympathize with us. I don’t think one person even apologized! We ended up staying the night in Chicago and bought bus tickets to leave the next morning. (So we went from a 40 minute flight to a six hour bus ride that we had to spend extra money on.) We missed our friend’s wedding ceremony, but made it back for the reception, thankfully.

Having a solid and humorous marriage was crucial to those 36 hours we fought to get home! When I was down and crying, my husband would be the positive one saying it was going to be OK and vice versa when he was the one upset. We look back on the whole situation and just laugh at this point!

Who wants to bet us that the next time we travel to Europe, the third time will be the charm and we won’t have issues getting home? 🙂

Still our traveling troubles didn’t spoil the trip! It was an incredible two week adventure. We were lucky to visit three different countries with our family and make awesome memories. We are blessed!

Finally made it home to our friend’s wedding!