Travel Journal: Winter Getaway to Shenandoah

emily-belson-photography-getaway-house-shenandoah-01.jpg

Last fall, in the midst of the loss of my brother, I was looking for a place where Patrick and I could go for a night. A little trip to look forward to. A little retreat. I ended up booking a night at Getaway House outside of Shenandoah National Park (you’ve probably seen their ads on Instagram).

My sister Carla had the same idea and decided to book a weekend at the same place for her and her boyfriend Max. We didn’t talk about when we were going or much about it at all, other than we were both going to give the trips to the boys as gifts for Christmas. The week before Christmas came and we were printing our confirmation emails to put beneath the tree…

Hilariously, we had booked the same week in February. I couldn’t believe it. We actually planned to do something separately and end up overlapping our stays! Pat and I arrived Thursday and left Friday, they arrived Friday and left Sunday.

It worked out great because I was able to send them recommendations for their visit. We stopped at nearby Early Mountain Winery Thursday evening and ventured to Charlottesville on Friday when we found out Shenandoah was closed for hiking due to downed trees. We spent most of our afternoon and night in the tiny cabin reading, snacking on Girl Scout cookies, and relaxing. My favorite part was they ask you to put your phone in their “cellphone lockbox” for the duration of your stay. It was a great reminder to take a break from our constant connectedness (though I would recommend bringing a watch if you rely on your phone for the time, ha!). We ended up going to sleep really early and came home feeling very calm. It’s amazing how little it takes to shift your mindset. I think this is why I love yoga and meditation so much. Because even five deep breaths can slow down my monkey mind. Getaway House was a lot more than five breaths.

If you’re looking for a retreat, I highly recommend checking it out. We will definitely go back again this year :)