It’s been great to finally lick each other’s foreheads again thanks to COVID-19 vaccines, but curbing the surging Omicron variant means we’re shifting the ways we socialize and travel over the coming weeks and months. Would we would love to dog pile in a Las Vegas hotel room and do poppers at The Chocolate Lounge? Of course. But right now, our ideal vacation is one far away from the hustle and bustle of big crowds, and communal pleather body harnesses.
Maybe you’re planning an intimate weekend getaway with your boo for Valentine’s Day, or bringing together the ‘rona-tested friend crew to enjoy some time away from TVs and tablets at a cabin in the woods. Maybe you have a hankering to find a mid-century house in the desert and stargaze in an ochre turtleneck, or hole-up in a French troglodyte cave dwelling that’s been outfitted for 2022 comfort. Your money can go far, and a lot of different ways, when you travel to (relative) middle-of-nowhere stays.
We suggest getting creative and gathering up the vaxxed buds to chill in a cabin on the East Coast, and finally learn to whittle. Go to a Southern treehouse and throw Swarovski crystals at unsuspecting humans (not that there will be many). Get some fresh KN95s, and choose your own adventure.
God, we love an A-frame
...and this one is pretty affordable. There’s no A/C, but that’s OK. You didn’t come to the woods for the indoor ventilation; you came to Jackson County, North Carolina, to be amongst the splendors of waterfalls and Disney squirrels. “[You’re] 25 minutes to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” say the hosts, “as well as hiking and waterfalls. There is a huge deck, picnic table, charcoal grill and great views of the mountains.”
$100/night; sleeps up to two on Airbnb
A 1950s desert homestead cabin
We're very ready for the coyote howling, gila monster charm of this Joshua Tree homestead cabin. Sip your whiskey juice box (is that a thing yet?) in a giant Adirondack chair by a cactus to fulfill your long-standing, Sigourney-Weaver-in-Holes fantasy.
$200/night; sleeps up to 2 on Vrbo
This Southern treehouse
Sleep among the birds in this Walhalla, South Carolina treehouse “just minutes from Stumphouse Tunnel and Stumphouse Mountain Bike Park, Issaqueena Falls, [and] white water rafting,” says Deborah, your kindly host with a 4.99 star rating. We don’t really know what those places are, but they sound very luxury Country Bears-adjacent and we love the idea of a hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
$262/night; sleeps up to 2 on Airbnb
We’re coming to Montana, Kanye
We’ve been meaning to make it to Montana, and this cottage—–which was made “for fisherman and photographers''—–gives you as much of a panoramic view of Big Sky Country as you could want to feel truly isolated. (But if you *do* crave a little city, the town is just two miles away?) It could sleep up to five people at under $20 a head per night, so stay for a month to really, actually have a brain break, and get that perfect Nat Geo shot/finally film the music video/learn to speak Pronghorn. There’s no better, high- drama backdrop for the next season of My Pandemic Life.
$102/night; sleeps up to 5 on Airbnb
An off-the-grid adobe dome
If you’re looking to make your way to Texas, this adobe by Big Bend National Park is the perfect desert Hobbit hole to finish your memoirs. “The dome makes a good base for daily trips to different sites, towns, and hikes around the Big Bend Region,” writes the host, “[It’s] isolated but easily accessible off-grid setting in one of the few remaining territories under a dark sky ordinance.” When the aliens land, you’ll be the first to know.
$122/night; sleeps up to 3 at Airbnb
Film a tasteful, Danish horror movie (in Upstate New York)
That’s what mid-century-style glass homes in the woods are for, especially in Hudson Valley, New York. This sexy rectangle was designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson, and has beautiful views of the area, which is full of towns to explore (and go antiquing in), like Beacon and Kingston, once you’ve grown tired of pensively looking out the windows (you won’t). Plus, it's big enough for everyone in your most active group chat.
$1,326/night; sleeps up to 8 on Plum Guide
This Vermont cabin is perfect for you and your six dogs
This is where all aging Deadheads and Aphishionados deserve to lay their weary, fried, Hacky Sack feet: an off-the-grid cabin in West Bolton, Vermont. “For adventure seekers, it is the ideal home base,” say the 4.91 rated hosts, “Well-maintained hiking trails surround the area. We are minutes from the Long Trail, renowned rock climbing, beautiful swimming holes, kayaking, fishing, golfing, mountain biking, skiing and snowboarding.”
$145/night; sleeps up to 2 on Airbnb
You’re an air sign, aren’t you?
We’re a little afraid of you. Vacations aren’t exactly a time for rest, as much as they are a time to be in competition with yourself (and your nerves) by finding a spot to camp for the night in Carlsbad, California, that is quite literally dangling above the earth. We know that’s a tried-and-true camping thing, but it’s still pretty bonkers. Gather up the best, Predator-worthy camping gear of the season. Bring a friend as a surprise (tell them it’s a cliffhanger). Enjoy the lake, the trees, and the pre-existing, well-hung tent.
$30/night; sleeps up to 4 on Airbnb
A cabin in Forks, Washington
[Cues ‘Twilight’ theme song.]
$99/night; sleeps up to 4 on Airbnb
This vintage Airstream by a California ghost mining town
And it’s only $69 a night, so maybe a bunch of horny Old West ghosts live there? It has always been a greasy summer fantasy of ours to spend some quality time in a vintage trailer in a desert town. Darwin, California, which sits at an elevation of 4,750 feet, does a nice job. Your hosts also speak Dutch, English, French, and Spanish, and one of them is an artist “so you will see many of her art pieces on the property and can peek in the studio.”
$69/night; sleeps up to 2 on Airbnb
Your own enchanted tower
Rapunzel, only she has a Ninja Foodi and WiFi. This wooden turret in the Berkshires, Western Massachusetts is complete with a canopied ~bed chamber~ and a overlooks a lily pond, babbling brook, and probably a really hot wizard. The tiny house may indeed be tiny, but you’ll have a whole four acres of land to yourself.
$248/night; sleeps up to 2 on Airbnb
This French cave house
They call them troglodyte dwellings, they’re thousands of years old, and there are a whole bunch of them in the wino region of the Loire Valley. Hole up (sorry) here in Lussault-sur-Loire (by Tours, about two hours from Paris) with the rest of your knock off Flintstones crew for a week of anjou sippin,’ baguette munching, and trying hard (to no avail) to digest all that cheese.
$94/night; sleeps up to 4 on Airbnb
An Italian castle
Have you ever seen vintage pictures of Sophia Loren at her Roman Villa? Have you ever recreated them at your own castle in Umbria, Italy? Well. No time like the present, my sexy Strega Nona. Come with a group of intimate and stylish buds, and plan a dramatic dinner party with blacks candles, goblets, and errant pomegranates.
$1,077/ night; sleeps up to 13 guests at Airbnb
What in the Pinterest?? This geometric, retro dream house—nicknamed the “1968” for its interiors and owl-like windows—is in the East Hamptons, making it an easy retreat for New Yorkers. “You're totally secluded,” explains Plum Guide, “which, in bustling East Hampton, is a pretty difficult find.”
$564/night; sleeps up to 6 at Plum Guide
“I come here to think sometimes.”
Plum Guide is the new, aesthetically pleasing Airbnb competitor that curates the bejeezus out of its international homes, so that you get only the most eyeball-licking, luxurious listings, such as this Joshua Tree, California home that is making us want to start a commune. It’s on a 440-acre private ranch with sweeping views of the desert, has a sunken pool, hot tub, and the general sense that Tom Ford could swing by in a suit, at any minute, to borrow a cup of cocaine.
$4,207/night; sleeps up to 4 on Plum Guide
This entire island
YOLO. Belize is open for travel, so if you bag a date with Bill Gates on Raya (or whatever the Windows version of Raya will inevitably be called), make him fly you and at least two dozen of your vaccinated besties to this island in Placencia.
$2,395/night; sleeps up to 28 on Vrbo
Iceland is still open to vaxxed Americans
And anyone else with that golden vaccine card. We’ve written a whole elf-filled guide on how to visit Iceland, from renting the car to chasing the Northern Lights. You can bet your sweet rassinn this Reykjavik home on Vrbo (remember them? They preceded Airbnb, and still have better cancellation policies on some of the same listings). It’s most definitely on our list of places to unwind and steam les pores after wild pony chasing. It comes with its own 18th-century-style sauna!
$566/night; sleeps up to 6 on Vrbo
See you when… we see you.
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