Cabin Tripping

Where to Go to Get Away from It All


By JJ Eggers

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A mountain lodge 5,000 feet up in Washington State’s Cascades mountains, accessible only by skis—or an SUV tricked out with bulldozer-size snow tires. A sleek cabin just 80 minutes from Manhattan, overlooking the property’s pond and 19 acres of woodland. A romantic, eco-friendly escape in the misty mountains of Bali’s Gunung Agung volcano. A glass-domed Finnish hut offering unobstructed views of the Northern Lights. Whether readers are seeking a once-in-a-lifetime adventure or a quiet retreat, a cozy night around a firepit or a summery lakefront sojourn, Cabin Tripping delivers.

Divided into six chapters—Forest, Tropics, Mountain, Arctic, Water, and Desert—the book features a curated collection of over 80 of the most incredible cabins available to rent all over the globe. Each cabin profile includes information on how to get there, activities to enjoy in the area (hiking trails, fishing holes, thermal spas, and more), and tips like when to plan your visit to maximize your “leaf-peeping” or whale-watching opportunities.


Grey Duck Cabin

Treehouse A-Frame

Shasta County, California

Now, this is a deck with a view. The Treehouse A-Frame is spacious and sprawling, built into the sun-dappled canopy on 4 acres (1.6 ha) of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Your views include Shasta Lake, where granite peaks rise above glittering blue waters.

This solid-built A-frame retreat on wooded land is designed for easy living. The main room is a warm honeycomb of knotty pine, with a wood-burning stove, vintage wicker chairs, and an antique desk; strings of fairy lights illuminate the wood-beamed ceiling. In the bathroom, a twee one-person tub is tucked into a windowed eave. Turn off your phone (cell service is limited anyway) and your computer (Wi-Fi is iffy, too) and turn up the tunes: When the fog rolls in and a fire is crackling, the cabin's collection of vinyl only adds to the magic.

Nearby, a 4-mile (6.4 km) round-trip hike along the McCloud River Trail passes three falls as it winds upstream among forested canyonland. The Hirz Bay boat launch, leading to Shasta Lake, is just 4 miles (6.4 km) from the cabin. The lake buzzes with boaters, anglers, and water-skiers. For a more relaxed hang, head to Whiskeytown Lake, part of the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, 10 miles (16 km) away. There are no personal watercraft allowed, and it's prized for its high-visibility waters and seasonal recreation, from moonlight kayaking to swimming.

You're also close to the recreation-rich peaks of the Cascade Range. Snow blankets the craggy onyx peaks of Mount Shasta, a forty-five-minute drive north, pretty much all year round—it's a cinematic beauty. Shasta is the second-highest mountain in the Cascades, at an elevation of 14,179 feet (4,322 m). It's also an active volcano that erupts an average of once every six hundred years. (Last eruption: more than two centuries ago.) The steep slopes draw climbers in summer and backcountry skiers in winter—skiing Avalanche Gulch from Mount Shasta's peak is a revered backcountry descent. The Mount Shasta Ski Park has boundless skiing and snowboarding terrain. And if you can't get enough of nature, three boffo national parks (Lassen Volcanic, Redwood, and Crater Lake) are each a few hours' drive away.

The spacious A-frame has classic knotty-pine walls and a designated main bedroom in the loft space.

Ceiling beams strung with fairy lights and a wood-burning stove give the cabin a warm, cozy feel.

The Box Hop

Rockbridge, Ohio

Building a house out of shipping containers had been Seth Britt's dream since college. As housing costs rise and millions of used containers pile up in steel junkyards around the globe, it's recycling on an industrial scale, and cost effective to boot. So in 2019, Britt and his wife, Emily, bought 18.5 acres (7.5 ha) of dense pine-tree forest near rural Hocking Hills, Ohio, and went to work. Preparing a site in the middle of the woods was the first of many obstacles. "We had to clear the lot, dig a trench, install conduit for electrical, and dig a well," says Emily. And where does one go to buy a used shipping container? "Craigslist!"

Building with 40-foot-long (12 m) intermodal shipping containers poses its own interesting challenges. It took days of hard work just cutting windows and skylights into the steel exteriors. Wood siding was placed over framed areas, and the exposed steel was transformed with dark-green DTM (direct-to-metal) paint.

The results exceeded all expectations—the Box Hop has a great-looking contemporary style, helped by a slightly offset configuration and Emily's design chops. It's not huge, at 920 square feet (85 sq m), but the use of space is ingenious (the floor plan fits in three bedrooms). Inside are vintage rugs, a gas fireplace, and a gorgeous dining table that a friend built out of sycamore. A 16-foot (4.9 m) sliding glass door lets in copious tree-dappled light. The Box Hop also expands its footprint with loads of outdoor spaces, from a wraparound deck to a fire ring to a six-person hot tub. A rooftop patio accessed by a spiral staircase inside overlooks a forested ravine; the deck is made of interlocking pavers from recycled car tires.

In late 2019, the Britts snapped up two more used shipping containers to build the smaller BoHo Box Hop. The properties' beautiful acreage is ripe for wooded exploration and nature communing and is near both Hocking Hills State Park (and all its hiking, biking, fishing, and rock-climbing recreation) and the high cliffs and rugged gorges of Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve.

"We were really drawn to bringing new life and recycling something that would have otherwise been scrapped and never used again," says co-owner Emily Britt.

The spiral staircase leads to the second floor, where a third shipping container holds two bedrooms and a bathroom, and offers access to the rooftop patio.

The width of the house was doubled by opening up one container to another—and fusing them with a 22-foot (7 m) steel beam.

WoodHouse Muskoka

Coldwater, Ontario, Canada

"One of the main reasons we bought a log house was because of its low environmental impact," says Jill Mandley, who along with her husband, Stephen Gardner, purchased Wood House Muskoka in 2018. Properly built, a log cabin home is one of the most sustainable forms of construction, using almost four times fewer fossil fuels in manufacturing than a conventional framed house. Wood is a natural insulator, and log cabins have a built-in energy efficiency that keeps a house warmer in winter and cooler in summer. A sealed log home is weather resistant, too, and solid log-wall construction is free of toxic chemicals or glues.

Aesthetically, the elegant simplicity of a log cabin is also hard to beat. The Wood House is warm and wonderful and everything you want a log cabin in the woods to be. The interior is two stories of golden-tinged, abundant space, with a custom split-log staircase leading to four bedrooms. The kitchen, a gut redo, is a model of smart Scandi style and modern efficiency, with hand-poured cement countertops, heated tile floors, and white cabinetry. A shimmering basket pendant light hangs above the lo-o-o-ng dining room table. Walls throughout are hung with rusticated grace notes, like antique oars and vintage crocheted blankets. The open-plan living area has a granite-faced wood-burning fireplace, but it's the massive white-pine logs that really impress. "Being in a log home is literally like living in a forest," Mandley says. "From the moment you walk inside the cabin, you feel this magical energy. It feels like home."

With 200 feet (61 m) of beautiful waterfront on the Severn River, the Wood House sits on 2 acres (0.8 ha) of mature pines, home to wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, red foxes, and owls. The secluded waterfront locale has a floating dock for swimming and fishing. Take a dip in the river, kayak or canoe, or watch the morning mist rise over the river from a hammock strung between trees.

GetAway Frame

Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona

This is one honey of an A-frame. Generously sized, the cabin fits up to thirteen people, with three bedrooms and what may be an A-frame record: three full (and superstylish) bathrooms, two of them brand new. A fully outfitted baker's kitchen holds a Vitamix, an Instant Pot, and a Dutch oven, and the freezer comes stocked with a fresh batch of homemade chocolate chip cookie dough, ready to bake. That's right: There's cookie dough in the freezer.

The 2018 renovation of this 1970s cabin resulted in key structural improvements. The removal of a dropped ceiling overhanging the kitchen opened up a lofty vaulted expanse. Out went a large, unwieldy stone fireplace platform; in went a sleek wood-burning stove. New white metal and cedar-shake roofing mixed the chic and the folksy. Small windows got bigger. But it just may be the high-quality finishes that really light up the place—everywhere you look, there are tactile surfaces of marble, metal, leather, and weathered woods.

Among the A-frame's many crush-worthy elements: a kitchen island crafted from a vintage bowling lane, a big soaker tub under a bathroom skylight, and a staircase that seems to float. The great room is bathed in buttery sunshine from floor-to-ceiling windows, and high ceilings throughout allow for not one but two sets of triple twin bunk beds. The wraparound patio is big enough for a long dining table; the forested backyard holds a hammock or two. Custom touches abound, right down to the fresh-scented soaps and shampoos from Public Goods.

The posh comfort of the cabin matches its setting, a swath of woods in the Pinetop Country Club community. You're right in the heart of Arizona's White Mountains, with easy access to stellar hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and fishing. The A-frame is a forty-five-minute drive from the Sunrise Park Resort, which boasts sixty-five downhill ski runs and a snowboarding terrain park (yes, you can ski—and ski well!—in Arizona); the resort is operated by the White Mountain Apache Tribe. But with space to spare, the hushed embrace of piney woods, and warm cookies, you may be happy just staying put.

This head-to-tail renovation includes an expanded deck and a stylish new roof combining cedar shake and white metal.

The master-suite bathroom features a big white soaking tub beneath a skylight.

A Black A-Frame

Kerhonkson, New York

Few places encapsulate the spirit of the A-frame revival more completely than this black beauty on 2 acres (0.8 ha) of Catskills forest. In 2015, the cabin got a full gut renovation and reconfiguration, which turned a dilapidated hunting lodge from the 1960s into a superstylish sanctuary. The dining table sits beneath original wood beams in the A-frame's cathedral pitch. A chef's kitchen is small but loaded with culinary toys. The cabin's two bedrooms are roomy and sunlit; the two private baths have soaking tubs and nifty black-and-white trompe l'oeil flooring.

Set back on a private road, the cabin has a large front deck that faces the woods. You can sit in the screened-in gazebo and listen to the forest music and watch the gentle rippling of the small spring-fed pond. Outside is a firepit and a picnic table under twinkling fairy lights strung from the trees.

The town of Kerhonkson, New York, is a modest hamlet of artists, farmers, and urban expats. Pick your own apples at Kelder's Farm and say hello to the third-largest gnome in the world, Gnome Chomsky. Or stop by the nearby Ashokan Reservoir, the mighty Catskills basin that delivers fresh water to the Big Apple, a two-hour drive away. The sprawl of blue water, with its backdrop of curvy black hills, is quite a sight.

If you're feeling adventurous, head to the Mohonk Preserve, 10 miles (16 km) from the A-frame in the Shawangunk Mountains, aka the Gunks, part of the Appalachian Mountains ridge. It's a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, with hiking and biking trails on 70 miles (113 km) of historic carriage roads and skiing on both groomed and backcountry trails. Eight thousand acres (3,237 ha) of quartzite cliffs make this a formidable rock-climbing destination, drawing climbers from around the world. Many of today's most-climbed routes were laid down by a rowdy group of college students known as the Vulgarians, who in the 1960s made daredevil ascents into the Gunks, often in sneakers and frequently in the nude, to protest efforts by the more buttoned-down Appalachian Mountain Club to control climbing access. The Vulgarians became legend, and climbing the Gunks in the buff turned into something of a rite of passage.

Bolt Farm Treehouse

Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina

If your idea of glamping leans toward the Southern Gothic, then these South Carolina treehouses are for you. The rooms are gussied up with chandeliers and sheepskin rugs and antiques. Tiers of transom windows give guests sun-dappled views of a Lowcountry tidal creek, all sultry Spanish moss and live oaks. You can lie in ornate hand-painted beds or bathe in big copper tubs while gauzy floor-length curtains billow in the soft breezes.

The owners of Bolt Farm, who bought 34 acres (14 ha) of Wadmalaw Island to develop a nature retreat, have created their treehouse kingdom for grown-ups with a heightened sense of play. The Wildflower Treehouse (pictured opposite) has fantastic chevron walls and a honey-hued color scheme, while the Honeymoon Treehouse is a fantasy in white, all poufs and fuzzy rugs and crystal chandeliers. The Charleston Treehouse features a wall of transom windows and has two outdoor soaking tubs for bathing à deux. The Living Room Treehouse is a cook's dream, equipped with a barbecue grill and a pizza oven. Outside is a private shower with two showerheads, a firepit, and a big deck for watching deer, foxes, and wild turkeys.

Wadmalaw Island calls itself the "back porch" of Charleston, just 30 miles (48 km) away—and a day trip into this beautiful city of well-preserved eighteenth- and nineteenth-century architecture is highly recommended. But you may be too bewitched by Wadmalaw's unspoiled charms to bother. The sleepy island has no grocery and no gas station and has restrictive land-use regulations meant to keep it that way. Still, civilization is within easy reach. You're a fifteen-minute drive to a supermarket, and the Ambrose Family Farm sells fresh produce in season from a stand on neighboring Johns Island; they also have a little café serving Lowcountry favorites like shrimp and grits. Wadmalaw has the last remaining tea farm in the United States, and a nearby distillery makes tea-flavored vodka. It's firewater with a homegrown feel, and that suits Wadmalaw just fine.

The Wildflower Treehouse has distinctive chevron walls, an outdoor bed swing, and tidal-creek views.

The Honeymoon Treehouse interior: It's as if someone dropped Scarlett O'Hara's boudoir into a fancy Victorian barn.

Live oaks stretch over the exterior and deck of the Honeymoon Treehouse.

Just Out of Nashville

Smithville, Tennessee

This Smithville A-frame was originally a model cabin, built in the 1960s to help sell lots in the new lake community. Its unusual boatlike shape is a twist on the typical A-frame, with a rounded bow frame built of long pieces of curved timber, a style that dates back to medieval days. It may have started as a whimsical nod to the lake and its water-sports pleasures, but these days it's a chic and cozy escape in the woods.

When owners Kristin Barlowe and her husband, James, bought the property and its surrounding acre (0.4 ha) of forest, they could see the good bones behind the cabin's dated 1970s decor. Today sunlight pours in through big glass windows and doors in the lofted living area. The room is anchored by a stone wood-burning fireplace and a sculptural chandelier hanging from the cathedral ceiling. The big deck, complete with firepit, sectional, and picnic table, is a fabulous hub for hanging out under the leafy canopy. Modern comforts—Wi-Fi, central heating, AC, luxury linens—are legion, but the A-frame's retro-rustic soul shines throughout. Even the exterior has a classic feel, painted a cool dark hue that changes from black to blue to forest green on the whims of the light.

Just a ninety-minute drive from Nashville, the cabin is nestled on a peninsula at Center Hill Lake, where the shoreline of craggy rock bluffs and waterfalls is mercifully undeveloped. Rent a fishing boat at the lake's Hidden Harbor Marina and go trawling for bass, catfish, bluegill, and walleye. You also have access to the community's hiking trails, a saltwater swimming pool, tennis courts—even a zip line through the woods.

Just down the street is Evins Mill and its dreamy swimming hole beneath a 90-foot (27 m) waterfall. Cumberland Caverns, with 30 miles (48 km) of underground caves, waterfalls, and pools, is forty-five minutes away by car. The forest trails of Rock Island and Burgess Falls State Parks are a ten-minute drive from the cabin. Smithville's own midsummer Fiddlers' Jamboree brings world-famous pickers and fiddlers to town and ends with a champion fiddle-off.

Campwell Woods

Cherry Wood, Bath, England

In a 40-acre (16 ha) pocket of storybook Cotswolds forest, this collection of log A-frames, handcrafted yurts, shepherd's hut, and cob roundhouse sends its guests back to simpler times. You can forage for edible plants, dine alfresco on fire-cooked meals, and sip "wild" cocktails. You can also partake in classic summer-camp activities: archery, canoeing, hiking—woodworking classes are even on offer. A lake in the woods makes a dreamy swimming hole, and long-limbed trees beckon for freewheeling climbs.

Campwell's festive collective feel attracts groups of friends and families, who favor the private suite of three adjoining yurts called the Chief's Den. The rest of the camp "village" shares a four-person wood-fired sauna, a bathhouse known as the Treeshack (with hot showers and composting toilets), and a communal outdoor kitchen with a wood-fired cob oven and grills. Of the village lodgings, the little one-room Waney Cabin, one of two rustic A-frames, looks out onto a forest path. Wooden steps with a charmingly crooked rail lead up to the other, a miniature log A-frame named the Hairy Cabin for its crown of dense vegetation. The Cob Round is, as the name implies, a roundhouse, fashioned of cob, a mix of clay, sand, and straw that's been used to build dwellings since ancient times. It's breathable, thermal, and really durable (the oldest cob house on the planet is said to be ten thousand years old).

The closest village is the parish of Ashwicke, in the Cotswold wool country. Just 12 miles (19 km) away is Marshfield, a historic market town filled with seventeenth- and eighteenth-century architecture.From the camp, you have views of St. Catherine's Valley, a magical landscape of velvety hills and valleys dotted with grazing sheep and stone-built villages of fairy-tale charm. Jane Austen lived in nearby Bath for five years and likely walked these country lanes—the Jane Austen Centre is the city's biggest attraction and just a twenty-minute drive from camp. What would the reclusive author think of Campwell and its ethos of living a simpler, more natural life? In her own words: "To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment."

The Chief's Den includes a sundeck, a spacious living area, a bathroom, and its own kitchen with a wood-fired cast-iron stove.

Campwell village guests prepare meals on the wood-fired cob oven and grills in the communal outdoor kitchen.

A cool spot for hot yoga: The Cob Round is used as a gathering place for visitors.


Skykomish, Washington State

The SkyCabin, with its striking slanted roof, is a superstylish mid-century reboot of a vintage cabin in the sleepy small town of Skykomish, Washington, the gateway to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Handsome hardwood flooring replaced an old carpet in orange-red hues. Floor-to-ceiling windows open up the main room to the natural light, and a gas fireplace pumps out the heat. The main bedroom has big slanted windows with views onto the sun-dappled green woods. A modern kitchen is kitted out with a farmhouse sink and all the equipment you need for cooking and serving meals out on the big wooden deck, which has a round picnic table for communing under a towering fir. The thoughtful details add up: A French press and a fresh bag of Seattle's Best coffee await you in the kitchen, along with a dryer for your ski/snowboarding boots—you even can arrange for a massage therapist to come to the cabin for après-ski rubdowns.

The former mining and lumber town of Skykomish—the locals know it as Sky—sits in a scenic valley ringed by Cascades peaks and undeveloped forestland. In its early-twentieth-century heyday as a railroad hub, Sky was a stop for passenger trains with wanderlusty names like the Western Star, Empire Builder, and the Oriental Limited; the cabin is located near the train tracks, so you may hear the occasional lonesome whistle blow.

These days, the prevailing industry in Sky is outdoor recreation—and the opportunities for breathing in that fresh mountain air are boundless. Abandoned logging roads are now mountain-biking and snowmobiling trails. Stevens Pass has one of the top ski resorts in western Washington, with 1,125 acres (455 ha) of skiing and snowboarding terrain. The free-flowing Skykomish River offers 10 miles (16 km) of Class III–V white-water rapids and some gentler stretches for tubing and swimming, and the fly-fishing here is first-rate; the river is a natural spawning habitat for four types of Pacific salmon and steelhead trout.


On Sale
Dec 7, 2021
Page Count
352 pages

JJ Eggers

About the Author

JJ Eggers is the founder of @TheCabinChronicles, where he shares images of the most amazing cabins around the world with his 580,000-plus followers. The brand’s supporters and collaborators include Jennifer Garner, Ross Marquand, Dwell magazine, Airbnb, and Hydro Flask. Eggers is based out of Salt Lake City, Utah, where he and his family enjoy exploring the unique geography of the region.

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