With much of December and January bringing us some of the coldest temperatures in recent years here in Ottawa, it was easy to feel trapped inside, suffocating under relentless arctic conditions. Weeks felt like months as the thermometer held steady in the minus 20’s and 30’s Celcius. Naturally, time spent on electronics in our house was hitting an all-time high.
Hunkered down, plugged in all the time. Spirits were getting low. Hey, I know what you’re thinking, and no – it was not alcohol getting low, it was our mental health suffering from being fixated on the Weather Network, pleading for relief so we could get back outside.
With no relief in sight, we realized it was time to embrace the cold and go enjoy it. Haha, who am I kidding? I’m NOT going out there! But we needed to shake things up a bit and get off our electronics. Not just the kids; Ian and I too. So we took off for a little getaway in the woods, found a great little place on Airbnb only a 40 minute drive from Ottawa.
And we left our devices at home.
That’s right. We had an unplugged weekend and I can’t wait to do it again. The kids were excited about going away, they were excited about finding a cute little cabin in the woods, then they were even more excited when we found a place that exceeded our ‘cabin’ requirements: a fireplace and a view. For almost the same price, we ended up in a beautiful ground level 2 bedroom suite, with fireplace, large fully equipped kitchen, and an absolutely huge bathroom with a lovely soaker tub.
But they were NOT happy when they realized we were serious about the unplugged part. Yes, that’s the whole point guys. We are going to hang out, read books, play board games and, wait for it, interact. Or, we could stay home and have access to computer games, You Tube and social media. Luckily, they made the right choice. And even better, they LOVED it.
So if you feel you could use some down time to battle the winter blues, and Costa Rica is not in your near future, think about just taking off for a winter getaway. It could be a ski weekend, or if it’s even too cold for that (as our weekend was!), a quiet cabin in the woods could do the trick! Just stepping out of your daily routine in the darkness of winter can brighten your spirits more than you think.
*NOTE: this rental does come with Wifi and satellite TV but an ‘unplugged’ weekend meant that we didn’t bring our devices
One thing we did end up doing, which wasn’t in our original plan, was watch a movie. Technically watching a movie is ‘screen time’ but it was hard to resist a big screen tv, a huge stack of family-friendly movies, all by a cozy fire on such a frigid night. Trust me when I say that we spent most of the time reading, playing board games and taking turns soaking in the tub.
Check it out:
And here’s the cool kitchen, where we spent quite a bit of time playing games:
Now, it was WAY too cold to go outside, which was too bad because the rental came with snow shoes that we were welcome to use. And we were only 20 minutes from the ski hills. Maybe next time. But for now, we enjoyed this view from the warmth of the fire:
This was the view from the front door, the beautiful frozen lake and the fire pit near the beach. We decided before we left that we HAVE TO return here in the summer time. They have canoes and kayaks, a beach, a huge fire pit, a BBQ on a beautiful deck, and biking trails nearby. We’ll be sure to write about it when we do.
There is one last thing that I like to do to keep my spirits high and get through the coldest part of the year: plan my next tropical getaway! So, if a record-breaking snow-filled winter (2014) helped inspire us to get out of our comfort zones and go explore Costa Rica for 6 months, I wonder what this year’s record-breaking deep freeze winter will inspire us to do? We’ve already started planning, so stay tuned for more updates as we keep Going 4Ward!
What do YOU think of an unplugged weekend? Let me know in the comments below.
Till Next Time,
Keep Going 4Ward!
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