No outdoor adventure is complete without a campfire and no campfire is complete with a toasty s’more. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our favorite tips and tricks for the perfect gooey and chocolatey treat.
Get extra toasty. There’s nothing worse than unmelted chocolate. Set up your graham cracker and chocolate on top on a piece of foil and place it near the fire. Spin it periodically to make sure the chocolate warms evenly. When you put your marshmallow on, the chocolate will melt every time.
Know yourself. The marshmallow makes or breaks a good s’more. Whether you like your marshmallows golden brown or nearly burnt, make sure to keep an eye out for your preferred gooeyness.
Just keep spinning. For the perfect s’more, consistency is key. Keep spinning the marshmallow when you toast it, so it cooks evenly, especially when you have a bigger fire.
Eat and repeat. The only thing tastier than one warm, sweet treat is two.
There’s nothing better than spending a night by the campfire. It’s the perfect spot to cozy up with s’mores, hot cocoa, or even some mulled wine.
We’ve tried to make building a fire as easy as possible at Getaway, with log bundles and fire starters available for purchase and lighters placed in every cabin. If you’ve never built a fire before though, the task can seem pretty daunting. That’s why we’ve created a step-by-step guide for your convenience.
First, you have to set up your wood. While there are many ways to do this, one popular method is called the teepee or the cone.
Start with a handful of tinder (twigs, dry leaves, wood shavings, newspaper, etc.) and build a cone of kindling (small sticks or pieces of wood) around it. Be sure your supplies are dry for the best chances at starting a fire.
Once the fire is lit, you can add larger logs around the cone as needed.
Next, you need to light your fire. Use waterproof matches or a lighter on the tinder to start the blaze.
The fire needs oxygen to burn, so blow air on its base to help increase the flame, and add more logs as needed.
Enjoy your toasty campfire!
While we all love campfires, we also need to keep fire safety in mind. Before you leave the fire pit, make sure your fire is completely extinguished. Add water to the fire and stir the ashes until they are cool to the touch.
Lastly, remember to take care of the area around the campfire. Remove any plastic or other trash nearby and be sure to keep your campfire within the provided fire pit.
When people ask what to pack on a Getaway, our answer is always more or less the same – not much.
Partially because we believe in the importance of focusing on the people and nature around you; partially because we already have a lot of it waiting for you in your cabin.
You’ll never go cold when you’re relaxing in one of our tiny cabins. Every cabin is heated and stocked with extra blankets to bundle up even more. We’ve stocked each tiny cabin with cold-weather essentials like hot chocolate, a fire starter kit, and plenty of indoor activities like books, cards, and games.
So if you’re the type who just wants to get away to sit back and relax, we’ve got you covered. But if you’re the adventurous type, excited to hit the hiking trails as soon as you make it to your Outpost – there are a few extra things you’ll definitely want to bring along.
A good pair of boots
We recommend something waterproof, insulated, and with a high shaft to keep snow out of your socks.
We love it when snow turns Getaway in a winter wonderland, but your car doesn’t. Snow can pileup easily and it’s not always safe to drive with that much snow on top of your vehicle, so throwing a snow scraper in with your things can save you a big headache.
Ask Getaway friend, bartendress, and The Spritz Co.’s founder, Maggie Mae Dale, about her favorite campfire memory and she’ll tell you about her days at summer camp as a teenager, when she prepped food over an open fire and roughed it with her cohort. “Laughing with my friends and catching fireflies on that trip is something I’ll never forget.”
Raised in Minnesota and based in Williamsburg, Maggie now crafts spectacular cocktails. When she’s not bartending, you can find her unwinding with “records, rye whiskey, and being a little witchy.”
Armed with her mantra, “Spritz all day, party all night,” Maggie has designed three cocktails to warm up your getaway this holiday season.
Campfire Cocktails: Fireside Negroni
For this version of the negroni, vermouth is swapped for bergamot and cinnamon tea, bittersweet aperol, and gin. Yields three cups of tea. Maggie’s special note: My wish is that you enjoy your own taste of “aperitea-vi” as you getaway!
What you’ll need:
4 cinnamon sticks ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice 2 bergamont tea bags (lady grey tea) ¼ cup turbinado sugar (raw cane sugar) 1 orange peel (with as little pith as possible) 4 cups of water 1 oz. aperol 1 oz. gin Cinnamon sticks and orange wedge for garnish
To brew the tea, fill stove pot with cinnamon sticks, sugar, orange peel, orange juice, and water and bring to a boil.
Once water is at boiling temperature, add two bags of earl grey tea and let steep for five minutes on a low simmer. Double strain tea into teapot or serving container.
Add one part (1 oz.) aperol, one (1 oz.) gin, and four (4 oz.) parts orange tean in a cup. Stir. Toss in a slice of orange and cinnamon stick for garnish.
Sip by a cozy fire.
Campfire Cocktails: Midnight Hot Cocoa
As a young camper, Maggie and her friends would sneak off to a hidden beach at night, build a campfire, and make “Midnight Cocoa” with melted chocolate and marshmallows. This recipe includes cayenne for a rich and spicy twist on the classic. Yields two servings. Non-alcoholic.
What you’ll need:
2 ½ cups macadamia milk 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 6 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate ¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper Toasted marshmallow and Maldon salt for a garnish
Bring macadamia milk and cinnamon to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking occasionally and ensuring milk doesn’t boil (around 10 minutes).
In a double broiler, melt semi-sweet chocolate bars on low heat to avoid burning. To save time, substitute cocoa powder for melted chocolate.
Whisk in chocolate, vanilla, and cayenne. Cook on low heat, whisking frequently, until mixture is smooth and creamy and chocolate is melted (about five minutes).
Campfire Cocktails: Sweater Weather
This is a take on an old-fashioned, but orange bitters are replaced with citrus- and cola-notes of Averna Amaro and Brovo Amaro. Clove, cardamon, and cinnamon finish the drink off for a hint sweetness.
What you’ll need:
2 oz. Small batch Bourbon 0.75 Averna Amaro 0.5 Brovo Amaro No. 1 Orange peel and clove
Add ingredients to a mixing or pint glass. Add ice. Stir for 20-30 seconds and strain over fresh ice.
Garnish with orange peel and clove.
Wear your favorite sweater and enjoy!
You can follow Maggie and her mixology adventures at The Spritz Co. Make and drink these delicious beverages by the campfire as they were intended when you book your Getaway here.
The entire Getaway team spent two nights at our Outpost in Virginia and celebrated Thanksgiving a little early. It’s rare that the team is all together in one place, and we got to know each other a little better while huddling and laughing under the stars. We prepared our own Friendsgiving meal over the campfire. Here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes.
Add butter to a medium-sized skillet and place on the campfire, stirring butter begins to bubble
Add the sugar and brown sugar, continuing to stir until smooth and glossy
Take your skillet off the campfire and chill for 10-15 minutes, otherwise your eggs will scramble (as we learned the hard way)
Add eggs and vanilla and stir well
Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt
Mix in chocolate
Place the lid onto the skillet and put it back onto campfire
Check the cookie as infrequently as possible until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean from the center (the inside will still be gooey)
Remove skillet from fire and let cool and set before cutting individual pieces
We squeezed together on picnic tables covered in flowers, pumpkins, and pickles to feast on our dishes, almost all of which, as amateur camping chefs, turned out deliciously. Under the birch trees, we toasted to Getaway and to what we’re thankful for: tiny cabins in the woods, nature, and each other.
Have a simpler holiday. Take a few days with yourself or with loved ones this holiday season in a tiny cabin nestled in nature.
There’s nothing quite like roasting s’mores or cooking dinner over an open fire while spending time in nature. That’s why we try to make the process of starting a fire easy, even for those who have never built one, by providing everything you need to build your campfire.
At the same time, it’s important to remember that millions of wildland acres burn unintentionally each year, and the great majority (90%) of forest fires are caused by humans. To ensure that as many people as possible can experience the wonder of nature far into the future, we are dedicated to wildfire prevention and helping our guests practice safe campfire practices.
Each cabin fire pit has already been appropriately located and built, and we provide the rest of the necessary materials to start a campfire. Our kits, available at each cabin for a small fee, include a log bundle and firestarter.
Before building your fire, it’s important to abide by local fire regulations, as some regions suffer from droughts, during which fire bans are put in place. We notify guests when a burn ban is in place and provide alternatives, including grills or charcoal, to ensure you can safely enjoy your Getaway.
Please only use the firewood in the starter kit to build your fire. Never use wood or kindling from around your cabin. These are often homes for birds and other wildlife, and doing so can result in a $100 fine.
Here’s our recommendation for setting up your logs:
Place the firestarter (no need to unwrap it) in the center of the fire pit. Lay one log alongside it.
Create a “lean-to” structure by placing 3 more logs across the firestarter, leaning them against the first log.
Use the provided lighter to light the firestarter. NEVER use lighter fluid or other flammable materials.
Cooking tip: also suggest wrapping aluminum foil (stored under your sink) around the cooking grill before your fire gets going.
The fire needs oxygen to start, so blow air at the base of the fire to help the kindling and firewood catch and increase the flame. Continue to stoke the fire by adding more wood, but don’t let the campfire get too big. And never leave a fire unattended.
After you’ve basked in the glow of the fire you built, you still have one last crucial step – to extinguish the fire.
To do this, pour water on the fire, then stir the ashes. Repeat as necessary, until the ashes are cool to the touch. (Don’t use the cabin fire extinguisher.)
Remove any food, cooking gear, or trash from around the campfire – and never attempt to burn plastic, foil or cans.
Fires are a fun and an important part of the camping experience, but it’s even more important to respect the natural setting you’re in when you enjoy one.
Before checking in for the night or checking out from your Getaway, make sure your fire is completely extinguished and that no embers are exposed and still smoldering. Remember: if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.
The Lindy Effect, named for a longstanding New York deli, is the idea that the longer an idea or practice has survived, the longer it will survive into the future. It’s why, despite fidget spinners being the talk of the summer, jump ropes are much more likely to be around in 50 years. Newfangled technology may thrill us, but it’s the allegedly boring, familiar stuff that lasts, burrowing into our routines and longings.
The really, really old stuff even burrows into our evolutionary makeup, marrying its survival with our own. This is the case with humanity’s oldest and greatest technological achievement: fire. Fire ushered in cooking, radically reducing chewing time. It provided a new way to ward off predators, lengthening our lifespan. It heated and lit us up, increasing how far we could travel. It not only changed our lives, but it also changed our bodies: our brain and stomach size evolved to fit our newfound ignition.
How Fire Ignited Our Emotional Lives
Most relevant to our purposes, fire changed our emotional lives, too. In fact, one could even say fire created our emotional lives. Firelight extended the day beyond daylight, creating a social time after work but before sleep. According to research by anthropologist Polly Wiessner, this exciting new time of day — which mixed the energy of firelight with the impossibility of hunting and gathering — unleashed the magic of human community:
In hot seasons, the cool of the evening releases pent up energy; in cold seasons, people huddle together. Fireside gatherings are often, although not always, composed of people of mixed sexes and ages. The moon and starlit skies awaken imagination of the supernatural, as well as a sense of vulnerability to malevolent spirits, predators, and antagonists countered by security in numbers. Body language is dimmed by firelight and awareness of self and others is reduced. Facial expressions — flickering with the flames — are either softened, or in the case of fear or anguish, accentuated. Agendas of the day are dropped while small children fall asleep in the laps of kin. Whereas time structures interactions by day because of economic exigencies, by night social interactions structure time and often continue until relationships are right.
Thanks to fire, humans had time to talk through their emotions about themselves and each other. We could start bonding within and between groups. We could create and pass along culture and tradition. Without fire, all the stuff we like about being human might never have happened.
Finding the Spark Again
As the nightly campfire has come to be replaced by gas light, lightbulbs, and, eventually, the blue glow of screens, we, as a species, have forgotten about the joys of this special time of night: campfire time. However, our bodies and minds have not forgotten. Anthropologists at the University of Alabama have found that sitting by a campfire lowers blood pressure and other stress indicators: the longer we sit by the fire, the more relaxed we become.
This mirrors studies about what happens to us in all natural environments: fire, like the woods generally, produces what researchers call a “soft fascination,” modestly grabbing our attention while allowing the analytical parts of our brain to rest. This is the “restoration theory” of nature: nature allows the always-on, critical part of our minds to take it easy while prodding the long-dormant, open-ended part of our minds to come alive.
And, as any scout or camper knows, our emotional lives are also rejuvenated when we return to the campfire. The Boy Scouts acknowledges this with their opening ceremony for campfire sessions:
As glow the hearts of the logs upon this fire, So may our hearts glow, and our thoughts be kind, As glow the hearts of the logs upon this fire, May peace and deep contentment fill every mind.
As Wiessner mentions at the end of her study on the early social effects of fire, the Danish idea of hygge, or coziness, calls for the heavy use of candles to, like the fires of old, “stimulate intimate conversation.” The culture of ghost stories around the campfire, too, reminds us how well burning embers pair with being open to strange and fruitful thinking.
It’s no wonder that the oldest way of gathering has lasted this long: it relaxes us, warms our hearts and takes us to another place.
And, in line with the Lindy effect, gathering around the campfire is likely to outlast the latest wellness crazes, continuing to be humanity’s go-to way to escape and rejuvenate. Perhaps all the answers you need are not inside of your cellphone screen, but rather among the sparks and flicker of your next moonlit blaze.