Brooklyn-based company looks to create 65-unit ‘tiny cabin’ rental outpost at Burrillville Scout camp


BURRILLVILLE – A business that markets tiny cabins where visiting urban dwellers can unplug and reconnect with nature has set its sights on Burrillville, with hopes to build a 65-unit campground on a property currently owned by the Rhode Island Boy Scouts.

Brooklyn-based Getaway has submitted a preliminary proposal that envisions three lots within the Buck Hill Scout Reservation totaling around 180 acres as the location for their latest commercial outpost. With a current list of some 30 destinations across the country, Getaway promotes its properties as, “a way to create distance from the relentless demands of work, schedules, and technology.”

A startup launched by Minnesota native Jon Staff in 2015, the business offers short-term stays in small trailers stocked with necessities, featuring a basic kitchen, bathroom and bed. Getaway’s 140-200 square-foot, “cabins,” come with heat and air conditioning, and are stocked with linens, pots and pans, and other cooking essentials, offering busy travelers an easy way to slow down and enjoy nature.

Campsites feature individual fire pits with a picnic table and chairs, and guests can purchase extras such as firewood, at $8 a bundle, or baskets filled with snacks for their stay.

“We believe in making space for more free time,” notes the Getaway website. “Just two hours outside major cities, Getaway’s cozy cabins provide restorative stays in nature where you can take a break from work, wifi, and routines, and enjoy the company of those who matter most.”

According to the website, a three night stay at one of the outposts costs $450. Getaway currently has two such outposts in Massachusetts, and the Burrillville site could mark the business’s first expansion into Rhode Island.

A concept plan designed by Langan Engineering & Environmental Services of Boston, Mass. for the “Getaway Cub World,” project envisions access to a Burrillville outpost via the existing entrance on Buck Hill Road. The company also hopes to reuse existing structures at the Boy Scout camp, as well as cell towers and septic, according to the early plan.

The campground currently on the property, known as Cub World, was opened in 1997, and offers overnight stays to young Scouts and their caregivers, with space for up to 48 campers. The Feinstein Youth Camp, named after Rhode Island philanthropist Alan Shawn Feinstein, is one of two scouting camps in the larger 1,600 acre reservation.

Situated by Cedar Swamp Pond and Wakefield Pond, the potential Getaway site sits adjacent to the state-run Buck Hill Management Area. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Division of Fish & Wildlife oversees that property, which is home to many animal and plant species currently on the state-endangered, threatened, and special concern list.

The Burrillville Planning Board is scheduled to hold a master plan review and public informational meeting on Getaway’s proposal on Monday, Feb. 6.

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  1. LOL, these folks making this proposal clearly didn’t do their research on the area. I’m sure people paying a premium for a get-out-into-nature escape to enjoy the peace and quiet will absolutely LOVE camping on the backside of the Thompson Speedway!

    • Susan’s comment is hardly an off-the-cuff speculation. It is substantial and very serious. The noise from nearby Thompson Speedway is inescapable, like a towering wall, when you on the west-southwest slope of Buck Hill where the Getaway facility is proposed. And the noise is not confined to the racing dates on weekends. The drivers have to practice, and that goes on all week. Even a single car makes a loud, inescapable presence when you are in the woods on the west facing slopes of Buck Hill and Benson’s Mountain. Cleary, the Getaway executives are making a terrible financial mistake. They can’t have visited the site while the Speedway was running. Surely, their advertising will attract plenty of customers in the first couple of seasons.But virtually none who visit during the racing season—the peak and financially critical season—will be happy and they will not be repeat customers. Reporters, as well, whose beat is recreation, will discretely visit and undoubtedly publish the bad news. And the racing season is a long one. Getaway will inevitably fail and the area will be left with a defunct facility that has been approved for major development in the one of the most environmentally sensitive locations in the state. What will the next proposal be? …The best use for that land, if the Boy Scouts must sell, is purchase for conservation. Just the other side of Wakefield Pond Road from the “Cub World” lots, DEM, the Nature Conservancy, and The Champlin Foundations bought 189 acres from the Boy Scouts in 2012 that was added to the Buck Hill Wildlife Management Area. That area, though kept wild for its unusually high conservation value, is free and open to the public for passive recreation. Those organizations potentially could do the same with the Cub World property if need be. The rare habitat and threatened species profile of that land is well known to conservation professionals. (The DEM share of 2012 purchase came, appropriately, from the voter approved “Open Spaces” bond issue fund. Last election day, RI voters approved the latest bond funding by a wide margin.)

  2. What a great way to use what’s already existing and improving it while also improving the land that has gone unused for so many years. It used to be such a fun area to visit. Now it will be again.

    • Dd
      It hasn’t gone unused. It has been used by the Cub Scouts for 30 years. And it is ok for the forest to be unused. That is one of the last pieces of unfragmented forest in Rhode Island.
      But it would be better than houses if indeed the Boy Scouts are selling.

  3. Sounds lovely for a visit but haven’t we taken enough land from wildlife ~ in numbers it sounds like a lot of acres to share but it really isn’t.

  4. Fantastic idea, enjoying our beautiful outdoors while inhaling the fresh air during any season, or enjoying the view through a unique plate glass window in the safety and warmth of your own hideaway during the cooler months. Tiny houses LONG OVERDUE for the area.

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