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One of the many scenic vistas on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park.
If you saw my post from two weeks ago, you may know that I recently returned from some much anticipated time in the woods with Getaway House! For my Getaway House Artist Fellowship proposal, I wanted to spent time getting back into the cyanotype process and producing new pattern designs. These are both things I love to do, but don’t get much time to play around with while I’m running exit343design. On Monday, April 1st I packed the last of my supplies in the car and hit the road for western Virginia!
The outpost where I stayed is marketed as an escape from Washington D.C, but was also an easy drive for me, a resident of the Philadelphia suburbs. I opted to take a slightly longer route so that I could take a scenic drive starting from the north end of Shenandoah National Park. The park is centered around Skyline Drive, an 105-mile winding road that was originally commissioned by President Herbert Hoover. There are nearly 70 scenic overlooks to pull over at, numerous hiking trails, a restaurant, campgrounds, and more. Unfortunately, the park didn’t officially open their amenities until after I had left Virginia, but I was still able to enjoy a leisurely drive on the north end of the road before checking in at my Getaway home.
the DC Getaway House location offers a great view of the mountains of Shenandoah.
The DC location of Getaway is housed at a former campground and is about a 20 minute drive from the Swift Run Gap Entrance of Skyline Drive. It’s tucked away from the road and truly was in the woods, but it was also easy to run to a nearby grocery store and gas station if needed. However, once I arrived, I really didn’t want to leave for anything! The following photos are of the entrance and various images from around my cabin (named Carroll, after an employee’s grandparent!) and the property:
The focus of the Getaway company is to encourage their guests to not just stay, but to unplug from technology. Each cabin is decked out with tools to help you do just that: a simple kitchen, a guidebook with ideas tips for stargazing and bird watching (among many other analog ideas), a very comfortable bed with a picture window into nature, a variety of outdoor seating surrounding a fire pit, a nearby walking trail, and a small library of books to get lost in. I picked up How to Get Away, an easy read by the founders of the company. The book talks about the science and psychology behind leisure time and its importance- I devoured it in two days!
I could go on and on about much I loved the area, my stay, and how truly relaxing the whole experience was. However, I embarked on this trip to make some art and art I did make! I’m not going to lie- I had a whole plan in my head of the work I intended to make, but it didn’t really pan out exactly as planned. Since the trip was so early in spring, most of the trees and foliage I planned to gain inspiration from hadn’t blossomed. The weather was variable, with one day being cloudy and chilly, with the other being hot and windy, affecting the space I could work in. I hadn’t mixed cyanotype chemicals in 10+ years, so the prints didn’t come out very even. My visions of colorful monotype prints with local foliage were a complete and utter failure.
However, these challenges pushed me to play with what did work and I’m pleased with many of the results! Thank goodness I threw watercolors in my bag before I left- they really came in handy.
One of my goals was to design patterns based on the work I did during my Getaway House stay:
Thank you so much to the team at Getaway House for letting me stay at your DC Outpost! It truly was such a great experience and so bittersweet to leave. Admittedly during my stay, I went against the “no phone” policy and started looking up dates for my next Getaway excursion . . .
cherry blossoms & the sunset from the driveway of the Outpost