In this day and age, who doesn't want to run away and live in a cabin in the woods?
It's a tempting, undeniably romantic idea: to leave the neon rush of the modern world behind for a life lived close to nature, to wake up each morning to birdsong and the smell of woodsmoke, sage, rosemary, and thyme... Ever since Thoreau wrote his Walden, and Justin Vernon created For Emma in a tiny Wisconsin cabin, we've been glamorizing these little wooden shelters to no end, envisioning them as portals out of our busy, chaotic, capitalist reality.
That said, our love of cabins has created a veritable industry in and of itself, generating countless books and providing design inspiration for the most luxurious of NYC apartments and upstate getaways.
While there are millions of lovely cabins in the world, here are 12 particularly beautiful ones, meticulously handpicked to inspire you and fill your heart with peace and the scent of pinecones. Among the criteria that these selections had to fulfill: They have to evoke a feeling of acute nostalgia, they must glow in some way, and they must possess some unique and magical X factor, be it environmental consciousness or architectural brilliance.
Of course, you don't need to buy a night at one of these cabins in order to escape capitalism. If you're feeling impulsive, what do you really have to lose? Let these cabins inspire you to start that woodland retreat of your dreams. After all, we might all have to move into sustainable eco-villages at some point in order to survive and subvert climate change, so we might as well make them aesthetically pleasing.
1. Inverness A-Frame, California
Tucked away in West Marin, California is the A-frame to end all A-frames. Your wallet will take a hit from a night here, but the place was designed to be a sanctuary from city life, and it was carefully orchestrated to ensure an idyllic retreat. It can hold up to 6 people and can be booked on airbnb today.
2. AI Space Factory Cabin, Upstate New York
This cabin is still under construction, but it'll definitely be worth the wait. Created by AI Space Factory (which is also designing homes intended for Mars), not only is this cabin actually 3D printed: It's made of a material stronger than concrete that also happens to be recyclable. It'll be built by the Hudson River, and it's going to be a zero-waste, carbon-neutral structure. It'll be available to rent for one year starting in fall 2020. Then it will be recycled and reprinted in a different location.
3. Mono Cabin
At $22K, this cabin-frame from Drop Structures can be placed anywhere. At 12 feet high and 16 feet across, it's tight quarters—but so is your Brooklyn apartment. Imagine watching the sun rise every morning from within this thing.
4. Cascade Creek Resort, New Zealand
This is technically a chalet, not a cabin, but who's checking? Located in total seclusion among the rolling hills of New Zealand, you can't really ask for much more from a log cabin.
5. The Willow Treehouse, Vermont
This sublimely lovely Vermont cabin is also a treehouse, so it may actually stand a chance for when the oceans and rivers flood due to all the glaciers melting
This house is one of five cabins in the Treehouse Village Inn collection, nestled at the feet of the South Newfane mountain range in Vermont. The property also doubles as a wedding venue and offers access to many secluded rivers, snowy mountains, and other breathtaking vistas that will catapult you away into an alternate universe of peace and soft nature sounds.
6. The Glass House, Candlewood Cabins, Wisconsin
These absurdly atmospheric cabins look straight out of a Tumblr nature blog's wildest fantasies, but they're real and open for booking. Wisconsin's Candlewood Cabins is a collection of five secluded wooden homes, located deep in the woods. The standout is definitely the Glass House, with its huge windows that let candescent light pour out into the shadowy surrounding forest. Sadly, this cabin appears to be booked quite literally through 2021, so, if anything, you'll have to live vicariously through photos.
7. Getaway Houses
The company Getaway Houses offers cabins in a multitude of locations, and many are within a day's journey of Brooklyn. At $150 or $175 a night, they're relatively affordable in comparison to many others on this list (why accommodation is so expensive in the first place is another story); plus, they're ultra-modern and stylish, making for the perfect and perfectly minimalist glamping experience. The company also plants a tree every time you book a house, which might not mean anything significant for the environment in the long run, but it's still a nice touch.
Intentionally designed with huge windows and designed to fit into the woods rather than contrast with them, these cabins riff off the Tiny House movement and offer Frank Lloyd Wright-esque architectural stylings, along with the opportunity to spend a night close to the land.
8. Release Wanaka Chalet, New Zealand
New Zealand knows how to build a good cabin (sorry, chalet). This one takes a little more effort to get to than most of the others on this list, though: Located at 1750 meters above sea level, the Release Wanaka Mountain Top Chalet is just a short helicopter ride away from base camp. Perfect for skiers and hikers, the venue offers unparalleled alpine views.
9. Tintaldra Cabin, Australia
This cabin is the perfect example of what a futuristic, environmentally synced existence could look like. It's completely off the grid, runs on solar panels, and utilizes rainwater tanks and a wood-burning stove to minimize its footprint on the landscape. Designed by Modscape, it's proof that people can design homes that work in tandem with the land instead of trying to dominate and counteract its life-giving influence.
10. Bonnie Bell Cabin, Colorado
Located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains in backcountry Colorado, this dreamy cabin is absurdly pricey—you might be better off camping nearby—but it does look incredibly magical against that wide-open galaxy. Let's all gaze in awe and think about a posthuman future wherein humans live in harmony with the planet, take only what we need and give as much as we take instead of relentlessly trying to destroy the natural world and all of our futures.
12. Shipwreck Lodge Cabins, Namibia
Ever heard of the post-apocalyptic sublime? If there ever was a place that embodied that concept, it might be these cabins, inspired by the hundreds of shipwrecks found off the Atlantic coast of Namibia. Called the Skeleton Coast, this bleached stretch of land is home to a variety of animals such as hyenas, giraffes, and lions. Each cabin is designed with sustainability and ecological harmony in mind, so you can take comfort in knowing that although the ships that inspired them didn't make it very long, these lodgings just might last the test of time.
BONUS: A45, Upstate New York
This cabin, designed by the architecture firm BIG, riffs on the typical A-frame and acts as a mirror and a window to the trees. Inspired by concepts of Nordic minimalism and coziness, the house overlooks a seemingly endless stretch of forest, and it's the perfect place to contemplate the inevitable ephemerality of the human race, or whatever you do to chill out.