Group Fall Getaways
Eight friends and I have started somewhat of a tradition of renting a house in the middle of the woods during the fall. It’s a chance to get out of the city, to watch the leaves change, and spend some time together before the rush of the November and December holidays.
When we initially started, I thought the planning would be easy: We’d choose a house, buy some groceries and booze, rent a car and go. Of course, nothing is as easy as it seems. One person starts an email chain listing a few rental options, and then all hell breaks loose; a handful of people have strong opinions; one person introduces another set of options for everyone to argue over; which one of us will rent a car again?; what if we wanted to bring a newborn or a dog? Before you know it, you’re on an email chain with over 200 messages.
If you’re like me, you kind of throw your hands up in the air and let everyone else fight it out. Here is one of the two messages I contributed to the thread last year:
My other message, I believe was, “Okay, sounds good!” after we all improbably came to a consensus. Last year, we ended up in the Poconos and drank good wine, cooked great meals, hiked, and considered going to a biker bar for lunch before we came to our senses. The dog ended up coming on the trip; the baby did not. There was a hot tub.
This year, with no fall trip in the works, I decided to be less passive about the whole thing and plan something on my own. On Saturday, I talked to three friends, who, like me, were on the “I’m cool with whatever everyone decides” end of the spectrum.
“What are you guys doing at the end of the month?” I asked. “What if I rented a house upstate for a Saturday night? Somewhere that was accessible by train, where we could go hiking, maybe pick some apples or get some apple cider doughnuts, grab dinner? We’d go up Saturday morning and leave Sunday afternoon.”
They said it all sounded wonderful.
“What if I just picked the house on my own?”
We had a flashback to last year’s massive email chain and my three friends said, “Do it—we’ll be fine with whatever you decide.”
On Sunday I considered two rental options, and went with one that was so affordable that I decided to rent it for Friday night too, to have the place to myself if I wanted.
I emailed my friends with a link to the house I rented. “You’re free to come up with me on Friday night, or come up on Saturday,” I wrote. “If people want to to just take up the train in the morning, spend the day with us and head back to the city on Saturday night, they’ll also have that option. I’m also happy to pay for the place and y’all can buy me dinner in return.” The rental would be $247 for the weekend—less than what I spent the previous year for my share.
“I’m so excited!” one friend responded. “Done, done and done!” replied another. And that was it. We were done.