ICYMI, #cottagecore is having a moment. If you’re not familiar with the term, cottagecore refers to a soothing, nostalgic aesthetic that highlights a slower + more natural lifestyle. Cottagecore is full of rustic landscapes, baking things from scratch, gardening, foraging for wild foods — basically, all the activities that became popular during quarantine. Its popularity has skyrocketed during the pandemic, it’s gone viral on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, and its impact is so pervasive it has influenced home decorating and fashion trends.
Aside from its general loveliness (I mean, who doesn’t want to look at freshly baked pastries, vibrant houseplants, and idyllic landscapes?), mental health experts explain cottagecore’s appeal as a back-to-basics way of ameliorating what’s been dubbed “doomscrolling,” wherein we scroll through a seemingly endless feed of bad news.
The pandemic has driven many folks to pursue socially distant getaways like camping + road trips. And cottagecore makes for an ideal vacation experience by — at least visually — taking us a step back in time to escape the stress + urgent pace of modern life. No wonder they’ve been called “comfort vacations.”
This year has not done anyone’s mental health any favors, and I figured we could all use a little bit of frivolous fun. So let’s look at cottagecore vacation options in Columbia and our sister cities that are driving distance away: Asheville, Raleigh, Chattanooga, Greenville + Charleston. (Sorry, Lakeland, you’re just too far away). Let’s take our minds off the myriad troubles in the world for a bit and plan out a fantasy cottagecore getaway, shall we?
This mid-century modern treehouse’s interior is cozy and full of natural light, and includes a garden area with a fire pit and Green Egg grill. Outside you’ll also find a deck with a hot tub that’s accessible by walking across a bridge through professionally landscaped gardens. The fire pit area features twinkling chandelier + string lights, and the hot tub is surrounded by lush green plants.
🚗 ~ one and a half hours from Columbia
This log cabin is perched on a hill overlooking a two-acre stream fed pond and 11 acres of hardwood + pine forest with paths + terraces for exploration + admiration. The pond is ideal for kayaking + fishing. The wrap around porch, with a hammock, offers opportunities for respite and al fresco dining, and you can anticipate fresh flowers and snacks like fresh fruit upon your arrival.
🚗 ~ two hours from Columbia
This charming bungalow is full of natural sunlight and wrapped in shiplap. It features plants galore as well as a private outdoor patio + outdoor shower. The stone walkway adds rustic charm to the fenced in yard nestled under a lovely old oak tree — plus it’s only ten minutes away from downtown Charleston and Folly Beach.
🚗 ~ two and a half hours from Columbia
This off-the-grid cabin, just 25 minutes away from the city, is situated on a private 125-acre property that backs up to Pisgah National Forest. Talk about socially distant. The cabin features an outdoor shower, grill + firepit, as well as a glass garage door you can open to sleep under the stars. You can spend your time hiking the trail along the creek into Pisgah National Forest or exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway.
🚗 ~ three hours and 15 minutes from Columbia
This rustic cabin — a fully renovated tobacco barn — is set on a 12-acre working farm in nearby Durham (25 minutes away from downtown Raleigh). It offers a sleeping loft as well as a hammock and tire swing, and you can look forward to a basket of seasonal organic produce from the farm on your arrival. Spend your days visiting the pigs, chickens + goats and exploring the trails around the property that lead to serene Laurel Creek.
🚗 ~ five hours from Columbia
Want a bird’s eye view of the mountains? This treehouse, built in an old growth forest, is minutes away from downtown Chattanooga and features scenic views of the surrounding countryside. The interior is constructed with reclaimed barn wood + beams and includes nostalgic decor like a vintage style gramophone speaker, exposed copper piping and a penny floor, and the exterior boasts a mountain spring and a fire pit with a s’mores kit.