48 Hours Unplugged

I’ve never experienced the feeling of time slowing down until last week.

I had the privilege of spending a few days in (relatively) upstate New York with two of my best friends, Fiona and Rachel. Fiona was so generous as to let us stay at her 106-year-old (!!) summer house, located in a secluded yet beautiful town.


On Monday, Fiona and Rachel drove down from Boston to my house. I cooked us a little rather large din din of caprese chicken + spicy pork chops + roasted broccoli (which was epic, not gonna lie) + avocado toast. Lots of leftovers for the ‘rents!


plus avocado toast!


beautiful food, even more beautiful people

I also made them one of my favorite recipes of all time— Amanda’s banana bread mug cake. Alongside some of Emily’s delicious peanut butter chocolate chip cookies + glasses o’ milk!



After spending a night at Fiona’s house, we ate breakfast and then drove up to her summer house on Tuesday afternoon.


made some banana oatmeal for the ladies

Rachel DJ’d in the car, and it was a classic grooves-mobile fest with backseat dancing and off-pitch sing-alongs.

And in no time, we arrived at the summer house!


Fiona calls it her “heaven on earth”, and I can 100% see why she does. There may not have been any cell service or wifi, but there were crystal clear waters, breathtaking views, and foliage for dayzzzz.

We were only at her summer house for 2.5 days, but it felt like we were there for a week. Fiona did warn us that time slows down at this place, but I didn’t believe her until I experienced it.

Look at how cute it is!

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When we arrived, Fiona gave us a tour of the grounds, and then we went into town to buy groceries for the next few days.

The ONE stressor I had during the trip was when I got a call from my job (which I start today) about a form that I never received via email but that I needed to fill out, sign, and send by the next morning. It was actually a miracle that we were in town getting groceries when I got that call, because if we were back at the summer house, I never would have known because there’s no service there. Thank God for smart phones, because I was able to access my email, fill out the form, sign it digitally, and send it back in time.


Chips, salsa, PB&J’s and salads for lunch!


Followed by a lovely little hike to the waterfall.

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self-timing it on a waterfall




UGH so cool.

The rest of the night involved reading, playing Clue, eating chili (that Fiona’s mom made and sent up with us!) and s’mores!


Chili and fires in the summer? Ya. ‘Twas pretty chilly up there actually (plus no heat). Rachel saved our cold butts with her fire-making skills. So Midwestern.



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I made “fluffernutter” s’mores with peanut butter instead of chocolate — 10/10 recommend

We snuggled into our beds by 10:30 pm (!!!). After some girl chat, we fell asleep to the sound of a legit babbling brook that flows by her house. People pay good money for that sound!

Rachel and I could not stop saying, “This is a dream. This is out of a novel.”


In an effort to gain feeling in my frozen feet in the morning, I went outside for some moves by the babbling brook. I did Jess’ lean legs workout (with some modifications).


I still couldn’t feel my feet after I finished the workout. They were ice cubes.

Nothing a good breakfast can’t fix though! Pancakes for breakfast!


We made buttermilk pancakes from a mix (added chocolate chips and/or banana) and ate them with a slew of toppings (peanut butter with the richest full fat vanilla Greek yogurt for me) and glasses o’ milk in cute mason jars. Eaten out on the porch. DREAMZ I TELL YOU.

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After breakfast, we spotted beavers, played Sequence, did each others’ hair, tanned on the deck, and plunged ourselves into the freezing cold river as per Fiona’s tradition.

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so cold, so exhilarating

We had a late lunch of tacos with all the works.

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Followed by more reading, relaxing, and probably some napping. We decided on movie night with s’mores for dinner.


“You look like a frog.” – Rachel

We did a double feature of The Notebook and Hairspray. It was my first time watching both! (I know, I know. I’m only an eon behind on watching The Notebook.)


Our last day at the summer house started with leftover pancakes…


…cleaning, packing, reading (I finished The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis— also 10/10 recommend!), hiking…

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photos cannot do this view justice

…and a farewell to the summer house (for now!).

Back at Fiona’s house (and back to 432872 notifications on our phones), we ate a light dinner. Then Fiona took us to Bellvale Farms Creamery, aka the most incredible ice cream place of all time.

First of all, the drive to this place was beautiful. Secondly, we passed by the actual Bellvale Farm (like, we basically said hi to the cows that made the milk in our ice cream).


Thirdly, their ice cream flavors were excellent. I had “Calf Trax” (vanilla ice cream with peanut butter swirl and mini peanut butter cups) + cookies ‘n’ cream in a waffle cone. No words. Fourthly, this is the view right outside their doors:


I won’t stop thinking about it for the rest of the summer.


Rachel and I are gonna make sure Fiona gets engaged at this spot.

Our night ended with watching The Intern (such a sweet movie!) and deep chats.


I think I’m allergic to Fiona’s cat (whose meows sound like a whining human) because I scratched my eye so hard in my sleep that I woke up with my eye half shut and swollen. Whoops.

I made us some more oatmeal and then we headed out for some tennis! Fiona is actually good at tennis, Rachel can hold a good volley, and I spent most of my time fetching the tennis balls that I hit out of the court.


For our last meal together, we went to Fiona’s favorite local Mexican restaurant. We shared guac to start, and I ordered a chicken and a vegetable taco.



I am beyond grateful to have spent such a rejuvenating and beautiful week with two of my best friends. Thank you so much again, Fiona. ♥︎ I miss you both already!

Something valuable I learned from those 48 hours unplugged is that, truly, you have so much time when you’re not always on your phone/playing music/checking emails. I was able to focus on one task at a time, reflect, and do a lot without the distraction of technology. I’ll keep all this in mind as I start work today (I’ll talk more about that later!) and continue on with my life.

So tell me:

Have you ever spent an extended amount of time in a place with no service?

What was the best thing you did last week?

Do you have a special place where you like can retreat? 


15 thoughts on “48 Hours Unplugged

  1. Looks like a great “off the grid” experience. I sometimes love it when I forget my phone at home and are left alone with my thoughts for the day. Everything is there when I get back, so I don’t feel as stressed 🙂 Have a great week!

  2. Wow, off the grid experiences are LITERALLY so refreshing. They rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul like no other thing does. It looks like you got to eat delicious food, spend precious moments out in God’s AMAZING creation, and just enjoy our marvelous and loving Father’s provision. That ice cream? Nothing beats local ice cream…. :)) We once spent about 10-12 days out in Alaska off the grid. One of the best things we did as a family. We listened to so many sermons together, spent hours out in the snow, read so many books, sang, watched Sherlock Holmes, and read books out loud. It was ABSOLUTELY precious. We got flown into the cabin, so we had to bring all the food we wanted for 10 days. We ran out of milk towards the end, but it was really pretty an amazing experience.

  3. I literally went on a holiday reading this post. This is absolutely beautiful… what a precious experience! I can’t remember the last time I was ‘unplugged’ for a significant period of time. I would love to have that experience, but am anxious that I wouldn’t have enough to ‘distract’ me from my own head! Did you find that difficult at all?
    The best thing I did last week… probably having dinner with the boy.
    The Blue Mountains would have to be the best place to retreat to around Sydney!

    • I actually fear the though of being with my own thoughts sometimes! But once I was in that kind of peaceful atmosphere, my mind just kinda wandered in a nice way, not in a stressful way. Having a book to read and friends to chat with was also helpful!
      And I just looked up The Blue Mountains— OH MY GOODNESS. I want to go there. So badly.

  4. It’s so funny since I actually just published a blog post about the benefits of unplugging from the Internet earlier today! I was without service a few weekends ago when my family and I went to a beach house and it was annoying at first, but so refreshing by the end! Lots of reading and walking along the beach. So jealous of your waterfall hike though – looks like the perfect haven!

  5. That summer house is stunning. You know what else is stunning? That PB&J. I don’t know why, but that is just a very satisfying-looking lunch right there. Sounds like a wonderful weekend, Alison! I love how mobile you and your friends are with your adventures! I LOVED the Great Divorce! Such an incredible book with an interesting perspective on theology and the afterlife.

  6. This sounds like it was an amazing weekend for you, spiritually and mentally. It’s amazing how much you can absorb when you’re with the right crew and in the right setting. And also, definitely going to try the fluffernutter s’mores hack. Peanut butter > everything.

  7. This mini-vacation looks amazing! You definitely made me miss my best friends. 😩 Sequence is such a fun game! Who won? Hehehe And I don’t think I could jump into the freezing river so all the claps for you three 👏 👏 👏

    On a weeklong cruise last summer, there was no service on board the ship. Time really did slow down and I accomplished so much just in one day. It’s crazy! Strangely, it was also a very humbling experience.

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