DEFINE "UNPLUG," PLEASE: Some terms become buzzy nearly overnight, or at least over a few months, taking on a load of meaning, and various interpretations, before the general populace decides, almost without discussion, to retire the word altogether. "Unplug" is such a multi-faceted word, as trendy as all get-out in these times of staring at our palms and the screens in our laps while we swear, we absolutely vow, we're signing off and decompressing for a few hours. But is unplugging simply hiding one's phone in the drawer for the afternoon during a quick family getaway, or is it visiting a place where electricity is not happening and old-school lanterns, games, and pastimes rule the roost?
KEROSENE SCENE: Yep, there are many interpretations of unplug-a-tude, but we'll vote that the latter sounds pretty nice, at least for a couple of nights, in our super-connected-always society. Drakesbad Guest Ranch is one of the centers of unplug-a-tude in California. True, this is in part due to the property's fairly remote location, in Lassen Volcanic National Park, but consider that most of the rooms on the property lack electricity. So rather than getting the hotel's wifi password at the front desk, you are instead given the specifics about your kerosene lamp, which are the items seen in guests' hands come nightfall (versus the typical glowing rectangle.
FRIDAY, JUNE 5... is the 2015 opening date (the Drakesbad observes a warm-weather season, closing in October). Reservations are open now, and guests should consider, when they book, all of the pursuits they'll want to fill their stay with: fishing, archery, and trotting by horseback. And, yes, stargazing, which is so much easier when you're looking up and not down at your hand. Want to know unplug-a-tude in one of its purest forms, the "there's no electricity in this room" route? Best map your route to the northern national park, with plans to stow your phone when you arrive.