Out of the loop

Cutting back on technology is a bit like dieting: you start with the best intentions, but eventually the potato chips lure you back.

I’ve tried to wean us off the TV but it was too tempting. The only solution was to go cold turkey.

Capon Springs

Which is why we booked a vacation at Capon Springs — a family retreat in West Virginia. I hadn’t been there in 30 years but little has changed. The grounds are green and landscaped, the pool is positively frigid (fed by spring water) and the rooms are basic. No TV, no air conditioning. Just the fundamental amenities.

Sitting room, in the main building

And when you’re subsisting on fundamental amenities, losing electricity doesn’t seem that catastrophic. At least that’s what we thought after Friday night’s storm. Martin had packed his entire flash light collection and the resort ran its kitchen and water supply on a backup generator. Living low-tech wasn’t a great stretch.

We paddled in the pool and hiked the woods, blissfully unaware that the outage was anything but local. A symptom of our mountainous setting, we assumed, until a blip of technology wriggled through: a text message from the farm sitter. Everyone’s ok but obviously no power.

That’s how we learned about the storm’s wide swath and the magnitude of the outage.

The resort talked about shutting down but remained open for those who wished to stay.

We wished to stay. A sweet setting with meals, functioning plumbing and a pool beat a simpering farm with a bunch of needy animals.

Sunday afternoon we returned to reality, just as the power company restored electricity. The farm escaped the worst of the storm.

And what did those kids do back at home? They went straight for the TV and reached for the ipad. I cracked open the computer.

Despite the convenience of ice cubes and overhead lights, I’d rather be back at Capon Springs — bobbing in the pool or tucked in our woodsy cottage, listening to a rumbly generator.