Love Pittsburgh’s vibrant food scene but need to escape the city? There is a group of local chefs and hoteliers throwing a five-star party every weekend in the middle of a farm field.
Hideaway Co., which was launched in the fall of 2020 in the Laurel Highlands, is deep into its second season at a new location, Branch Bender Cidery in Deep Creek, Maryland. Created by Anna Baird, formerly of the Ace Hotel, the high-end food and drink “glamping” experience exists purely because of the pandemic.
“I’m not much of one to sit around and wait,” Baird says. She watched hotels abroad relocate to the countryside and saw no reason why Pittsburghers couldn’t do the same.
The purpose of essentially creating a hotel in a farm field was two-pronged, says Baird. She wanted to offer an opportunity for those in the hospitality industry to get back to work while creating a safe and special travel experience during the pandemic.
Pittsburgh has become known for reinventing itself in a sort of Rust Belt revival, and Baird’s project is yet another example of that ingenuity and flexibility.
The team on the ground at the farm is largely local. A rotation of Burgh-based chefs has been spending this season at Hideaway Co., including Jamilka Borges of Wild Child, Kate Romane of black radish kitchen and Jen Urich of Farmer x Baker.
Hideaway’s talented culinary director Kevin Hunninen oversees the food and beverage experience, building relationships with local farmers and producers in Garrett County for a farm-to-table experience. Using only a food truck and an outdoor kitchen with a generator, the team plates meals that rival any restaurant in the city limits.
Local artisans also welcome guests to participate in their crafts, with offerings such as block printing and felting. Excursions to neighboring farms, ATV and horseback rides, or rafting trips on the Youghiogheny River can also be booked through the hospitality team. Just as important, guests can also choose to sit and do nothing at all, taking a much-needed Wi-Fi-free break from the grind of real life.
At night, guests sleep in queen beds inside tents scattered throughout the field. No one is roughing it, though. Four safari tents hold actual bathrooms — complete with teak flooring, showers and flush toilets. The bathrooms are solar-powered, and every effort is made by Hideaway Co. to be conscious of the environmental impact on the farmland. Even the compost from preparing meals feeds the pigs at local Wildom Farm.
The first two seasons have been full of unexpected joys and surprises for the team that have spurred their excitement about 2022. One moment stands out for the crew, says Baird. During a weekend featuring Remy Wines, an unusual connection was made.
“Remy happens to be a huge opera fan and it just so happened we had an opera singer with us as a guest. So at dessert, we all got an extra treat — the opening sonata from ‘Carmen.’”
The fall schedule still has tents available through Oct. 17 before the 2022 season begins booking for May. Single occupancy starts at $300 per weekend, with double occupancy at $600. Kids under 10 stay for free, and meals are à la carte ranging from $5 for breakfast up to $75 for dinner entrees.
If you don’t get a chance to go before the season closes but can’t wait until May, Hideaway Co. will be popping up around Pittsburgh for private and public events.