A 1920s cookstove foiled one guest accustomed to electricity
Author: Dan Latu
More travelers addicted to their phones are seeking out the greatest escape of all: a complete "digital detox." As a result — and fueled further by the demand for socially distanced stays during the pandemic — many short-term-rental owners have built off-the-grid accommodations. Take John Kernohan, who set up a compound of unplugged spots in Georgia during the early months of 2020. Now, his 16-acre property includes a yurt, a school bus, geodesic domes, and tiny homes. Loftis said he encourages guests at his Missouri cabin to "turn off your cell phone, walk through the woods, sit by the water, have a cup of coffee in the mornings." But not every stay goes as smoothly. To add to the rustic mood of his cabin, Loftis has furnished it with antiques, including a clawfoot tub and a 1920s gas-powered cookstove. He includes detailed instructions for their operation in his guest handbook and makes frequent offers to help, he said. One guest accidentally turned on the propane for the stove, then struggled to understand how to light it. When she finally managed to light it, a flame exploded in her face and even singed some of her hair. Thankfully, she was safe, but it reminded Loftis that many guests are unfamiliar with old-school appliances. "A lot of people just always use electric products. They haven't used a flammable propane product before," Loftis said. "There's a learning curve."