Away from Home in Our Own Backyard

This past weekend was my daughter’s fall break from school. Does a kindergartener really need a “break” per se? I don’t know, but I’m sure her teacher appreciated a few days away from her charges.
When I was teaching, I wasn’t a fan of quick get aways over long weekends. I really liked to have time at home, since I didn’t spend a lot of time there. Coming home on Sunday nights was always exhausting, and I felt “off” the whole week after coming home. Now that I spend nearly all of my time at home, I was itching to make a quick escape.

Where could we go? What should we do? How much would it all cost?

We decided to journey only an hour away. This saved on travel time and on gas — the round trip used less than a half tank of gas. While it was a little weird to stay in our time zone & keep the same radio stations on in the car, it was far enough away to be a break from the norm.

We spent the first day of the getaway at a State Park (entrance fee: $5), exploring the trails, playgrounds, and nature center. We packed a picnic for lunch and the supplies for a cookout for dinner — the day was basically free, yet we made so many memories. We walked and talked with our children for hours straight. The weather was perfect, and it’s a day our family will remember for a long time.

Normally, we would have turned around and driven home, but since this was our getaway, we headed to our hotel for the evening. A little research online showed that rooms one exit south of the state park were about $40 a night cheaper, so we drove 13 miles south and checked into our room. Our kids love hotels — the big cushy bed, the rollaway bed, the deep bath tub, breakfast buffet, pool and cable television are all novelties to them. We spent the morning at the hotel using the above amenities — all included in the room price.

After lunch out (at a local deli — we try to eat local when we can on the road), we made it to a small children’s museum. We spent the afternoon together blowing bubbles, trying out a climbing wall, shooting basketballs and so much more.

We were home by about 5pm in the afternoon, but it felt like we’d been gone for days. And I realized that I loved our little getaway. Here’s why:
1) It was short enough not to require a lot of packing or planning. The four of us used one suitcase
2) It was close to 36 hrs of family time–there was cruddy cell phone reception where we were, so the adults weren’t distracted by emails or phone calls.
3) When travelling, there are no dishes to do, laundry to fold, floors to vacuum or beds to make. This frees up so much time, the days away really seem leisurely.
4) We weren’t gone so long that “re-entry” was any big deal. I didn’t need a weekend to recover from my weekend.

This past weekend was a huge success, so much so that I’m already plotting our next “little” get away.

What kind of quick trips do you take?  How long of a drive are you willing to make for just a night or two away from home?

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