If youíre a planner, lots of you have your vacations already booked for next year. Good for you! But have you ever just woken up and decided today was the day you were taking off for some unknown destination? We have done this. One Sunday we were reading the travel section about a little town on the Jersey Shore, and the next morning we were waking up the kids to shove stuff in a suitcase. Granted my husband is self-employed and I was still a stay-at-home mom then, but oh those memories. It was a thrill to get in the car and just go. We ended up in Point Pleasant, N.J. and we stayed on the beach there for five days. If youíre not too picky, you can score a decent motel for a great price. It was clean and in walking distance to the shore. We ate clams and soft shell crab, explored the boardwalk, took in an aquarium, and played in the very rough surf. Here is where Belle and I were almost done in by a huge wave! We had a little money, enough to go, and we went and spent it wisely Ė but most of all we made memories.
Youíre probably thinking, how in the world could you do that? Just take off without preparation? I say, how can you not? Here is what I tell you: this is what your kids will remember. To this day they still talk about the excitement of getting up and heading down the road. Spontaneity is the cure for most stress-related ills. It takes you out of your everyday and bursts you back into life.
Another way of getting out of the everyday doldrums is to take a weekend away. This past weekend we took a trek to southern Ohio to watch our son play in a soccer tournament with his team. My husbandís work has been exceptionally stressful lately, and I had a hard time getting him to agree to go to this tourney. On the way down he was uptight and had a hard time letting go, but once we were on the sidelines of the game, heat wave be darned, he was screaming his stress away and started to relax. The rest of the weekend was a lovely blur of heat, humidity, and fun. We scored a nice motel, which after checking several, was the best deal. The online price was cheaper than the call in price, and with our AAA discount was even cheaper. He took every opportunity between games to crawl into that soft king-size bed and fall asleep. We even took the opportunity to shop a little at the very huge outlet mall across the street from the hotel. Here, he scored a pair of tennis shoes at the Nike store that he had wanted Ė they were one quarter of the price he wouldíve paid at a regular store. We went home happy, sunburned, and ready to face our work week.
If you feel yourself coiling up inside so tightly that you canít breathe, itís time to get away. Drive up to Lake Erie and meander the road that hugs the shoreline, head to the West Side Market in Cleveland and explore that and the beautiful eclectic Ohio City it sits in, or trek south to Columbus and explore German Village. If the spirit so moves you, pack a light bag, get in your car, and head south to the beach. Search for tiny hotels that are eclectic and vibrant. We traveled Route 66 about 12 years ago and stayed in all the funky hotels along its path Ė cheap and achingly satisfying rooms to us. But thatís a story for another day.
1) AAA Ė do it. Itís more than just a roadside service, and itís saved me three times in the past year with its services. It gives you a discount on hotels, yes, but did you know you can use it for a discount at many stores we frequent all the time? The cheapest package starts at $54 per year. Go to http://ohio.aaa.com/?zip=44654&devicecd=PC and discover everything it has to offer.
2) If youíve never been to Ohio City and the West Side Market now is the time to go. Its tiny bistros and cafes are amazing, while the market is ever the place to find fun foods and produce. We often go here on our anniversary. Go to http://www.ohiocity.org/ and http://www.westsidemarket.org/ to find out more. Also, Point Pleasant, N.J. was a great getaway http://www.pointpleasantbeach.com/
3) Donít go through your life without living it. Once again, the Simple Mom has hit the nail on the head with this blog http://simplemom.net/things-not-to-miss-this-summer/#more-20424. We have to delve into life Ė not simply move through it.
Published: July 8, 2012