Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Running Away Step One: Location, Location, Location






Here's my opinion about running away.

Location is key.

A lot of people think that to truly have a vacation, to truly escape, you have to go far and spend much and use a passport.

That's a bunch of hooey.

Here's my criteria for a vacation.

Am I picking gum out of a small child's hair? No? Boom. Vacation.
Am I rewashing mildewed laundry? No? Boom. Vacation.
Am I worrying that the air conditioner isn't cooling below 75? No? Boom. Vacation.
Am I sleeping at least six straight hours? YES! Boom. Vacation.

Every state, every town, has somewhere fabulous to go within a three hour drive. You don't have to buy a plane ticket. You just need a tank of gas and a spouse to wish good luck as you walk out the door, leaving that underachieving air conditioner behind.

My go-to place is Eureka Springs. It's a Victorian era town built into the side of a mountain. The Crescent Hotel sits at the very top, overlooking the town and surrounding mountains. That's where I stayed. I ate breakfast in the old ballroom, with its dark walnut paneled walls and crystal chandeliers. I watched weddings on the lawn. I sat at the rooftop bar while the sun went down. I got my nails done in the basement spa , which used to be a morgue during the building's brief stint as a cancer hospital (cause you guys know I'm not truly having fun unless there's a creepy crawly factor at play).

It's spooky. It's beautiful. I was able to walk into town without my car. I strolled the grounds amid flowers and trees and twinkle lights in the evening. And then I returned to my room just in time to catch a group of ghost hunters pointing meters at my door while saying, "There's a lot of energy here."

At that particular juncture I'd walked no less than 400 miles on the hilly mountain streets and my hamstrings were coding. I wouldn't have cared if the ghost of Elvis was haunting my room. I'd have said "move over and be quiet" before falling asleep in his face.

So, in summation, don't feel like you have to do something huge and expensive in order to get away. Look at your state's website and pick a place. A lodge. A spa. A town chock full of antique stores. There is always somewhere interesting within driving distance. And don't forget, there's always your local Holiday Inn with its pool, perfectly working air conditioners, and non-mildewed towels.