Monday, December 7, 2015

The Staycation Makeover

I'll be honest, I've never liked the idea of a staycation before. My time off is sacred, so why would I spend my time bumming around my own dumb house? But with not a lot of money and zero planning on our side, I was pretty worried that we were going to have a lame week off.  Now, I do know how to appreciate the calmer side of life, and enjoy the fine art of relaxing. BUT I also know that without plans, I'll fritter away the free time that I have and then berate myself for it later. So how to make a staycation fun?
  1. Step up. Stop thinking of all the stuff that will make this not work. Shut up and think about how cool this can be.
  2. Plan it. Create a list of things that you can feasibly do within a day's drive. Zoos, aquariums, hikes, National parks, museums, historic places, theaters, wineries, breweries, theme parks, classes, etc. Create a list of things you'd like to accomplish for yourself that you don't normally get time to do - write, try that new restaurant, read that book, do some art, etc. Build in time to chill - go to the pool, the beach, take a nap. Do not play Candy Crush. Unplug for a bit. And don't forget to
  4. Do it. This is the important part. 

How it went: 

With very little planning - I'm pretty sure we decided the first Monday of our week off- we made  it happen.
I made a list of all the stuff I could think of that we might want to do - various beer and wine tastings, the Edgar Allan Poe Museumparty bike in Richmond, the National Zoo, Smithsonian museums, various caverns, zip-lining somewhere, tubing down the James River, canoeing/kayaking... the list goes on. We've done a lot of museums in Richmond, and seen a lot of other attractions close by, so we pared it down to these fun things:

Day 1 (Monday): Luray Caverns

Dream Lake in Luray Caverns

A rainy day, I didn't expect to get much done that first day, especially since we were just now getting around to making a list of stuff to do. Luckily! The Hubs had never been to Luray Caverns before, and it had been a REALLY long time for me. Since he studied a lot of geology in college, I figured he'd really enjoy it. Plus, it was crummy weather - cloudy, humid, and on and off rain. Luckily, Luray Caverns was open until 7pm, so we had plenty of time to get out there and hang around. They also randomly have an old automobile museum, which we visited briefly afterwards.  We stopped and got smoothies on the way there, and when we came back, we made a quick meal and rented a movie.

Day 2 (Tuesday): National Zoo

We love zoos and aquariums, and try to go to them wherever we are. BUT Chris had never been the National Zoo in D.C. before. I knew we'd have to leave early, but we'd stayed up late and I was a zombie in the morning. The Hubs shoved my butt out of bed and told me he'd drive. Even with a little rain, it was an AMAZING DAY! I would have liked to see some more museums while we were up there, but the National Zoo is an all-day affair, and you'll get a lot of exercise in. It's FREE, and it's pretty big, so wear some comfy shoes. By the time we were done, I was ready for a cold beer, so we stopped and got one and some fish and chips before heading home! 
Mouse deer!

Day 3 (Wednesday): Relaxing Day at the Lake

Beach time! My parents live near a little lake about 30 minutes from us, and going to one of the lake beaches there is the perfect way to unwind. Not to mention, the weather was absolutely perfect. We stayed and ate dinner with my folks - one less dinner to worry about! Then we met up with my brother and friend to catch the big night for the meteor shower from their rooftop with a bottle of wine between us. It was such a good idea to build in a day to relax. 

Day 4 (Thursday): Sandy River Adventure Park

Now, I have on my bucket list that I needed to go zip-lining before I turn 30. My ultimate goal is to go zip-lining across the New River Gorge in West Virginia, but that was going a long way for a day trip, and we didn't plan well enough to make that happen this time. But! I did find this awesome adventure park about an hour from us in Farmville, Virginia, where zip-lining is built into this sweet obstacle course. You can read more about it on the Sandy River Adventure Park website. It was so much fun. Wish we'd had more time to do the High Bridge Trail and rent some kayaks, but c'est la vie. We had a late lunch at a sandwich shop before coming home and hitting the shower - boy, were we sweaty by the end of the day! 

For dinner, we hit up a tapas restaurant in town that we'd been meaning to try. Although it didn't live up to my expectations, I was definitely glad we got to try it! If you are looking for a recommendation, though, I'd do The Local over this any day.
Sandy River Adventure Park

Day 5 (Friday): Tubing down the James River

Tubing down the James River. We try to do this every summer, but hadn't gotten around to it this go 'round. Having grown up along the Rivanna, I really wanted to make this happen on our week off, so we set off with some friends and did the Hatton Ferry to Scottsville trip using our own inner tubes. Again, beautiful weather was bestowed upon us. We were ravenous when we got back  to Scottsville, so we stopped in at Tavern on the James for some delicious burgers and (more) beer. 

Day 6 (Saturday): Beach, take 2 

Beach again. More great weather. Lots of bumming it. Good way to end the week!

Day 7 (Sunday): Wine tasting

My Grandma was staying with my parents for the week, and we all went wine tasting at Blenheim Vineyards in the afternoon. Fun fact: Blenheim is owned by Dave Matthews and he actually designs some of the wine labels as well!

That's all folks! 

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