This was the most unplanned trip I had ever taken. Ever is a strong word, but it’s up there. It had been almost a year since the pandemic started and things shut down. It was January, the long weekend with Martin Luther King Jr Day. Jake and I were becoming exceedingly frustrated and short-tempered. We had a lot of challenges that year; I’m a teacher and for a time we were full time parents for Jake’s two sons.
Things were starting to let up and we were able to have more weekends to ourselves again. A dear friend suggested that we take a trip to connect with each other and leave all responsibility behind. But there still wasn’t a lot to do, so many things were still closed or at least very limited.
Jake and I talked about taking this weekend and he definitely agreed. I asked him, since he’s lived here much longer, where should we go or where could we go that wasn’t super expensive and that had some fun things we could enjoy. He suggested Williams, Arizona. First we found a hotel, just a basic Quality Inn and booked it for three nights. I scoured the internet for restaurant ideas, especially because I’m vegan and I wanted to make sure I had options and I sure did! With restaurants checked and hotel booked, we remembered this wasn’t going to be a go wild and do all the things trip. We wanted to really spend intentional time with each other, relax and reconnect.
Packing was super easy for this trip; basic clothes and toiletries, cozy pajamas because it was actually going to be cold up there. We had a mini fridge in our room so we went to the store to get some snacks and drinks to bring up. I even found some new wine to try - Flybird Margarita Wine. We were super excited and I couldn’t wait to not look at things to clean and unpack (we had bought and moved into our house four months earlier so there was still a lot to do). Sure I cleaned up a little, but I decided to leave the big things until we got home. We hopped in the car Saturday morning and headed out.
While I don’t remember everything specific from this trip (a big reason for working on this blog, by the way) I do remember that we took a lot of naps. We probably even took one after we arrived because - best thing ever - our room was ready early. I’m sure this is one of those holy grail things on vacations. Plus Williams is a three hour drive from our house, so rest was very welcome. I remember going to the Pine Country Restaurant that had an amazing veggie burger. My belly was super happy about that, and my heart was happy when we got back to the car and Jake had a surprise for me. He had picked up this super cute mini plush dragon for me at one of the gas stations. Surprises are so much his forte and this was my favorite part of the trip.
Sunday we actually woke up reasonably early and had a basic breakfast from the hotel. Don’t get me wrong - nothing beats unlimited Froot Loops at a hotel. I just bring my own almond milk. The one thing Jake decided I needed to experience was Bearizona. It’s a drive through wildlife preserve and if you happen to go there, go early. For one, it gets busy. But the best (and one part of the trip I will never forget) was driving by the wolves who were just waking up. They were letting out that low melancholy-style howl and it was music to my ears. Of course I had to quote Dracula in the car “Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!”. The whole drive through and walk through experience were wonderful, and I was even able to convince Jake to have lunch at the Canyonlands Restaurant inside Bearizona (Jake is not a big fan of themed restaurants at tourist stops). Even he agreed that the food was good and the scenery inside was worth it.
Monday was our drive home. We had actually rested that weekend. We didn’t go nuts driving all over, but we did walk around Route 66 a bit. Bonus - I highly recommend the Bayou by You. So good, and it felt like that little hidden gem I would never expect in a small town. We loved sleeping in two out of the three mornings, and napping whenever we felt like it. The only must-do was Bearizona, and also enjoy eating out and not having to clean up any dishes for the whole weekend. That was glorious I tell you. Special mention for the Grand Canyon Brewing and Distillery - also some super yum food, felt so relaxed and the tables were so inspiring! Yes tables can be inspiring if they are carved wood with resin pours.
So would I call this trip a success on intention? For one of my first intentional trips, yup!
We planned to NOT do a lot - spend more time resting in the room or making sure we had meals. Was it difficult? Oh heck yes, especially for me. Jake has this wonderful ability to let himself rest and relax, but I do not. Working on that, however. I loved the places we chose to visit, how much time we just spent with each other and enjoying time to just be. The food was excellent and I really want to try again this weekend. Bonus; the hotel was pretty close to everything and we could have walked to a lot of places but the goal was to relax. And I even got to experience cold weather again and play in the snow.
So until next time, any suggestions for really good three-day-weekend trips for relaxation and spending time with loved ones?