While I do have a couple of true travel posts here at Dressed for My Day, my emphasis is clearly on fashion and beauty. So yeah, I guess I usually focus on appearance. But even that focus has a greater goal. My aim has always been to help us older ladies show up for our days beautifully so that we can graciously impact those around us.
I also know the strong connection between our appearance and what’s inside. And for me, that means that to look my best and be my best I occasionally need a reset. Like many of you, I’m longing for a true vacation right now. What I wouldn’t give to jump on a plane to Oregon to visit my favorite beach. But I don’t minimize the impact of a simple change of scenery either. So today I thought we’d talk about how we might safely take even the smallest trip or enjoy a staycation…because we all could use a change of scenery from time to time.
Now I know that some of my readers are already traveling a good bit. And if you feel safe, then I’m all for it. But I do have a number of readers who are older than myself and have chosen to stick close to home during this pandemic. I also know that many of my readers are caregivers for someone with a compromised immune system, and they, too, have chosen not to take vacations during this past year.
While James and I had originally planned to join my parents for a week at their Florida condo this month, we opted not to because we didn’t want to “pick up something” as we journeyed there and then spread that to my mom and dad. So I know we’re all making individual decisions that work the best for us and our loved ones. I want to be sensitive to that range of comfort levels, and I’d like to request that my readers be sensitive in the comment section, too. Of course you will. I have the best blog community.
I have a lot of new readers here, so some of you may not know that my husband and I moved cross-country from Arizona to Ohio less than two years ago. We have been enjoying getting to know our new home by taking monthly day trips or even overnight getaways to places in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. And while we have definitely changed things up a bit during the pandemic, we have not stopped getting out to explore. It’s been important for our marriage, our personal mental health, our adjustment to our new home and physical well-being.
Option 1 – A Staycation
Recently we even took what we called a “working staycation.” I needed to take photos for the blog, but we had a lot of snow on the ground and temperatures below freezing…in the daytime! So I checked out local hotels to find one with nice indoor spaces, good bathrooms (for my recent L’Oreal skincare and makeup posts), comfortable accommodations and good rates. I got a great deal through Hotels.com, which is always my preferred way to book vacations.
In fact, did you know that Hotels.com offers more than great deals on hotels? They also provide booking opportunities with apartments, bed and breakfasts, condos and, of course, resorts. James and I have booked our vacations exclusively through Hotels.com for years so that, over time, we can accumulate enough stays to earn a free night. We’ve earned dozens of free nights over the years.
To sign up for the rewards program you only have to provide an email and first and last name. For every 10 nights booked with Hotels.com you’ll earn a free night’s stay at the hotel of your choice worth the average cost of those 10 other bookings. Just by signing up you also unlock “secret prices,” providing you with better savings. That’s how we scored a weekend night at a 4-star hotel for 50% of the normal rate.
Actually, I think hotels, bed and breakfasts and resorts have really been hurting during the pandemic. So they’re really lowering their prices right now to bring in guests. And every hotel we’ve stayed at during the pandemic has gone to extreme measures to ensure our safety and follow CDC protocol.
Pro Tip: Do be aware that pandemic safety protocol is different in various states and municipalities. So check the safety standards in the area you’re considering visiting ahead of time. You’ll find that information for each state HERE.
Whether you plan a working staycation like we did or a more relaxed night in a nearby hotel, I suggest checking out if they have a fitness center, pool, dining options and business center, and, most importantly, how those areas are functioning during the pandemic. I simply called our hotel directly to ask these questions.
We stayed at the Summit Hotel. This particular hotel had one of its restaurants open as well as its morning coffee bar. They also had their rather spacious workout facility open. And I could tell that they were being hypervigilant about cleaning equipment, social distancing, providing ample hand sanitizer and enforcing mask compliance. (In Cincinnati you have to wear a mask in public places right now.)
James and I simply took advantage of our staycation here in Cincinnati to go to some local restaurants that we don’t normally get to. If you’re ever in Cincy, I can heartily recommend the cheeseburgers at Quatman Cafe, which has been in business since 1966. It has a very blue collar feel, friendly service and quite yummy food.
Pro Tip: The beauty of a staycation is that it doesn’t require much travel. So you’re less likely to expose yourself to the virus since you won’t be around other travelers in an airport or stopping at public restrooms.
Option 2 – Stay in a Cabin or Cottage
On another trip, earlier in the fall, we visited Augusta, Kentucky, just on the other side of the Ohio River. That time we stayed in a cabin that was situated behind the Parkview Country Inn. The nice thing about that trip, pandemic-wise, was that we were by ourselves in a cabin and had very little contact with other people.
According to the CDC, the Corona virus is primarily spread through person to person contact. So if you can limit the amount of people you are around while traveling and during your visit, the safer you will be. You can also use the Hotels.com website to book cabins and cottages, as well as condos and homes.
Pro Tip: If you’re staying in a cottage, cabin or other single family occupancy dwelling, you can comfortably take along more comforts of home, such as blankets, pillows, even towels or dishes, if you wish.
I think escaping to a nearby cottage or cabin sounds wonderful. Choose a destination with plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities and you’ll be able to keep a safe distance from others. You also might want to consider visiting such a destination during the “off season.”
Option 3 – Visit an Off Season Destination
That’s exactly what we did when we visited Port Clinton, Ohio, just after Christmas. We felt like we had that darling lakeside town all to ourselves. But as we looked around at the number of summer cottages and trailers, we knew that this town on the shore of Lake Erie undoubtedly is usually swarming with people in the warmer months.
James used Hotels.com to book three nights at the Island House Hotel. This large historic hotel in downtown Port Clinton has 39 guestrooms, and the proprietor told us it is crawling with people during the summer. But during two of the three nights we were there in late December, we were the only guests in the inn. Island House Hotel closed for the winter right after we left, but I know you can find other similar situations in places that have “on” and “off” seasons.
Pro Tip: If you’re headed to an “off season” location, check ahead of time to find out what is and is not open. Be prepared to be creative. You may even want to carry along a deck of cards, games, DVDs and books.
What do you do in a place during “off season?” Ha! You do have to get a little creative. We did a lot of walking, just getting in some good exercise while exploring the quaint downtown. We also drove out to a couple of nature preserves and walked some more. But being outdoors is a great option during this current pandemic. And that leads to my final option for getting a change of scenery.
Option 4 – Take a Day Excursion
While James and I have indeed taken three overnight trips during the pandemic, most of our monthly outings have been daytrips. And really I enjoy these just as much as the overnight stays because they require less planning and packing.
Most of our daytrips have included a stop at a locally owned coffee shop (or two!), lupper (or a late lunch) at a locals’ favorite diner or cafe, a walk through a state park and a stroll through a downtown. Yep. That’s pretty much our formula for a good day. You might have your own formula. Maybe you’d prefer to hunt for antiques, visit a winery or vineyard, bike along a trail, paddle boat on a lake, kayak on a river or take your dog along for company.
Everywhere we’ve gone we carry and wear our facial masks, keep our distance, wash our hands frequently and look for the safest places to stop. In fact, on one excursion that we took with our daughter right after Christmas, we went to a more touristy spot and stayed only a fraction of the time we had budgeted to be there. The attraction was just too crowded for our comfort, and many people didn’t seem to be keeping a distance or wearing masks. So we left.
My husband and I are far from paranoid about this virus, but, as a pastor of a church, he especially has a job where he needs to be available and healthy. So we try to be cautious and conscientious about keeping appropriate protocol, not so much for ourselves, but for other people. So while I’m encouraging you to consider getting out for a daytrip or even an overnight stay, I’m also encouraging you to do what is best for you and the people you love and care about. I think we have to be vigilant and wise, but I also think it’s good for the soul and the spirit to occasionally work in a change of scenery.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments section. Are you getting an occasional change of scenery these days? How are you going about it? But I also ask that we stay away from politics and that we be gracious to one another. These are difficult times enough as it is; we want to keep this blog community a safe and gracious place for us all.
FYI – Affiliate Links
Don’t forget, if you’re planning an overnight getaway, you might want to book through Hotels.com. This link, as well as the fashion links in this post, are affiliate links. That means if you book or buy through them I do earn a commission, but at no additional cost to you. Just think of me as your personal concierge! And thank you for conducting business through my links. This blog and YouTube channel are my fulltime employment, and this is how I contribute to our household budget.
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Blessed for My Day
I hit a rough bump in the road recently when I suddenly found myself in conflict with someone who I highly esteemed. This person misunderstood my actions and misconstrued my motives. It hurt to be misunderstood. And it was frustrating, too. Things felt all knotted up inside. I wanted to fix it; but I couldn’t.
That reminded me of how I frequently used to get my necklaces in a tangle when I was a teenager. I’d try and try to untangle the delicate strand of gold. But I’d only make the tangle worse. Finally I’d take the knotted chain to my Daddy and he would carefully and slowly put right that which I’d made crooked.
So instead of pushing things further and making an even bigger mess of an already complicated situation, I chose to do the only thing I really could do. I ran to my Heavenly Father with my messy relationship problem. I eventually ran to my husband, too. But first I took my problem to God. I meditated on Psalm 25 in His presence and sought His assurance. And slowly but surely He calmed my knotted heart and untangled my emotions. God is good to unravel our tangles if we’ll just take them to Him. (And He’s also been good to give me a wise and understanding husband who is also a master at untangling knots.)
Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me!
Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
for I wait for you. ~ Psalm 25:20-21