“What do you want to do?” “I don’t know; what do you want to do?” Does this exchange sound familiar? My husband and I often have this conversation before a date night or in this case, when deciding on a vacation. This summer these words were said quite a few times and before we knew it, our kid-free weekend loomed near. We needed a plan, and quick!
We wanted to do something fun for just the two of us, it needed to be within driving distance since we had two nights of free childcare (we were cashing in a Christmas gift from my parents-a way awesome gift for parents with small children), and we wanted to do or go somewhere different from previous trips. We crossed more things off the list than we added, but then suddenly, in the final hour, I had a plan! We were going to have a staycation!
I must admit, my husband wasn’t as keen on this idea as I was. He wanted to get away, but I was determined to show him that staying at home could be a vacation too. Hey, we weren’t going to have kiddos around for two whole nights-that is a vacation right there! I found many positives in this situation. We could sleep in the comfort of our own bed, sleep past 6 AM if we wanted, we didn’t need to spend time packing, we would save a bunch of money on gas, and we could do some of the things we’ve always wanted to try in our town of Storm Lake, Iowa.
I figured we hit most of our must-haves. We would have fun, be within driving distance of home, and minus staying in our own house, we would be doing something different. I started making a list of the things I wanted to try. By the time my list was done, there was more on it than we would accomplish, but we had options!
My list went a little something like this:
- White House 220 Cupcakery in Alta
- Inspiration Vines and Wines
- Harker House
- Some kind of water activity on the lake
- Walk or bike ride by the lake
- Municipal Band Concert
- Golf or Mini Golf
- Movie at the Vista 3 Theater
- Picnic by the lake
- Disc Golf
- Storm Lake Farmers Market
- Storm Lake Bakery donuts for breakfast
If anyone says there’s nothing to do in Storm Lake, give them this list. It will take a little while to accomplish all of these. This isn’t even a comprehensive list-it was what I could come up with 5 minutes of spare time. With more time, I could find things to keep someone busy for a week!
Anyway, with our kids safely deposited with grandparents, it was time to start our very first staycation! Our first stop was the White House 220 Cupcakery in Alta. You can read my blog post about this amazing experience here. We picked up a few extra cupcakes and enjoyed them later that night with neighbors over a bottle of wine.
We slept in the next morning. It is amazing what a little extra sleep can do! We decided to head to the Storm Lake Bakery for donuts before heading to the Farmer’s Market. The bakery was out of everything breakfast-ish. I guess that’s what happens when you sleep in! After deciding that cookies probably aren’t the best way to start the day, we continued on to the Storm Lake Farmer’s Market. We checked out the vegetables, farm-fresh eggs, honey, jellies and jams, and baked goods. We picked up some amazing local honey and a couple cinnamon rolls. We walked a few blocks and enjoyed our breakfast in a gazebo on the corner of Lake Avenue and 4th Street.
After a trip to Wal-Mart, (I know this is not an amazing stay-cation stop, but going to a store together without two extra helpers was enjoyable), we made a picnic lunch to enjoy by the lake. Another thing checked off the list! We went for a walk and checked out the water rentals by Kings Pointe. We were bummed to find out the water bikes were out of commission for an undetermined amount of time. So, we resorted to plan B and borrowed our friend’s jet ski on short notice. It had been years since we had been on the lake, and it was so much fun! I don’t think I ever really appreciated the enormity or beauty of the lake as much as I did when I was actually in the middle of it! If you don’t own a boat or other watercraft, here are a couple places to check out in Storm Lake: Kings Pointe and Storm Lake Marina.
After an afternoon of water fun, we cooked ourselves a yummy meal to enjoy in our backyard. We watched a movie at home and called it a night. The next morning we took advantage of the time to ourselves and we accomplished a few jobs around our house. The draw back of a staycation is you don’t really get away from the things you know need to be done!
Another afternoon leisurely stroll on the walking path led us to Sunset Park where the Storm Lake Municipal Band was setting up for an afternoon concert. We stuck around to hear them play awhile before heading home. The group of musicians did an exceptional job entertaining the crowd. We saw one of the last concerts of the year, so be sure to check them out next year. You can find their schedule here.
By the time we got home, our kiddos were back again too. They were excited to tell us about the ‘vacation’ they had with their grandparents, and we were excited to see them. There was no luggage to unpack or mounds of laundry to tackle, so we had plenty of time to hear their stories.
I’d say our staycation was a success. We crossed 6 of the 12 things off our list. Not too bad! The others will be saved for another day-perhaps even another staycation! So, if you find yourself wondering what you are going to do for a date night or even a weekend vacation, start to look around your hometown or surrounding communities. You may just find there are plenty of new and fun things to do without leaving the comfort of your own home.