So, what makes for a perfect Adventure Getaway? Well, the list would be different for each couple, but Number One on every list should be...
1) The Right Travel Companions
To tell you the truth, the Sanfords and the Lanes didn't always have an easy time traveling together. Back in "The Time Before Kids", Paula and Tim liked to sleep late. Really late. Black-Out-Curtain-Late. Then they liked to sit around in their room drinking coffee, maybe order room service. And there I was, up before dawn whether I liked it or not, and not a coffee drinker, but hungry for breakfast as soon as I opened my eyes, and ready to hit the road running. I was usually back and ready for lunch before the Sanfords had emerged from their room! Luckily, years of workdays plus raising kids and grandkids have shifted their internal clocks a bit closer to mine, though I still have a couple of hours to kill each morning. So, next thing on our list is...
2) Somewhere For Becky to Hang Out Until Everyone Else Wakes Up
I love watching the streets come to life in the wee hours -- seeing people heading off to work, opening their shops, or walking their dogs. So, Jo's Coffee , right next door to our motel, was the ideal place from which to do this. Especially since, in addition to their famous coffee, they can also make a mighty tasty cup of tea or even a Chai Latte.
3) & 4) An Affordable, Interesting, Preferably-Non-Chain Hotel, in a Walkable Community
The first time we stayed at the Hotel Sorella in Houston's City Centre was a real eye-opener. The price was a bit higher than we were accustomed to paying, but they were offering a "Stay two nights, get a third night free!" special, and you didn't have to use all three nights at once. So we came back the following spring and only had to pay for one of our nights. The amazing thing though, was that, once we arrived and parked our car, we didn't need it again until it was time to leave! Everything we could possibly want was right there, within a 10- or 15-minute walk.
We've also stayed at their sister hotel in San Antonio, Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, a couple of times. They too run those 3-for-2 specials periodically, plus you just can't beat the location, midway between The Alamo and El Mercado, and right on the Riverwalk. The first time we went was to celebrate Paula's August birthday. That was a mistake. Never go to San Antonio in August. The last time, however, we went right after Thanksgiving, when the weather was perfect and millions of twinkle lights dripped down from the trees. Pure magic!
On the opposite end of the spectrum from those two, and at the highest end of the Funk Scale, was The Beach Lodge in Port Aransas. The Beach Lodge is pretty much your typical beach bar/cafe, which just happens to have some rooms to rent. You do have to get into your car to get to the shops and restaurants, but hey. You're ON the beach, and you just can't beat those sunrise/sunset walks, not to mention the fantastic people-watching opportunities from their open air cafe!
5) & 6) Great Food & Good Music
I am not ashamed to admit that food is a major part of our adventures. In fact, the first time we went to City Centre there were so very many good options, and so little time, that we ended up having appetizers at one place, entrees at another, and dessert at a third! On the plus side, Paula is always willing to share with me, so we can try more things. And, since we do so much walking that my fitbit has usually buzzed by midday, we never have to worry about gaining weight on these trips!
7) Last but not least, there must be good places to shop and gab for the gals, and great places for the guys to go, in order to do their own gabbing, cigar-smoking and sports-watching, away from the gals.
I'd say Austin Motel on SoCo met all these criteria with flying colors!
One last thing. Now that we are retired and have that option, we usually begin our adventures on Sunday afternoons, just as everyone else is checking out. So much more pleasant without the mobs, and so much easier to get tables!
We ended our SoCo Adventure by heading up the street, once everyone was awake and dressed, to one of my favorite breakfast eateries, Magnolia Cafe. We each had our egg dish of choice, then we all shared just one of their infamous Gingerbread Pancakes for dessert!
On the way back to our motel we stopped in at Big Top Candy Shop, where Miss Paula found just what she was looking for -- purple rope candy for her grandson's preschool class to use as hair on the green monster cookies they will be decorating this week!
After checking out of our motel we got into our cars and headed off for one final adventure -- a trip to the best toy store ever...
where I may or may not have bought one or two tiny things for Little Goober.