I am always ready for a vacation! Who isn’t, right? Unfortunately, life, work, school, commitments and that little thing called money get in the way and we aren’t able to travel nearly as much as I would like. I guess that is why the staycation was invented. It takes less money and you don’t feel the need to take a lot of time off considering you aren’t going anywhere. I have enjoyed a few staycations and they can be a nice escape, but even the Wikipedia definition implies a rather unglamorous situation. How many staycations have you taken where you still try to tackle just one task off the Honey-Do List, or throw in a quick load of laundry or? –you get my point. Instead of a staycation, my family has decided to take nearcations. We don’t go far, we don’t spend a lot of money, but we still get away and aren’t tempted to catch up on our to-do lists instead of spending some quality family time.
We took our last nearcation just a few hours north of us in the beautiful mountain town of Estes Park, Colorado. Estes Park is well known for its amazing fishing and proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park, but perhaps may be even better known for the Stanley Hotel, made famous in Steven King’s The Shining. We stayed just outside of “town” at Mary’s Lake Vacation Condos. As we arrived, it was lightly snowing and we were amazed at the massive elk herd grazing just south of the property. Honestly, you would have thought I had called in our arrival and they had set up this picture perfect moment.
The beauty didn’t end there. We found our unit and were thrilled to see it looked just like the pictures online and were even more thrilled by the view it had to offer. Huge picture windows showcased Mary’s Lake, the surrounding mountains and the ample wildlife.
We chose unit 20A, a premium two-bedroom condo with its own hot tub. The private hot tub was located on the porch of the unit, just beyond a sliding glass door, making it the perfect amenity for our family. Instead of being separated while one of us watches the kids and the other makes the trip to the community hot tub, we were mere feet apart. The little ones didn’t miss out either. Since the hot tub isn’t the place for them to splash around, they were more than excited to take a bath in the huge, two-person Jacuzzi tub in the master bathroom. The full kitchen was another great amenity. Although we didn’t plan on much cooking, we knew the resorts restaurant hadn’t opened for the season, so we brought some breakfast items and quick snack ideas. The kitchens are fully stocked with cooking items, utensils, plates, cups, etc., however, if you plan on cooking much, I suggest bringing your own skillet or getting some aluminum foil as the pans were in pretty poor condition. There is also a propane grill located on the porch next to the hot tub for your use, or you can order delivery from a few restaurants in town. In the evenings we would wind down with some fun family games (found in our unit) and a family movie (brought by us.) The condo was incredible and more than met our expectations. We can’t wait to visit again.
Even in the off season we found several activities to do. We wandered the Stanley Hotel, we window shopped in town, and we went fishing at Trout Haven Fishing Pond.
When we checked into our condo we received a gift certificate to try one of four local restaurants and we chose the Estes Park Pie Shop & Bakery.With a name that delicious and a huge pink awning reading, “You Need Pie” how could we say no? Everything we ate was amazing and we tried a lot. In fact, we even returned the next day for breakfast because our first visit was so scrumptious. Believe me, they are 100% right, you need pie! Their handmade crusts and fresh fruit fillings make the difference. Cherry was my favorite!
Our nearcation was incredible and offered just the right amount of time to get away, unplug and refresh with the family. I wasn’t tempted to catch up on the never ending pile of laundry (although, the unit did have a washer and dryer) and we spent quality time sitting around playing games, watching movies and taking in the beauty of our great state. Although Estes Park was perfect for our quick getaway, this beautiful town would also make a great location for those traveling from further away. They are fully recovered from last year’s crazy weather and ready for a season full of fun and sunshine. Book a trip and let them know Motherhood & Beyond sent you!