Weekend vacations to soothe the soul (and the wallet.)
Hey, we're no stranger to a vacation or two in our lifetime. Even as a shoestringlifestyle-er (now, there's a new word for ya.) we make sure we take the time and funds to live a little! After all, that's what this blog is all about- Don't spend money on things that only impress other people; spend money on things you need and then you will have money left to do things that invest in your happiness. *mic drop.*
Listen, if were going to get a deep here for a minute, Life is short. Don't spend your money on the newest, latest gadget just because your cousin Lou bought one last week. "Lou can't outdo me, I'm jealous and need better!" <----Yes, yes he can. Be happy for Lou and move on. Now, hey, I get it. There are so many things that I want too. Just make educated decisions. Ask yourself, will these new clothes, iPhone 5,000CS, 2017 totally loaded vehicle really add to your happiness or are you only getting it to add to your status report? And sometimes it will bring you happiness and that is great! However, I know more often than not, I'm buying things to kind of show off. Don't give me that look....I know you do it too.
So, let's break that habit today! Those things are worth spending time away from your family and friends. Invest in your happiness!
Even though we are all about the frugal, shoestring budget lifestyle, we are no stranger to having a job. We each work- my husband and I- a regular job. Jobs we both enjoy, but at the same time, they don't allow us to run off and take a week long vacation when ever we please. That doesn't stop us from vacationing!
If you think about it, a vacation more than a few day can be exhausting and deplete your bank account pretty quickly. That is exactly why I love quick, weekend trips. I want to share with you a few of our favorite weekend trips that sooth our minds, allows us to step away from our day-to-day lives, and don't cost an arm and a leg. They are each kid friendly as well!
1. Berea, Kentucky.
This ADORABLE artsy college town is extremely laid back, friendly, and welcoming. I was lucky enough to grow up near this town and allowed me to visit it often. We make sure to visit often to take part in hands-on art demonstrations (hand-made instruments, bowls, pottery, and other endless amounts of fine arts crafts.) street fairs, local shops, calm atmosphere, and great food.
I always come back from Bearea feeling an admiration for young people and a new found faith in humanity. Sometimes I forget there are people out there living their dreams, faith in their community, and support in the arts.
Where to stay: Home Grown Hideaway's Yurt (yes, a yurt!)
I am a sucker for unique experiences. A yurt was one for sure. How many times have you dreamt of living in a tree house as a kid? I enjoy breaking away from "adult life" and being little childish from time to time. My husband and I escaped one weekend to stay in this yurt for our anniversary. We had such a silly time laughing and enjoying our time together. We left with no plans and it was wonderful. Laying in the hammocks below the tree house yurt, listening to rain fall above us and nothing but the surrounding nature gave our minds to truly be clear of every day clutter. This was also our first experience withAirbnb. If you are a stranger to Airbnb (unique and afordable travel lodging) I highly recommend you try it out! At least go over and check it out. Our hosts at HomeGrown hideaway were so kind and inviting. It was fun to tour their homestead and learn a thing or two to bring back and apply to our lives. We couldn't have had that same experience in an overpriced hotel.
And since I love saving money and passing along savings, Use this link and we can both receive $35 towards our next trip!
2. Slade, Ky Natural Bridge.
God is amazing. The beauty of this world is....well, out of this world! I can't even comprehend the euphoria I feel standing at the top of Natural Bridge. There is really something to be said about climbing to the top of a mountain and rewarding yourself with the incredible view of nature in all it's absolute glory. It's really a great metaphor for life as well: You have to take a little hike through the woods, climb over the rocks, and sweat your butt off along the way to get to the top and receive your reward. You know what I mean? To take the physical sense of that along with the knowledge of the truth really puts everything into perspective.
And I swear the air up there is medicinal. enough said. Now, go take a hike~ literally.
Where to Eat? Miguels Pizza
This place was recommended to us or we would have passed it by in an instance. And I mean that almost literally. This place is situated right smack dab in the middle of a dangerous curve at the bottom of a mountain (Well, maybe more like a really big hill) The appearance of this place is really laid back and doesn't require any fancy decor because what they lack in appearance they gain in taste! I, honestly, could go on about this place for an hour or more. The freshness, quality ingredients, selection and wide range of food....[Insert one of those Italian kiss of the fingertip type of motions here.] ah.maze.ing. It started off with a real deal cappuccino- not one of those powdered, sugary mix type of things either. I never expected to be sipping that along side a guardrail as the traffic whizzed by. My husband ate a BBQ sandwich that paired with (what I'm pretty sure were homemade) sweet and spicy pickles. If someone knows how to get their hands on these things from Miguels and send them to me I would be forever grateful! And I got the pizza. Each and every item was fresh and locally sourced. The compassion in this company was tasted in each and every bite. They've been around since 1984 (That was a good year after all. wink.) and I see why. Bravo, Miguels. Bravo.
3. Augusta, Kentucky
I'd say the majority of the people I know run away to hugely populated vacation spots. Vacation rentals alongside all the attractions: waterpark, putt-putt, arcades, shopping malls, etc. While all that can be fun, they just aren't my "cup of tea." While were out throwing cash at these huge corporation owned attractions, there are small towns, locally owned shops, mom and pop restaurants, and art and history museums are dying. It's sad to me. There is such amazing history hiding in these little towns that are just being passed by. We have been trying to make it a point to travel to the less traveled destinations and because of this we are finding these little hidden gems that can never replace the more advertised locations. We were able to find that in Augusta.
Honestly, this was a town we passed many times and never though twice about it. Some friends of our recommended we check it out, so we rented a little bed & Breakfast and stayed the weekend. Alexandria is nestled alongside the Ohio river with an incredible view. We took off on foot and walked the historical neighborhoods, peeked through the window of a historical jail house, visited little shops along side the river, browsed the antique shops along the main street, and- of coursed- stopped to eat.
Where to stay: The Cottage at Parkview Country Inn
They also have rooms in their main building available. This was a nice little secluded location to relax. It didn't have the greatest view, but it was walking distance to everything. The best part: there was a little park directly across the road. The park even had a marry-go-round! I was probably more excited about this than anything.
Where to eat: Augusta General Store
Now, we went to Augusta for the atmosphere and history, but we go back for the food! We try and make it back to Augusta at least once a month to visit the General Store. It's that good. Good ol' country home cooking at it's best. I feel like grandma is in the kitchen whipping up some love overtime we visit. It's such an adorable, home-y feel and the food is always comforting. Oh, and then there are the sweets...don't even get me started. Just go!
4. Franklin, Tennessee
The General Store restaurant from above reminded me about another all-time favorite place to eat: Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant. Puckett's is also comfort food for the soul. I didn't have one bad thing to say about them. Except for the fact they aren't closer!
Franklin, Tennessee is one of those places you visit for a weekend because you can't really afford much longer than that (things are pretty pricy there) and then save up your money just to go back because it is that amazing. We actually had the amazing opportunity to visit the property of the sweetest women, a few years ago.
This house looked like it came directly out of the pages of the most elite home decor book. Every corner left of this house left my jaw hanging open. I was so blessed to be able to stay in this home- The Jefferson House. (Check out Sarah's other listings... to die for!)
Don't forget to use the Airbnb code if you decide to sign up. You'll get $35 FREE travel credit!
Franklin is such a cool, hip town. I totally brought out the "mom lingo" because it is way cooler than I ever though of being. That's why it was so fun to visit. It was an experience for sure. It's right outside of Nashville. It's more laid back and comforting. Franklin is like Nashville's hippie sister.
And the food....ahhh....so, so, very good. Talking about Franklin again makes me want to go back- soon!
5. Nags Head, North Carolina (Outer Banks)
Can you go wrong with a beach? There is nothing more soulful than a beach. I could live on a beach and do nothing other than stare out and just be. I guess the only down side to a beach is the type of beach packed elbow-to-elbow with people. Nags Head is not that place.
The little fisher town communities lined with little mom-n-pop general stores, fresh seafood restaurants, and secluded beaches are just the beginning. The surrounding locations are full of history, including the light houses.
We have visited Nags Head many of times. There's always something new to do and experience. With a large family I don't have to worry about our children running along side the waves. I can sit from afar and allow them to run freely, barefeet in the sand. The waters are also very clear. I assume because a lot of the beaches are secluded, there are a ton of sea shells to explore!
6. St. Joseph, Michigan
And since we are talking beaches....
We found this place by accident. We traveled up to Michigan for completely different reasons other than travel, but with any long trip we try and make a weekend of it and explore the area. During this 6 hour trip our kids needed some fresh air. We did a quick internet search for a local park for them to play. Upon arrival we knew we were in for more of a treat than our children!
Silver Beach Park is located directly on Lake Michigan. While the children played we sat in the sand and soaked in the beautiful views. Michigan is such a pretty place. It was such a treat. There are very few places to visit that allows for fun for kids and adults. This was an exception.
There is also a little pizza place alongside the park, within walking distance, that was very delicious. My son still remembers it because they give the kids pizza dough to play with while they wait- he really thought that was such a treat! (I wish I could remember the name of the place...if anyone knows please let me know!)
There were also so many other kid friendly things to do around the area: Huge carousel, whirl pool fountain, art center, light house.... it was really a great family friendly area to visit. The views were the best.
So, go on! Go plan a trip. Even if it's to a tiny local town near you. There is so much out there to explore: get to it! Relax, sooth the soul, smile, have an amazing time, and make those memories!
Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way to voice my opinion on any of the above mentioned locations. These are all my honest opinions.
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Shoestring Amy is a free-spirited momma. With a family of five comes an active lifestyle full of energy. Amy strives for a lifetime of fun, laughter, and memories. Rather than smothering in debt, working for "things," and walking the same ol' line of misery created by a dead end job, she creates much larger goals. CONTINUE READING....
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