Have you ever just really, really needed a vacation, but traveling to a far-flung place, or even just a few hours away, was just not in the budget? Wanderlust always gets the best of me, but more often than not, a “quick weekend away” can really, really add up! Last fall, my husband and I planned the “ultimate staycation” in Atlanta. We took a Thursday and Friday off of work with relaxation and exploration in mind. Since we knew that we’d end up napping on the couch all weekend if we didn’t have a plan, we set up some ground rules, and they made our long weekend incredibly exciting! We saw our city of over a decade with entirely new eyes! How’s that for wanderlust?
Follow these tips to plan the perfect staycation!
1. No cooking! We set this rule so that we’d feel pampered all weekend and try out new restaurants. This was especially fun for breakfast! We tried new breakfast restaurants, new doughnut shops, and new coffee shops all around our neighborhood! [Ok… If you love to cook, set a rule to try new recipes. We just didn’t want to clean the kitchen…]
2. Eat at new restaurants! We didn’t eat at any restaurants that we had been to before. Atlanta is a huge city with an amazing culinary scene, and we had so many restaurants that we’d been wanting to try. We knew it’d be way too easy to just go to our tried and true spots, so we cut those out entirely.
3. Have a Progressive Dinner! Have you had a “Progressive Dinner” before? If not, it’s typically where you visit multiple people’s homes for different parts of a meal during the holidays. We changed it up to restaurants for our staycation, and it made Rule # 2 even more exciting! Be sure to add it to your plans!
First, pick a restaurant with great cocktails and small plates for your appetizer course. We headed to H. Harper Station, which we’d heard so much about, and noshed on their bacon caramel popcorn while enjoying an old fashioned. Then, head to another new place for your next course! We tried out The Pinewood in Decatur for dinner, and their fried chicken with cheddar and herb waffles changed our southern-food-loving lives! If you still have room, head somewhere with exciting desserts next! It was off to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream for our first taste of their amazing ice cream flavors. We hit up 3 new restaurants, had a much longer date night than normal, and had an amazing time!
4. Go where you haven’t been! We are rarely tourists in our own cities, which means that there are so many neat places that we never explore. We checked out historic sites like Oakland Cemetery. We did a tour of the Braves stadium and clubhouse. We found some new shopping destinations, and some great outdoor areas like the Chattahoochee Nature Center and new sections of the Beltline.
5. Don’t forget to rest a little, too! It is a vacation, after all!