A few weeks ago, my wife Nicole and I planned on a nice quiet weekend at home catching up on some cleaning around the house. Sorting through the stacks and stacks of comic books I’ve been accumulating and putting them into some semblance of order was also on the agenda. But after venturing outside for breakfast and enjoying the sun’s warmth and the bright blue skies, we were quickly re-thinking that maybe we should take a ride somewhere outdoors and enjoy the day some before getting to work tidying up the house.
Nicole recommended that maybe we should check out the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Lancaster so we got into the truck and hit the PA Turnpike heading west. We love the ReStores in the area and have enjoyed walking through them looking for various items to use for household projects or second-hand furniture that needs some TLC to get back into like-new condition. We have been to the ones in Chalfont, Chester, Coatesville and Lancaster (as well two in South Jersey) and found some great bargains along the way. So getting into the car and driving 80 minutes away for something like this isn’t quite as out of the ordinary for us as it seems.
But a funny thing happened once we got out to Lancaster.
Upon leaving the ReStore we decided to grab a bite to eat and maybe check out the nearby Rockvale Outlets. After noshing at a sub-par Asian buffet we strolled around the outlets and did a bit of shopping. We made one final stop at the Nissley Wine Shop and then looked at the clock only to realize it was already 8:30pm. We loaded ourselves back into the truck and started the journey home along Lincoln Highway.
And then it struck us. “Why not stay the night?” “We don’t have kids (by choice)!” “The cats can fend for themselves for one night (or two, even).” Why ruin the chance to be spontaneous and go home when there were hotels all around the area? As long as we stayed below $125.00 for the room it seemed worth it for the adventure, and we were sure that there were plenty of places to stay. Or so we thought.
We drove up to a hotel where we’ve stayed before on one of our many Lancaster mini-vacations. Too expensive. We popped in the GPS and searched for other nearby reputable hotels. The first phone call was too expensive. The next one had no rooms. The one after that had no rooms. It was now 9:00pm and we hadn’t found anything. I remembered we had a gift certificate for the Fulton Steamboat Inn, so we headed over and checked inside at the front desk. No rooms available. We went back out to the car and made another call…this time to the Continental Inn, the very place where we stayed this past New Year’s Eve.
We were in luck! Not only did they have a room left, but they worked with us on the price since it was so late in the evening. We quickly drove over to check in. It was 9:30pm and our night had been reborn. We realized that we still needed to grab some additional items in order to stay the night, so after stopping into the room to put our Nissley wine into the refrigerator to chill, we headed over to the local Walmart. About 1/2 hour later we were driving away with toiletries, some underwear (to go with the clothes we had already bought earlier in the day at the outlets) and confidence that we were about to pull it off. We were about to just stay the night somewhere for the hell of it. And we even had some chilled white wine to celebrate the occasion!
The next morning we showered and got dressed into our new wardrobes, partook of the complimentary breakfast and relaxed in the hotel until it was time to check-out. We diverted from the immediate way home via Manheim, PA in order to stop off at the Basket Warehouse, one of our favorite spots for cool things for inside and outside of the home. At around 1:30pm on Sunday we arrived back at our driveway, more than 27 hours later than when we first drove away thinking it was just going to be a quick trip.
We learned that there’s nothing like a little unplanned overnight trip only 90 miles from your house to make you feel free. So we’ve planned to quit planning ahead. Our truck is now fully equipped with a go bag. Everything is in there in case we decide to do something like this again, and I do mean everything.
It’s a great feeling to know that you can do something spontaneous like this without a second thought. It’s even better knowing that you have someone amazing with whom to share the experience.
I have everything in the world: a wife who loves adventure; the financial stability to be able to do things like this at the spur of the moment; an independent lifestyle that allows for these sorts of opportunities…
…and a clean pair of underwear in our trunk.