My Mama Weekend Getaway: 5 Ways Red Roof PLUS+ Treated Me Well

This post is a partnership with Red Roof PLUS+. I received a free hotel stay to facilitate my honest review.

I had the best mama staycation EVER in a local hotel. I got to experience all of the wonderful parts of my region, while getting that great vacation feeling. Find out 5 reasons to book #RedRoofPLUS! #ad

Do you ever feel like you just really, really need a staycation? And not the kind at home?

I was feeling that way desperately a few weeks ago. The winter to spring transition always gets me a bit down. It’s always cold and rainy longer than I’d like, and the kid activities ramp up in the spring. Cassidy spent the kids’ spring break in Belize and I was doing double duty at home. Not to mention I had a work trip planned in which I’d also have time to relax, and then the kids got sick and I got sick, and I had to cancel. I was incredibly bummed. When Red Roof PLUS+ reached out to me about a stay, I was more than ready. I was packed days in advance. Books. Magazines. My camera. And some clothes and toiletries. I was ready. I was a woman with a plan. And that plan was to stay in a Red Roof PLUS+ close to home.

Close enough to call it a staycation, but far enough to greet an entire new community and culture.

Red Roof

Here’s what I did:

On Friday night, I kissed my family and left. Before checking in, I got dinner at an Au Bon Pain next door to enjoy in my room. The first thing I did was read outside on a comfy chair before the sun set. It was what I needed for the evening.

After the sun completely set, I decided to check out the inside of the hotel. It had some fun amenities I’ll get to talk about later in the post. Mainly, I’m so down with a pool, vending machines, and arcade games too! Some of my favorites.

After exploring my room and the hotel (more on that later) I decided to see a movie! Alone! I picked I Feel Pretty because it had been out for awhile and I love to sink down in a nearly empty theater with snacks. The drive back to the hotel was quicker than the drive from the movie theater to my house. I camped out on the bed with Royal Wedding coverage and candy. Before I knew it, I was fast asleep. The next morning was rushed because I did have to temporarily quit my mama vacation to take Scarlet to a vocal lesson for work, so I had breakfast at a local co-op and then went home for a bit.

After the lesson, I went back to my hotel room to read. I had dinner plans with four friends, and we had chosen a restaurant closer to my hotel than home. I had a great night, and it was nice to know I was going back to my own big bed!

Sunday was REALLY fun. I asked around for breakfast recommendations and found a local diner in the middle of nowhere. Everyone there seemed to know each other, but they were really nice to me. Then I went to Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory. I don’t like crowds so I went when it opened and enjoyed the garden nearly to myself. I saw a Monarch emerge from a chrysalis and saw a turtle that smiled on command. It was so peaceful and cheerful on a foggy morning.

Then I wandered over to Yankee Candle Headquarters. It’s actually one of the top five tourist attractions in New England, but we live so close to it that I often forget that. I remember the first time I was there – you could smell the apple candles being made from the highway. My kids love to go but I can’t say I’ve ever gone alone. It was nice to focus on me. I got vegetable soup and coffee and wandered around the holiday displays. This was an uplifting experience from the weekend.

My time was winding down so I got a Butter Pecan Latte and went back to the hotel to read until checkout. That was honestly all I had wanted to do all weekend so everything else I did? That was bonus. I love spending time with myself. I also love going back home to my family. The sun was coming out and I think they all missed me. It’s important to take this time for yourself. Last time I stayed in a Red Roof PLUS+, it was in Boston and we had a whole city to explore. Staying in one closer to home gave me awesome perspective. I knew I could relax all I wanted, and explore my own section of the world as a tourist. If I was needed home, I could get there. I recommend taking a “vacation” in your region, or slightly beyond it!

Here are 5 Ways Red Roof PLUS+ Treated Me Well:

1 – The room, of course! Mine had a wood-like floor, a flat-screen TV, a vessel sink, a spacious workstation with special lighting, and an ergonomic chair. The Rest Suite bed by Serta was fitted with plush, high-end (and WARM) bedding and topped with a variety of soft and firm pillows. I loved that I could choose soft or firm, or mix and match.

2 – Extras. If you get a premium room at Red Roof PLUS+, it includes a complimentary snack box containing bottled water, orange juice, popcorn, trail mix and two Nature Valley® granola bars. You also have amenities like Seattle’s Best in-room coffee, a microwave, a mini-fridge, a hair dryer, an iron/ironing board, and a spa-like bathroom with a multiple setting showerhead.

3 – The staff. From giving me extra bottled water, to getting me the best restaurant recommendations in town, I loved knowing all my questions would be answered. They even called to check on me after check-in. In terms of fun things to do in western MA, they had all the info I needed. I loved the brochures highlighting western MA attractions, and their knowledge of western Mass tourism. I actually did feel like a tourist in my own community! This was all new to me.

4 – Staying with a trusted brand. Red Roof PLUS+ is a go-to upscale economy hotel of choice. Use it for business travel, last minute get-aways, family vacations, traveling with pets, traveling as a veteran or military personnel, or having a mama vacation! There are so many reasons to get away (or stay away close to home) that why not stay somewhere you love?

5 – The benefits. There’s the Red Roof loyalty program, RediCard®. You can also travel with your pet. That’s timely with our new puppy. You are allowed one well-behaved pet per room, nationwide. And you get bottled water for each day of your stay.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, make sure you see all the reasons you should stay at a Red Roof PLUS+ for your next getaway. This is my second stay in only a few months, and I can’t wait for my next getaway, wherever it may be!

With locations nationwide, where will I explore next?

I had the best mama staycation EVER in a local hotel. I got to experience all of the wonderful parts of my region, while getting that great vacation feeling. Find out 5 reasons to book #RedRoofPLUS! #ad

When was the last time you stayed in a hotel by yourself? Did you know there were so many western Mass things to do?

I had the best mama staycation EVER in a local hotel. I got to experience all of the wonderful parts of my region, while getting that great vacation feeling. Find out 5 reasons to book #RedRoofPLUS! #ad

Trying To Get My Groove Back.

Isn’t it perfect, that as I sat down to write this post, “Boys of Summer” came on my Pandora?

This is no accident. I cannot believe it as one. You all know how much the end of summer gives me the ultimate case of The Blues. Sunday Night-Itis. The Empty Stomach Feeling. The Ache. It’s all about lost love and lost moose and lost opportunities. It’s not that I don’t love fall, which is glorious, but I’m never ready to give up what’s here right now. It’s about a world that revolves around ice cream for dinner, fireworks, and an untethered schedule – floating freely, but always within our reach.

Vermont

No matter how I sat down to write this post, and no matter when, I believe the story would have come out nearly the same.

The idea came to me a few weeks ago, or pieces of this adventure came to me at different times. I was starting to feel more possible, with more income, and whenever I took on another blog post or another photo shoot, this feeling grew. It was a feeling that I could start pursuing some life dreams – tiny or large. Even the tiny ones feel impossibly large when you’re about to embark on them. After I had made a pact with Scarlet to try to see moose this year as part of a New Year’s resolution, I realized we were running out of time. Or were we? We went to Cape Cod, and then came back. We went to New Jersey for four days, and then came back. We went to Boston, then came back. We spent an entire week going on lengthy road trips to museums and play places and the Basketball Hall of Fame. I was exhausted but I could be re-energized at any second.

For the right thing.

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I booked a hotel room for just Scarlet and me in St. Johnsbury, Vermont for Saturday night. My dreams were to see moose with her, but also to have her first experience in a hotel together. I had always envisioned what it might be like as she got older. Cassidy and I had gone to St. Johnsbury for our anniversary last year and had driven around the Victory Basin Wildlife Management area for a few hours until we saw two moose. I had to try. With school looming so close, I just.. had to try.

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I found myself on a streaming, beautiful Saturday morning. We hadn’t left yet and I already missed Cassidy and Des. There were strange parallels. Almost 20 years ago, I had a life-changing trip through upstate New York and Canada, and it had begun in Watkins Glen, NY. On Friday night, Cassidy was watching a particularly awesome Phish show in Watkins Glen, NY and they encored with Scarlet’s favorite song of theirs – “Farmhouse”. She loves it because she’s never seen the northern lights.

In the song, Trey sings about that same thing. It’s one of my top life dreams. I’ve never seen the northern lights either.

Here we were, about to embark on another life dream or two. A hotel together and maybe seeing moose. I had also gone to a BBQ at a friend’s house the night before and my friends were about to head to Lake George, NY – which is where my big, life-changing trip ended. Watkins Glen was the beginning and Lake George was the ending. I didn’t know if any of these things were related, but it felt connected. Generally I believe in magic, but sometimes I go through rough times without it.

Then it comes back to me, sometimes stronger than ever before.

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We left for our little journey – with me feeling weak, fried and a little sick. As I have learned in the past, sometimes reaching for dreams can feel that way. Weak and a little sick. It doesn’t always have the fairy-tale gloss when it’s really happening.

And I wouldn’t take it any other way.. as really happening.

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I had the car running while we were saying our goodbyes to Des and Cassidy, and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin” was playing when we pulled out of the driveway. That’s always been a power song for me and it came on the last time I looked for moose.

So off we went. The ride there was smooth and only took about two and a half hours. I had booked a Comfort Inn because there are really only a few hotels and restaurants in this strange town of St. Johnsbury. I wanted something familiar and easy, which you can expect from a chain hotel. We got there too early for check-in so we had a picnic lunch in the breakfast area and then went to explore the gift shop, sun deck, pool, hot tub and gym. This is where Scarlet’s mind was truly blown.

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Finally, we got to our room on the third floor, which was HUGE, and Scarlet exclaimed over every single thing. It was like seeing a hotel room for the first time again. She thought of it as a suite in a palace, and I began to view it that way too.

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Then I convinced her it was moose time so we drove all the way up past Burke, Vermont into Island Pond. It was SO moosey up there and Scarlet is quite sure she saw a moose. I didn’t, but I can’t fully doubt her because there are moose there and she has much better vision than I do. So I guess we’ll never know what really happened, but as the story goes, Scarlet saw her first moose that day. She also napped while I drove, and we snacked and had amazing conversations. I jumped every time I saw a dark horse or a dark cow, or a log, or a big rock, or.. pretty much anything. Have you ever gone moosing for a day?

Your eyes play tricks on you.

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It’s like after playing Tetris before bed – you go to sleep at night and keep seeing the Tetris shapes falling into place, one after another. After a day spent looking for moose, you go to sleep at night and see dark shadows coming out of the woods.

We came back down from the Burke area and drove to the Victory Basin – because that’s where I saw moose with Cassidy last year. “Don’t Stop Believin” came on the radio AGAIN, if you can believe that. So did that magical “Man in Motion” song from St. Elmo’s Fire. I was so sure we’d see moose together, but it wasn’t our time. We saw so much more instead.

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After it got dark, we went to a restaurant called Bailiwick’s which is the name of a character from Scarlet’s favorite show, and we had an HOUR wait for dinner. We were patient and the staff was so lovely, and it led to free dessert and extra fries.

So we had a picnic on the floor of the hotel room.

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Then we went swimming in the hotel pool, because the hotel is awesome and they keep the pool open until 11:00pm.

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We cuddled in bed, watched TV together because we could, and fell into deep, dreamy, moose-filled dreams. Then we woke up and watched TV in bed again, because we could, got breakfast downstairs, and then swam again, because we could.

What is this a story about anyway? It’s about love and dreams and a little forest and music magic. It’s about lost love and lost dreams and a little lost forest and music magic. It’s about missed opportunities and endings, and how they lead to bigger opportunities and beginnings. It’s about filling in the blanks and moving over and through sadness and joy – sometimes at the same time, and sometimes not. It’s about showing her how to believe and how to dream and how to long for more. It’s about showing her what I love and what she loves and how to reach out and grab this silly, wonderful life when you can. We CAN.

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And really, it’s a story about the first road trip I took with my daughter – the first of many, I’m sure.

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