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

We Have to Go Back!

Now how often do you feel like this?

Travel is a funny thing for me. I ache to do it, and when I do it, I ache to come back. As both a young child, and as a semi-comfortable adult, I got to experience the wonders of being exactly where you should be. I have a song for that, of course.

Between that isn’t necessarily travel I didn’t want to do, but it was weird head and heart spaces. Like being disoriented. A little like time travel. It’s like going away for two weeks and it feeling like two months. Maybe it’s being with the wrong person at the wrong time at the wrong place, or they’re all wrong, or maybe all right. But just alright. Not like.. fantastic. Sometimes it’s going somewhere that once knocked you off your feet, only to find it feels all different. Wrongish. You’re pretty much going through the motions but you don’t feel the same. You need something different. And hey, that’s ok too.

As long as another place, another time, another person, another experience – knocks you off your feet.

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

There was a time in my life in which every travel experience was riveting, and returning was more bittersweet than just sweet. Sometimes just bitter. It’s probably because I had money and could go to the places I really wanted to go, which you can’t when you’re the middle child of five. Who can afford seven plane tickets? I certainly can’t. Four is my speed right now. Also when I had that early 20’s money and could go where I wanted, I was also spending it with the right person/people.

In my current phase, I’m somewhere in the middle, and somewhere in new territory. These ARE the places I want to go, even when that middle child syndrome creeps up and I complain that it’s never about me. It’s that strange middle of life/generations thing. We work hard to make our parents and our children happy. We work hard to travel and work and progress and connect and keep our balls in the air, and sometimes if you drop one, it’s like you drop them all. We don’t rest very well. I should say that it’s me. I don’t rest very well. I love to travel but I work so hard, that I have to do triple duty to clear things out of the way for my trip. Then I work a bit during the trip, and like a dog after the trip. Still totally worth it.

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

So here’s the 25 cent, highlights and lowlights, cellphone only photos, version of our trip to St. Augustine and Orlando. Was it overall positive and amazing? Of course! Very little negative, if at all. I did feel sick one night, but whatever. This trip had such imagery and such stories. When I go on a trip, and know that I take 7,000 years to edit the camera photos, it’s nice to do a 25 cent version here. Maybe more like 50 cents. I’ll post more photos with more in-depth thoughts, but ultimately?

Let’s let the phone pictures tell the stories for now, shall we?

We had to get up at 5:00am for the flight. I always say I’ll only get up at 5:00am for something grand.

family vacation

family vacation

The flight was smooth. I had the middle seat between both kids because I’m a Mama now and even though the window seat is my favorite thing on earth and the only one I choose.. well.. I’m a Mama. Des entertained us with his barf bag puppet:

Oh, and I watched a whole movie on an flight! Never had. It starred Reese Witherspoon.

When we landed, it was 75 degrees! We got into a bit of trouble at Orlando International:

And then Scarlet instantly found her people:

Then we drove/dozed to St. Augustine where we all found our people:

family vacation

family vacation

family vacation

We went to the beach twice on that first day. Just to feel the sun and see the sights!

There was a tree in the water on the first day, and by the second day, it had washed onto the shore. I took a lot of “real” photos of it to share “soon.” (had to air-quote that one) I wonder this tree’s story! And how long it was in transit:

We had four nights there in my in-laws’ newly purchased beach house. There was a TON of relaxation. I loved to sneak up to the kids’ room, overlooking the palm trees, and take book naps. The food, company, beach, napping time had a great flow. We played mini golf and went downtown a few times. Cassidy and I had a hot date – clearly the only northerners there because we chose to eat dinner outside! There was chocolate, there was ice cream, and I finished a book during the trip.

That’s all part of the magic.

family vacation

family vacation

Lattes in St. Augustine!

family vacation

And gourmet ice pops.

family vacation

On Monday, we met my aunt at Disney Springs. We go every year and marvel at its growth. It’s definitely a good half day, and this is us knowing exactly what we want to do, see, eat, drink, etc. Like I like to go into Ghirardelli to get chocolate samples and a latte. And then go back in for more samples. Plus pin trading, the LEGO store, chocolate BB-8 from Star Wars, and the MARVEL store. Des loves the hot air balloons. Cassidy loves getting in trouble there, like he does everywhere.

My aunt gave me the BEST Rocky Horror Rubber Ducky EVER.

We were in Magic Town at this point. Also, Santa gave Scarlet’s best friend’s family a hotel room in the same resort we were staying at, as well as TWO whole theme park days with best friends. I mean, really. Isn’t that the stuff of dreams?

We loved being warm!

Des had the best window view as he drifted off to sleep for the two nights we stayed at Art of Animation Resort, in a Cars Suite. I mean, imagine being five. I’m an adult and this looks right out of the Cars movies to me. It blows the mind!

We got up early on Tuesday to get breakfast and then head to Magic Kingdom. What else can I say about it? I did two roller coasters again. This time I didn’t hate The Barnstormer. I went on it twice! And Mine Train is SO GOOD. We went on Magic Carpets of Aladdin which was new to me! I went to the Hall of Presidents.. That was a new one. We saw the parade and the fireworks and the princesses and the shows and it was all so good! I still have yet to have a Dole Whip. Maybe one day?

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

First time meeting Tiana!

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

No, really. Can we go back yet?

The next day was Universal Studios. This was more of a half day for us, as we were headed straight to the airport after the theme park. Not only did I face a lot of things that used to be fears – crowds, airports, muggles, etc. – I went on two new roller coasters! That’s four for me now. I went on Ride of the Hippogriff and the Woody Woodpecker one that’s really ok for three-year-olds, but my roller coaster phobia deems me as good as three. E.T. is still my favorite ride of all time! Magic!

Getting into trouble magic too.

What part of this trip looks most fun to you?