Have you missed the freedom to travel? For me, travel restrictions were much like the seatbelt sign on a long flight. I could hardly wait for freedom to “move about the cabin!” So many things inspire me to travel, and as soon as it seemed reasonable, I took a trip. I needed to be with loved ones and I needed to spend time away from the responsibilities of home. Here are five reasons why we decided this summer was time to enjoy the freedom to travel.
- The Need to Be with Extended Family
This summer we’ve enjoyed visiting family members in our home area and in other states. About a month ago, Innkeeper Glenn said, “I’d sure like to go see my sister in Colorado.” Glenn? Travel?? This man is not a traveler. But his birthday was coming up, her birthday was coming up, and visiting was on his mind. So… I planned a Colorado trip quick, fast and in a hurry. (You don’t have to ask me twice!) We had a delightful lunch, two wonderful dinners and one breakfast with our family. Cousins met for the first time. It had been 15 years since we’d seen our nephew and we met his wife and daughter for the first time. It was perfection. We NEED to spend time with family and that’s why we enjoyed the freedom to travel.
- The Need to Strengthen our own Family Relationships
Casey, our youngest, just turned 18. That makes a momma wonder how many more family trips are in our future. We have always been invested in offering Casey opportunities to see and do, especially since the Usher Syndrome diagnosis. Here was our chance – travel to see Aunt Lila and Uncle Russ! Casey just had to buy in. And it worked! We deliberately didn’t plan many things to do along the way since our primary purpose was to visit family. But Casey helped to determine what we did, and we had a grand time being tourists!
Driving to the highest tourist center at Rocky Mountain National Park, Casey took me up on the option to go off the main route. (Although there was a nice sign with the road name, length in miles, and a warning about vehicle length, switch-backs and hairpin curves, I offered! Mother of the Year!) I think the sign would have been more helpful if it read, “Very scary single lane rocky dirt stagecoach path with switch-backs and hairpin curves, steep drop-offs with no barriers and no way to turn back.” I was the driver. I’m pretty sure this drive is what you call “white-knuckling it.” I wasn’t necessarily scared, but I was very determined. I did not see the view – or the pictures of my driving hands – until I reviewed Casey’s pictures. After we were parked and my knees stopped shaking. Was it worth it? Absolutely! Our family has shared stories about this experience many times! Casey’s ability to take spectacular pictures while I was holding my breath while driving was definitely worth it. It strengthened our relationship through both trust in my ability to keep everyone safe and humor as we laugh at my discomfort doing it.
After giving up the search for a B&B for a family of three, we stayed in a fabulous Embassy Suites in Loveland. It turned out that we were in the area during Frontier Days in nearby Cheyanne, Wyoming. We went up for a day, and along the way we stopped at Terry Bison Ranch to ride the train to feed the bison. It was not exactly what I’d have chosen to do on my own, but when my kid called down a nearby child for not giving “my mom a chance to feed the bison,” it was worth it. Not that I condone anyone fussing at a younger child on the bison train, the fact that Casey felt the experience was so much fun it should be shared really struck me, and that’s a great reason to enjoy the freedom to travel.
I am a traveler. Anywhere. Any time. Just call me. My bag’s been packed with the basics since long before the pandemic. My friend Terry and I have traveled many miles, both for business and for fun. I was so desperate to travel that at one point I told her I’d like to go to Decatur, a nearby town. “What’s there?” Not a lot. I just wanted to get away. When we were finally ready to take a trip, we debated about which direction to go… Florida… Branson… Nashville… MICHIGAN! She hadn’t really traveled to Michigan, I hadn’t been in many years, and, “it’s not that far.” We spent a few sunny June days talking, laughing, shopping, and tourist-ing. We ate dinner on a riverboat in Lake Michigan, we saw many lighthouses and windmills, enjoyed Farmer’s Markets, and sat on a sandy beach to watch the sunset. Memories were made. And that’s why I travel.
- The Need to Revisit Good Memories, Celebrate and Honor
Some of our guests come to stay with us at Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast because they finally have the freedom to travel, bringing a community together in celebration. Parties, wedding ceremonies and receptions have brought guests to our home in recent days. We’re holding both informal and formal family and school reunions. We’ve been locked in for months and we’re ready to see faces, renew friendships and build relationships in person. Other guests have gathered to honor a friends and family members for a life well lived. They’ve often postponed for months, but have finally enjoyed the freedom to travel and spend time together.
- The Need for Entertainment, Rest and Relaxation
Vacation, according to Webster, is, “a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation; a respite.” I needed a break, we needed a break, and you probably need a break. Vacation often means dining out. Although staffing is still sometimes an issue, we have some great locally owned and chain restaurants in Jacksonville. Shopping is part of vacationing for me. We’ve got that, too! Your vacation may mean hitting every historic site within a 50 mile radius. From Lincoln to the Underground Railroad, we’ve got that! Maybe you’d rather just get away and relax with long walks around our historic neighborhood, late breakfasts and an en suite massage. We can help you make it happen!
Our guest this week is a solo female traveler. Today she enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before her massage. She looks forward to doing some shopping tomorrow and has planned out her options for dining. She enjoys porch sitting and reading. We sat out last night and watched a storm roll through. She’s having a relaxing time and that’s something we all could use right about now.
We invite you to come stay with us at Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast. We’d be delighted to have you visit us in Jacksonville! Book direct for the best rates, packages and offers.
Even if your travels take you another direction, we offer the following recommendations:
- Check travel standards/ restrictions where you’ll be. Do they have any mandates re: masks, COVID tests, vaccines, etc.? (We are heading back to indoor masking in Illinois.)
- Look for an established Bed & Breakfast with a high reputation. Check their recent online reviews. We work hard to maintain our terrific reputation at Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast in Jacksonville, Illinois.
- Plan ahead, but don’t over-plan. (Contradictory, I know.) It’s fun to know where you’re headed, but it’s even more fun to add in a boat tour on Lake Michigan.
- Stop and smell the roses. From beautiful landscaping around windmills to the Cheyanne Botanic Gardens to the Holland Wizard of Oz Project, we see the beauty of nature everywhere we go.
- Find local cultural events and activities. We offer great opportunities in Jacksonville, from summer tours of Woodlawn Farm and the Governor Duncan Mansion, history comes to life in Jacksonville.
- Be flexible. Go with the flow. Although we had planned to stay another day in Michigan, I was called home to be with family at a sad time in their lives. You might need to wait for the chance for last-minute tickets if you think your plans might change.
Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast is an award-winning all-suite inn located in Jacksonville, Illinois. Hospitality is our hallmark. We offer many amenities, including overnight accommodations in a 130-year-old vintage mansion, Wi-Fi, expansive lawn and gardens, all-season fireplaces, and multi-course breakfasts. Come see us! Our reviews reflect that guest satisfaction is a high priority.