By Chantal Saville
One of the fun things about having a not quite 4 year old is that they are still open to whatever you want to do, without too much argument. And the things that you do don’t have to include rides, toys, cotton candy or cartoon characters to be a boat load of fun.
A few Saturdays ago, we announced to our wee face that we were going “on an adventure”. Because we work from home, it’s usually a goal of ours to get the heck out of area on the weekends. On this particular weekend, we decided to day trip from Peterborough to Uxbridge. Lunch out, a walk in the Durham Forest – where the trails are dry and manageable for little feet – and a cocoa break, before heading home. Perfect day, right?
Except part way through the morning, we decided that it would be awesome if we didn’t have to drive home that same night and have an overnight adventure instead! We hadn’t packed a thing. We had no underwear, no sleepwear, no toothbrushes and no… well, nothing. We had clothes for the kiddo but that was only because she still has potty accidents and there is a good chance, on any given day trip, that we will need to a change or two. But since an adventure is about doing things you don’t normally do, we decided to live on the edge – insofar as you can, with a preschooler – and find a place to stay.
We looked up local B&Bs and found a great one, right near Uxbridge. A farm style country B&B that is family friendly, with animals to visit and ensuite bathrooms: kid would be happy and so would mommy! We called them to see about availability and were told that they were wide open but needed more notice to accomodate us. Really? 8 hours notice isn’t sufficient? Oddly, when asked, they weren’t able to confirm what their definition of ‘sufficient notice’ was. I think I would rather have been lied to and told they were full, but I digress.
We moved on and settled on taking a side trip to Unionville and a stay at the Delta Markham. A hotel in the middle of a fair bit of nothing. Except construction: there was plenty of that.
It turned out to be the best thing that the B&B couldn’t get their act together within 8 hours. We got an end unit junior suite, with a pull out sofa for the kiddo and a bedroom for us. The end unit gave us a great view of small airplanes coming in for a landing at Buttonville airport, which kept Nikki busy for almost an hour. A quick trip to Walmart for some underwear, Pullups and toothbrushes , a side trip to the LCBO for mommy and daddy and we were good to go! Nikki was in seventh heaven: in addition to the airplanes, discovering the room and the ice machine were tantamount to an adventure for her. It was a good reminder to us that we don’t need to do huge things. We don’t have to go to Disney or Europe or a cruise. We don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to have an adventure for all to enjoy.
The hotel was nothing extraordinary on the surface but I was blown away by the service! There was a welcome bag for Nikki, including a rubber duck and a book, which I have to say went with us everywhere for the rest of the trip: dinner, breakfast, everywhere. The room was spacious and equipped with two flat screen televisions and WIFI. And breakfast the next morning was included. Perfect! We did find a dirty wet wash cloth in a drawer in the bathroom, which was odd, but otherwise all was well. We decided to eat in the restaurant downstairs for dinner and there again, the service was wonderful. They knew our names by the end of our dinner and timed it all perfectly so that Nikki didn’t have time to get bored.
We watched movies before bed and despite a late bed time and a really busy day, Nikki was happy to go to bed in this unfamiliar place. She was having too much fun to care that it wasn’t her Dora bed at home. I worried that messing with the bed time routine and schedule we had spent so long setting up would be a disaster. It wasn’t.
And after breakfast the next morning, we received a ‘happy trails’ package including fresh made cookies and three bottles of water and a note apologizing for the hiccup – the wash cloth that my husband had mentioned in passing the night before to the front desk, when we were asking for a couple of extra pillows. Nikki sought out the woman who ran the restaurant to thank her and shake her hand for the cookies. Mommy was proud!
I’m sure a lot of hotels are similarly attentive, though probably not usually in that price point. In the end, it was a great stay cation that was fun, not taxing on us and not too expensive: just a little jaunt away from our every day to remember that the fun is in the journey.
Chantal Saville. Mother. Wife. Daughter. Publisher. Editor. Writer. Send Me To Paris.