Jun 5, 2012

Local Love: A Cookies & Beer Staycation

A few weeks ago, Ben finished his busy season at work and took a week off to unwind. True to form, days before his vacation started, the two of us were scrambling to come up with a plan. Though we love taking grand trips that we plot out for months, we also pride ourselves on being game for last-minute getaways.

Max and Dad living it up at Taco Mamcita

We looked at local campgrounds, cabins in the mountains and even considered a spur-of-the-moment beach trip. But in the end, we were just plain tired. And I didn't want to throw off Max's nap schedule. Or pack. What can I say, we are parents now! And anyway, there were lots and lots of things we'd been wanting to do ever since moving back to Nashville that we just hadn't had time to get around to. Thus, it was officially declared "Staycation" at the Cookies & Beer household. We set a few ground rules, including no electronics (TV was banned, and computer time was limited to a few minutes a day for necessities), and we determined that we must do one fun activity per day.

We kicked things off with dinner at our favorite kid AND adult friendly Mexican restaurant, Taco Mamacita. We were really pumped up for our first day of vacation, and on the way home we stopped for tequila and fresh limes so Ben could make his amazing fresh margaritas. (Don't worry, Max went to bed before the mayhem began!) Margaritas in hand, we finally broke in the house by dancing in the kitchen, a tradition of ours ever since Ben and I bought our first home more than six years ago. And no, I don't mean sweet slow-dancing, I mean goofy 80s dancing with leg kicks and lots of spinning. That's just how we roll :) We also finally sat on our patio (err, carport), and chatted, listened to the crickets and stargazed in our peaceful back yard.

Other staycation activities included the Farmer's Market, which I blogged about here, and taking Ben along to the zoo with my fabulous group of mamas. We cooked dinners together with our farmers market goodies, which was a treat, since Ben's busy-season work schedule rarely allowed him to be home for dinner. One day we went for a hike at a local park, and another day we popped over to one of our favorite furniture stores before treating ourselves to a Whole Foods shopping trip (hey, it's the small things!). Strangely, perhaps, one thing we've talked about doing forever was estate sale shopping. So one morning, Ben tracked one down in a nice part of town, and we scoped it out. Not only did we snag much-needed patio furniture and a football for Max, but as an added bonus, it was a really cool old house with a beautiful garden.

Max took Bosco for a walk during our hike at the park
Pina Coladas in our new lounge chairs
And a Cookies & Beer vacation wouldn't be complete without a brewery visit! Ben wanted to refill his growler, so we stopped in at Nashville's own Yazoo Brewery and grabbed a beer on the patio while waiting for the growler. Max loves this brewery. Don't judge! It's non-smoking and the patio and laid-back vibe make it surprisingly kid-friendly. It just so happened that my much-loved high school band teacher-turned chef had stationed his food truck, Rollin' & Smokin', outside the brewery. I'm mostly vegetarian but make an exception for really good slow-cooked meat, and this BBQ was worth breaking my own rules for.

I loved having a full week to thoroughly enjoy our hometown and our house that we've poured so much effort into over the past year. I used to scoff at the idea of a staycation (maybe it's just the name that I thought was cheesy?), but now I think it's a pretty awesome solution for exhausted parents who happen to live in a very cool town!

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