10-Year Wait Over: Our Refreshing Small Getaway Alone

10-Year Wait Over: Our Refreshing Small Getaway Alone

My wife, Lisa, and I used to be the king and queen of the small getaway. We took trips every chance we could… and then we had our daughter, Faith, almost 13 years ago. That changed everything.

And that change was wonderful for sure… but the small getaway with just me and Lisa seemed to find its way out the door.

Eventually, I retired from my working career at the age of 43 at the end of 2018. It was an ambitious but necessary goal to get the opportunity to spend more time with my family, particularly to be with Faith as she grew up.

And spend time together we have! The three of us moved to Panama in the summer of 2019. We didn’t know a soul there initially and so we were together almost all the time. This was amazing though – getting to know another country and exploring the beauty of it together as a family was a true blessing.

We also started homeschooling Faith when we moved there and then the pandemic had us quarantined in our Panamanian apartment for months.

In other words, we’ve all been essentially connected at the hip for years now. Exploring, hiking, road trips, vacations, always as a family. Almost everything we did was together as a family.

But after settling back in the U.S., my wife Lisa suggested that we do a small getaway of our own. Wait – just the two of us? Is that a thing??

Last summer, Lisa and I took a trip to Raleigh, NC to bring back a truckload of furniture to Ohio, but that was far from a relaxing trip for us as a couple – that was non-stop work.

Thinking about it, the last time we’ve taken a couple of days to ourselves was almost exactly 10 years ago! Lisa and I went on vacation with some others back in April of 2013. That’s insane, right?

I wouldn’t trade the time we’ve spent together over the past several years for the world, but holy cow, a small getaway for just the two of us was definitely needed!

Where do you go for a small getaway after 10 years?

You would think that a 12-year-old girl almost ready to hit 13 would be pushing for her parents to get the heck out of dodge for a while. Yeah, not so much here.

Maybe it’s because we’ve all spent so much time together over the years, but she really didn’t want us to go without her. Then there was the FOMO – she especially didn’t want us to go somewhere that she would want to go!

Of course, we don’t need to follow her thoughts on where we go or don’t go, but we kind of like her so we wanted to make this breakaway a little easier for her.

We ruled out a trip to Vegas (she’s been there twice and loves it), the beach, or basically any place she might enjoy. We’re pretty nice parents, aren’t we?!

But guess where she’s not allowed to go… casinos. In the end, Lisa booked us a two-night trip to Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino in Salamanca, New York.

Seneca Alleghany Casino & Resort

It’s about a 3-hour drive from our place. We had stopped and visited that casino years ago shortly after it was built probably 15 or 20 years ago on our way back from its sister casino, Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino. We liked it but never had the opportunity to stay there.

Well, we finally had our chance! And because we have the flexibility to easily do it, we took this small getaway during the middle of the week when it was cheaper. It came to $150 out the door for 2 nights including tax and the junk resort fees that they love to stuff in there… not too shabby for a decent hotel like this one!

How’d it go?

We had fun! It was a little bit of a different animal for me since I stopped drinking last year and I’ve also been less apt to want to throw money away on things like gambling since I retired.

That said, it didn’t matter – I loosened up the purse strings a little and we had fun playing video poker, craps, and even some slot machines. Lisa also played her favorite game (and my least favorite) in the casino… roulette. Horrible odds and my logical mind struggles with that so that’s a game I’m not into. She lost what she played on that but had fun so that’s the important thing.

The no-alcohol part of the equation wasn’t a big deal for me. I thought it might not be as much fun since this was my first casino visit with me not drinking, but it didn’t phase me at all. I drank bottled water most of the time and had one non-alcoholic beer.

I will say that while we were sitting at the bar playing video poker one morning, Lisa got a Bloody Mary and it looked pretty scrumptious! I talked to the bartender and she got to work and made me a virgin Bloody Mary with tomato juice. Tomato juice didn’t sound appealing since I’ve always been spoiled by the Zing Zang mix, but it was absolutely delicious and really hit the spot! I couldn’t tell the difference between the virgin drink and the alcoholic cocktail I’ve enjoyed for 20 years of my life.

On the gambling front, we lost money (shocker), but it only amounted to about $150 overall for the two of us for our whole time there. I did account for more of that loss than Lisa did though… dang it!!

We found a little place to have lunch in the nearby town of Ellicottville called Katy’s Cafe. Now, I gotta tell you, I ordered a grilled sandwich called the Firecracker. Grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, pepper jack cheese, and chipotle aioli. It sounded good, but this thing was amazing! All I could think about the rest of the day was how excited I was to eat the other half of that sandwich that we took back to the hotel!

Then there was the hot tub. It was probably in the mid-’40s on our second day there and we decided to head over there. Why is the temperature relevant? Because the hot tub was outside… yikes! After talking to some folks, it used to be inside with the pool but for some reason, they decided to move it outside.

All I gotta say is that the 25′ walk from the building to the hot tub in our swimsuits was not pleasant in that cold! But it made the hot tub feel even better and we hung out there for a while.

Unfortunately, it’s even worse to get out of the warm hot tub and run back to the building. We somehow survived that though. 😉

And just in time, too, because a sudden snow squall rolled in complete with a whiteout where visibility was knocked out. Here’s the view from our hotel window…

10-Year Wait Over: Our Refreshing Small Getaway Alone - Snow squall and whiteout

The good news on this small getaway is that we didn’t need to drive in that and it doesn’t snow inside the hotel and casino!

And really, that’s about it. We had fun together, gambled, talked, watched a movie in the room, and simply enjoyed the time to ourselves.

Most importantly though, this small getaway gave us a few days of just me and Lisa.

I’m not going to be one of those bloggers that try to make everything they say or do sound like it was the best thing ever… that drives me nuts. I’m a lot more forthright about the good and the bad in our lives. But we really did have a good time and I’m glad we broke away to do this.

A small getaway like this was long overdue for sure and I don’t think we’ll be letting that much time pass before we take a little trip again. Maybe we’ll make this a yearly event?

Lisa and I have been married for well over 15 years now (we’ll keep the actual number out for privacy and security). With Faith soon to turn 13, she’s been around a far majority of that time. Being in a relationship with children is wonderful but it’s also time-consuming. That’s a good thing most of the time, but sometimes you need to take some time for yourselves.

I know a lot of friends with kids who do a fantastic job of doing regular date nights away from their kids… but doing a small getaway can sometimes be a little tougher to make happen.

If you’re a parent in a relationship, are you pretty good at fitting in a small getaway periodically with just your partner (hopefully, a little more often than we’ve been doing!)?

Plan well, take action, and live your best life!

Thanks for reading!!

— Jim

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12 thoughts on “10-Year Wait Over: Our Refreshing Small Getaway Alone”

  1. What a great trip Jim!! It’s awesome that vacation destinations actually want our business again after the pandemic. Cruises, flights, hotels, packages, etc. The deals look to be coming back and even better to take advantage when you’re not working 50 hours week.

    1. Yeah, that’s not a bad deal at that hotel… and plenty of $5 tables in the casino, too! Flights are a little pricey right now (still plenty of revenge travel going on) but my understanding is that we should see a pretty good drop in flight prices starting around late August. Everyone loves a good deal, right?! 🙂

    1. It was a good time and nice to get away, but that definitely doesn’t make us better parents by any means (maybe the opposite?). 5 kids is a handful – that would be hard to find the time for a getaway. I think if I had 5 kids (heck even a few!), I would imagine that I would just want a little quiet time and some rest! 🙂

  2. zing zang is really good. my brother in law bought some during our florida vacation in january. you were right down the road from us in buffalo. let me know when you’ll be coming to the b’lo area again. spring and fall are pretty sweet here in town.

    i’m glad you had fun.

  3. I’m right there with ya Jim, as you know I have an almost 13 YO daughter too (only child) and my wife and I rarely take a getaway trip just the two of us. I think it would be different if you had more than one child, because with one, they just do what you do. And frankly I wouldn’t want it any other way. She is getting to the age now, where she wants friends to come along, and I get that, we are a bit boring. We are trying to be the parents to welcome all her friends to our house, partly for selfish reasons (at least we know what she is doing and with who) and partly to try to be a positive influence on the kids who don’t come from the greatest home environment. Thanks for sharing and glad you had a nice time in NY!

    1. Haha, yes, our daughter pretty much sticks with us as well (a good thing!). Sounds like we’re very similar in that aspect. Smart move on being welcoming to her friends – that could help you sleep better at night knowing she’s at your house most of the time.

  4. That’s amazing. We are way overdue for a small getaway. The third wheel is always there. We don’t have anyone to watch him either. So we’ll probably have to wait a few more years until he can stay home by himself. Oh well, that’s life as a parent.

    1. If I remember right, RB40Jr is a year younger than Faith? If so, yeah, probably a few more years until the light of day! But, that’s more time that a lot of working parents would have to have with their kids before they get older! 🙂

  5. My favorite getaways were solo camping trips, but now we try to go one a resort weekend once a year. It’s nice to just stay put and have everything, including pools and food, within walking distance. Lucky to have so many nearby in Napa!

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