A Quick Staycation Up North

How come what may experiences lead to the best memories

Two summers ago we found ourselves in need of a quick, last minute get away. Summer was at full tilt and, with two teenagers and two under the age of seven, mom needed a break! After haphazardly putting together a plan and with almost no expectations, we decided to head north to Honeyville, Utah. We packed up in one day and hit the road.

Our first stop was a no-brainer: Maddox Ranch House. If you haven’t been it’s an absolute must. I recommend a reservation and the filet mignon. We were too stuffed for dessert and politely declined until my husband saw a beautiful strawberry shortcake pass by and said to the waitress, “I hate to do this to you but can we get two of those to go?” With our fit-to-bust-bellies and shortcakes in hand, we made our way to the motel unaware to the foibles of a “last minute” reservation.

The original plan was to camp at our destination, but my husband made an executive decision right before leaving and made reservations at a “motel-that-must-not-be-named.” Why? Because I don’t have the word count to tell of the atrocious and unnerving conditions where “CAUTION” tape was rife and the smell of cat urine robust. Suffice it to say, camping would have been the Four Seasons had we gone with our original plan. Our bad–a last minute reservation can be risky, but it is one of our favorite memories from the trip. It’s all about the experience, right?!

The motel offered a complimentary continental breakfast, but at 7:30 the next morning I was awakened by the sound of my seven year old daughter whispering into my phone, “Siri, where is the closest breakfast place?” After our sordid stay at the motel, we opted out of the free breakfast and headed to McDonald’s–where we dined to our satisfaction on hot cakes and Egg McMuffins, while a lovely elderly woman walked around wishing everyone “a blessed day.”

After breakfast we headed north to Honeyville and the drive alone was enough to make my staycation complete. It was gorgeous! I recommend you take the time to drive slow, stop at the sights and see it all. It’s a scenic drive of days bygone: acres of green pastures, treasures at every turn, old homes, farm equipment, historical markers, an LDS Tabernacle with a breathtaking organ that if you ask they will let you play, Golden Spike National Historic Site and a roadside stand selling jars of the most delicious Honeyville raw honey, complete with a money box and a faith in humanity.

Fourteen miles later, we arrived at Crystal Hot Springs anxious and uncertain. To our utter delight, we submerged ourselves in mineral water while our little ones curiously tried out what they called the “Old Fashioned Waterslide/Hydro Tube.” However, our teenage daughters were more interested and elated at the sighting of, and picture with, David Archuleta.

Once our day of soaking and swimming had come to an end, we dined on a pre-purchased good old fashioned Dutch oven dinner right there in the parking lot. We figured it was something our kids had never tried before, and given their refined palates of chicken nuggets and french fried cuisine, probably won’t try again, but hey–experience!

After dinner we loaded up the car and headed home. Short but sweet, our quick staycation up north was not a bad way to spend a couple of days as a family, and a last minute staycation it is still something we continue to enjoy… come what may.