Before Seven started Kindergarten, I had this urge to get away, to whisk us off to some fun-filled weekend. The beach? The mountains? Close? Far? Oh, I have great expectations.
The destination I had chosen up until 2 days before we were set to go was a 6 hour drive. Hmmm. I can DO 6 hours, but leaving on a Friday evening and coming home on Sunday afternoon means 12 hours of driving in a mere 48 hours. 25% of the trip spent in the car?
Over the next day or so, I narrowed my radius of vacation down substantially.
This is kind of crazy, to me – Roanoke is only about an hour from here. Heck, I go on half day shopping trips to Roanoke…I don’t go and stay the night, much less, all weekend. But here I was, booking a 2 night stay in the best hotel in town…The Hotel Roanoke.
I’ve delivered many a wedding cake to the Hotel Roanoke, had banquets here. But stayed? Never. I had no idea what to expect, either – the hotel has been there for so long I wasn’t sure if she’d be a grand old dame (with tiny old rooms that needed updating), or, a historic inn with modern touches.
I was delighted to find myself in a modern, clean, crisp, and perfectly maintained charmer. History, yes. But free wi-fi, sleek bedding, Sweet Dreams plush top beds, and recently updated bathrooms and furniture. Nothing here was overlooked. Turns out, the Hotel Roanoke is now a part of the Doubletree by Hilton brand, and that means but one thing to me…warm, chocolately, heavenly cookies.
Seven was a devil at securing additional cookies. Two bats of his long eyelashes and the receptionists were goners. It was all his idea, of course. The fact that he got extra cookies for his dad and I were just gravy. He’s a sweet child.
On Friday night we checked in around 4 and lounged around in our Corner Suite – a large and comfortable room on the 5th floor. A bit later we walked a short ways to Blues BBQ, our favorite restaurant in The Market. The walkway over the railroad tracks had some gorgeous views and even art, should you look straight up! After dinner, it was time for bed, and Seven quickly passed out in bed with me, likely before his head fully hit the pillow. It was awesome.
Saturday was a blur.
Seven snagged us some of those cookies for breakfast, and then we headed over to the Virginia Museum of Transportation. Honestly? I expected it to be…well, lame, as my child would say. But oh, no. It was fascinating! Lots of antique cars, an incredible model train set up, and plenty of full sized engines and train cars to tour. Jon and Seven got a kick out of watching the toy train (model train, whatever you call it), and I got a kick out of some of the decorations included. (Like the hobos and beggars. Where do you even buy these things?)
My favorite part of the museum HAD to be the old passenger car. Rooms with bathrooms, a kitchen, a dining area, and a comfortable lounging area. One of these days, I am SO owning a train car of my own. I may have to park it in my backyard and live in it, but, well, I am okay with that.
After the museum we did a little shopping, followed by Chuck E. Cheese.
Let’s not talk about that, just bear in mind, Susan, that Seven loved it and that’s what matters.
As if that weren’t a big enough day already, we headed back to the hotel, changed into swimmers, and off to the small hotel pool we went. We passed through a really nice gym, grabbed our cushy towels, and parked ourselves by the cool water in the shade of the afternoon sun. Not too crowded, but definitely more folks than I anticipated. Poor Seven was whipped after about an hour, so, up to the room we went. Naptime ensued.
We all woke in time to get ready for dinner (Jon and I went out with Brandi and her husband to the River & Rail, and Seven had a babysitter and room service – spoiled child). Upon our return, we remembered the SWEET treat that had given us a nice surprise earlier in the day – A large bucket of candy and drinks, and a coupon for a free Pay Per View! It was late, for sure, but a Snickers and a couple of hours with John Cusack were just what I needed to end the great day!
The next morning we lingered and lounged until check out, then found ourselves enjoying an amazing brunch at the hotel in The Regency Dining Room. No wonder it’s won awards – it was wonderful! Even Seven raved about it – he loved the omelets and fresh fruit – and I can’t blame him. The omelet station chef, though incredibly swamped, made me the best omelet I’ve ever had, and the prime rib at the carving station was mouthwatering.
Definitely a good thing. We ate too much though! (That always happens at a buffet, right?)
So, the moral of my story is this: just because you’re a local doesn’t mean you can’t find something new and incredible right in your own back yard. I can see us going back to The Hotel Roanoke at Christmas to experience the twinkling tree lights, or perhaps staying again after a show at the Coliseum…maybe an opera in the spring?
Have you done a staycation like this where YOU live? What did you think?
110 Shenandoah Avenue, Roanoke, VA 24016 | Phone: 540-985-5900 | @TheHotelRoanoke
Virginia Museum of Transportation
303 Norfolk Ave SW | Roanoke, VA 24016 | 540- 342-5670