A friend emailed me and another friend a couple of months ago and the subject line was "Glamping." We had traveled short distances together before: Columbia (Missouri), my house, her pool. You may remember that I don't particularly like to be outside, but I am making an effort to try new things. Being anywhere with these women is always a good idea. Sleeping in a tent (that someone else put up) with three queen-size beds seemed best case for camping. Glamping.
But the week was busy, and as the day neared the demons began to whisper, "You don't have time. This needs attention. You haven't even gotten to that." And I wavered. Each woman responded with a calm voice. "It's vacation. Don't suffer. We know you don't like to suffer." "We're not in a hurry. Take your time."
And we did. We stopped first at Louisville Cider Mill, the sort of place I would have taken the boys when they were little. I had not quite shaken the buzz of fret in my head and I thought, "What the heck are we doing here?" But it was a beautiful day and we stood in line with dozens (hundreds?) of happy strangers for warm apple cinnamon doughnuts, which apparently are medicinal, because after the first bite everything was better. I was all in. And suddenly Louisville Cider Mill was the best and smartest thing going.
We ate at El Potro Mexican Cafe in Paola (we were the only customers, but from the size of the bar I have a feeling they do a killer business after dark) where the margarita was delicious. (I ordered the premium tequila. It was vacation after all.) There are a few antique shops in Paola which were filled with lots of vintage goodies. And while I am infamously good at spending other people's money - "Don't you think you need that?"- they both refrained, while I indulged. (Not a total surprise.)
And then we headed to Hoot Owl Hill. Brenda and Steve Wrischnick opened a new chapter in their lives when they built their house on this hill and decided to share it with strangers who want to enjoy the view and some good home cooking and a little time away from the city. We enjoyed the butterfly garden and the guinea hens and hanging out in the sun talking for hours. (When I'm really relaxed I sit sideways in chairs like this. I hadn't realized I was doing here and am so glad to have this picture.)
When the sun set we sat around a huge camp fire and talked and laughed some more, until even the fear of the chill could not make us keep our eyes open.
The next morning we settled at a big farm table while Brenda fixed breakfast and Steve served and cleared. As we chatted I thought, "They really enjoy this. They like having people here and sharing their stories." It reminded me that we often end up just where we need to be. If we listen to the right women.
I'd highly recommend Hoot Owl Hill. There are six large tents. We had a wonderful time, the three of us, but we couldn't help thinking what a total blast it would be to have a group of couples or a large group of women. You can find out more here.
The images are mine, except for the middle - photo credit to Sloane Simmons. I received no compensation for this post.