I just returned from my sixth annual mother-daughter, small town, travel weekend. My youngest daughter and I began these trips in 2014, shortly after my husband, her dad, passed away. I have four children, two of which are daughters, but this particular daughter and I have several things in common – primarily, the lack of attachments that keep us tethered to home and hearth and that we both like to explore little Texas towns. So far, we’ve been to Salado, Granbury, Dripping Springs, Bastrop, Georgetown and Marble Falls.
Our very first trip was to Salado and we stayed in a traditional motel. The next year it was the Historic Nutt House Hotel on the square in Granbury. We branched out to bed-and-breakfasts (B&B) in 2016 with our trip to Dripping Springs and our (B&B) experiences run the spectrum from bizarre to great.
Our first leap into the world of B&Bs was a stay in a private home named after a 1967s rock band. The owner was an intelligent, friendly hostess, who embraced her 60s roots with colorful psychedelic décor and artifacts from her world travels. The food was fantastic but her penchant for doors without locks made for light sleeping and suitcases doubling as barricades.
The next year, my daughter booked us in a B&B in a turn-of-the-century Victorian within walking distance of downtown. It sounded perfect but didn’t quite live up to its potential or advertising. Navigating the dimly lit property at night from the parking area to the entrance on the opposite side of the house was full of potential hazards, not so much the fear of being robbed but tripping on bad sidewalks or landscaping. On top of that, their “specialty” Belgian waffles didn’t taste quite right the first morning, but our host confessed as he served them the second morning that Saturday’s batch was made with rancid cooking oil!
Our third B&B was a beautiful, well maintained, charming 1914 Arts and Crafts style home whose owners lived on-site. Casual dining this was not. Breakfast was served on time, in courses with decorum and I was late to this table only once!
Our last little home-away-from-home was within walking distance of downtown. The décor of this early 1900s home was Texas hill country chic. It was comfortable, squeaky clean, stylish and easy access since it was one-story. My daughter was disappointed that while the food was good, it wasn’t the breakfast featured on the website; however, we agree it’s probably the best to-date for location, comfort and food quality.
We’ve also learned along the way that our psychedelic hostess from B&B #1 spoiled us with freshly baked brownies and snacks, because every other proprietor since has taken the “bed & breakfast” part seriously and we’ve been on our own the rest of the day.
We’re six years older than when we started this tradition, but six years impacts me more than it does her. We got 10,000 steps in Saturday but there were moments I would have paid someone anything for five minutes in a recliner. I felt slower than I remember being, and despite the fact that I think my hearing is good, I missed the first few words of her sentences on occasion if we weren’t looking at each other. Maybe that’s why seniors travel with other seniors. The deficiencies aren’t so pronounced!
I couldn’t help but wonder at what point it will stop being fun for her to travel with me? When will I be a drag? When will my missing an exit in that crazy interchange in northwest Austin become the topic of one of those secret family meetings? You know, the one where they discuss taking away your car keys?
I have a reprieve, for a while anyway. We’re already planning next year’s trip, health and life permitting. My strategy in 2020 will be to insist on her driving, playing the “age” card when it’s convenient, denying it when it isn’t, and thanking God I’m alive to make another memory!
Connie Clements is a freelance reporter and award-winning columnist. She writes feature news articles on a weekly basis and an opinion column as the mood strikes her.