Heather and I are both having a rough week and in need of a small weekend getaway. I called one of our favorite State Parks, Stonewall Resort and rented a lakeside room. Bring on the relaxation, the beauty of Lakeside Trail, great food at Stillwaters and TJ Muskies, and a fully packed Sunday Funday.
Starting off rough with our dinner this evening we grabbed a Pizza from the Weston Little Caesars’ and headed to the Resort. Once getting checked in and unpacked we staged all of our gear for the weekend. Stepping out to the lobby to grab a coffee the sign sadly read, “Closed.” They only open in the morning, unfortunately removing the opportunity of having a relaxing Cup of Joe by the fire.
Awaking this morning to cold temperatures and the whipping winds from the lake, we kept our fingers crossed for warmer temps. By lunch, it had warmed up, and the Sun was trying to break through the overcast clouds. Grabbing some food at TJ Muskies, we took Leo outside to play in some snow on the patio and to throw snowballs in the lake. We had a blast playing outside until Leo wanted to explore the lake freely and we were not going to let that happen.
Returning inside Leo went into a full blown 2-year-old tantrum. As parents, you know where I am coming from when a tantrum occurs in public. 100s of people are dining or walking around while you are trying to sooth your 2-year-old as they emotionally break down because they don’t understand. You are not only trying to help transition your child from not understanding to a comprehensible situation but doing so while feeling all eyes are on you. Out of nowhere, he stopped! Leo looked up with a massive smile and pointed down the hall while saying, “Ba-woon!” A lady with about five balloons stopped and looked at us and said, “Oh, he looks so excited. My son would be so disappointed if he didn’t get one.” She gave him a balloon making the tantrum a thing of the past.
As a parent feeling at the end of his rope, I want to say thank you to that Staff Member. I wish I knew your name, but thank you for understanding, not judging, and helping make my son have a wonderful day.
Down the hall, Heather and I took Leo to what I’m calling, “Kid’s Corner.” It is a room full of kid toys and decorated for Easter. There were tons of toys, crayons, and things to color. Attached to Kid’s Corner is a playground that Leo rushed out to enjoy. After hours of play and the weather slowly warming up. We decided to go back to the room, take a small nap, grab camera equipment, and hit Lakeside Trail.
The building protecting us from the wind off the lake was quickly evident when we started on the trail. It was a very cold 3.5 miles, and we were worried about Leo not being bundled enough for the weather. He also didn’t want to ride in his carrier and wanted to hike with us. Thinking this would be a great way to stay warm, we let him down and off he went. Not once did Leo hike. He ran full speed the complete time. Those little legs were flying as we hiked the trail. A bit shy of 2 miles, Leo was ready for the carrier. Once climbing in, he nestled down and went fast to sleep.
Stillwaters and TJ Muskies
For our last evening here we went down to dine at Stillwaters. Being greeted at the front door, we are told they are no longer seating people for the evening. You could see plenty of people in the restaurant, but we are advised if we would like to eat we could head over to TJ Muskies. I had a small issue with this due to it being a weekend and later in the evening. There were two big conference groups at the Resort and with the restaurant not seating any more people meant TJ Muskies would be packed with very loud adults with no children trying to have a good time while pounding back drinks and watching basketball.
We were right! TJ’s is packed and loud. We spotted one open table in the center of the room. Most tables were being shared by groups and us taking this table left for standing room only. Leo was in sensory overload trying to look at everything and in every direction. We felt so awkward having our child there at this time and was contemplating heading back to our room and ordering room service when our waitress asked for our drink order.
Shortly after placing our order the manager of the resort came to talk with us. She told us that we looked uncomfortable with our child in the bar and she could open up a section in the restaurant for us if we would like. We declined the offer, but I want to say how appreciative I was for this offer. It once again shows how much they are willing to do to make their guests feel comfortable and at home.
Sunday morning the Sun is out and bright. It is a beautiful day, but in the low 30s with a cold wind in the air. We had an excellent breakfast buffet and drove over to the campground to take some aerial shots of the Resort. Waiting and wishing for the temperature to rise and maybe get in another hike, we would be disappointed because it never happened. It remained cold, and we called it a close to our Stonewall Weekend.
I finished this weekend feeling bummed and that it was a total waste of money and time for us to try and get away, but as I write this, I see an entirely new perspective on our weekend. It was cold, but we got to see our Little Man run on the trails and have a wonderful time. Yes, he threw a fit when we wouldn’t let him freely explore the lake, but we got to watch him have a wonderful time jumping in the snow and throwing snowballs into the water. The bar and grill were so loud, but by the end when the adults would cheer for their teams, Leo would also start to cheer. Looking back now, we had a wonderful time making unforgettable memories.
As parents, we sometimes try to focus on the details and what others may think. But sometimes we need to step back and see the experiences through our Kid’s eyes. Leo had a fun-filled adventures weekend getting to learn, play, and explore and we as parents almost missed this because we were so preoccupied with how we thought things “should go.” This weekend wasn’t a bust; it was a blessing.