It never fails, I hate when summer comes to an end. It doesn’t matter how many amazing things we do, or how many incredible memories we make- I always want more. Which is why, I planned a little Staycation to wrap up our summer. You might recall reading about it- Making Lemonade Out of Bad Plans. If you missed it, let’s just say it wasn’t the experience of my dreams.

Since virtually none of the first trip went the way we planned, Staycation Take 2 was our chance to redeem the experience for our family. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make a duplicate itinerary work for our schedule. However, I ended up being really excited about Plan B. And- as luck would have it- the weather could not have been more perfect for our Staycation Take 2 dates.

We ended up spending the first day of our Staycation on nearby Lake Norman. This was our first experience renting a pontoon boat and it could not have gone better. (Well, unless you count the fact that this was actually our second attempt at going out. The first one got rained out due to Hurricane Harvey!) Hands-down, this day will go down in family history as being one of our favorite days. We had the best time! I will absolutely keep this activity in mind for future Staycations and even as we visit new cities!

Here are a few random things we learned about spending a day on a rented boat:

  1. Look For The Deal: Often you can get a great price on a boat rental through sites like Groupon or Living Social. If that’s not available, you might find weekday rates at a fraction of the price of weekend. Keep in mind you will pay for the gas you use at the end of the day so getting a deal on the boat rental is worth the effort looking and negotiating!
  2. Anyone Can Do It: Well, anyone over their minimum age- which at our place was 26. We received very thorough instructions on operating the boat. If you are uncomfortable, the boat company will go over everything with you until you feel confident.
  3. Purchase or Borrow Equipment: We found purchasing fun items for our day on the boat made the most sense. You will have the option of renting anything; however, the cost adds up! We purchased a tube on Amazon and borrowed a tow rope from a friend. Just for comparison- though it may not be identical everywhere- we could have rented a tube for $40, but we purchased one for $60. And we own a tube now to use on any future lake adventures! We also already had fishing poles, but could have easily purchased them on summer clearance from the stores around us.
  4. Pack Thoroughly: Similar to a camping trip, you want to be sure to take everything you need with you. There isn’t a convince store on every corner of the lake! Besides taking TONS of food and drinks, we also packed a few books and games. And the most helpful item we took was a trash bag!

Day 2 of our Staycation Take 2 consisted of going to The Mayberry Days Festival. Yes, Mayberry as in the Andy Griffith Show! The town of Mt. Airy, North Carolina proudly boasts it’s title as Andy Griffith’s hometown and the inspiration behind the hit TV show. The town commemorates Mayberry every year with a huge festival.

The Mayberry Days Festival has been on my radar for years, but we’ve never made it happen. As I planned the Staycation Take 2 I realized that combining the day at the lake with the festival made for a perfect North Carolina trip. Incidentally, I’m using the term staycation very lightly because technically Mt Airy is over two hours from our house. I’m not exactly sure what the boundaries of the term are, but I’m certain I pushed them!

We definitely ate lots of new food on our Staycation (because you know my husband’s cardinal rule when we travel is that we must eat LOCAL as much as possible!) Yelp helped us on our lake day find an incredible hole in the wall for dinner. I can honestly say that the food was so ridiculously good, I forgot to photograph it until my plate was almost empty. In Mt Airy we relied on recommendations from the locals. Apparently, you haven’t really lived until you’ve had a pork chop sandwich from Snappy Lunch or a Banana Split from Walker’s Soda Fountain. After experiencing both, I wholeheartedly agree!

I will write more soon about The Mayberry Festival- and more specifically- visiting Mt Airy. For any fan of the TV show, this is a MUST DO experience to add to your bucket list!

All in all, our whole family agreed that having to do a Staycation Take 2 made the whole thing even more fun! Not that I’m going to wish it upon myself in the future (especially since not all vacations can have do-overs!), but I’ll definitely try to be less stressed in the future when things don’t go as planned.

What are your favorite Staycation activities?

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