Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Elms is a Great Getaway Spot with Kids! Excelsior Springs Rocks!

*Warning: there are a zillion pics in here. I need to do a separate post for the place we ate dinner and Hall of Waters. I also need to make pics bigger and caption them. Oh, and I am currently going through my pictures in my basement and vow to find the pic of me on my back in the pool at The Elms full-on PREGNANT with our child who we found a name for at The Elms! So come back!

SPOILER ALERT: We did not see any ghosts. I didn't even feel any weird activity or anything like that, but I am also not super open to that sort of thing. I kind of put on my "ghost cloak" when I go places like that because I honestly don't WANT to see or feel anything like that. I want to live in my happy little life where I am now and if that means my head is in the sand, so be it. I'm comfortable there.

Yes, I know The Elms in Excelsior Springs is a fancy, very old hotel with many different spa services. I know weddings are held there and receptions and all sorts of cool adult things go on there. Couples go there to be alone and to be romantic, and the place is even said to be haunted. My husband and I actually went there twice without kids and had an amazing time both times.

But The Elms is also a great spot if you have kids. And, yes, even if you have a BUNCH of kids like we do! I mean, the kids have to travel well. This means they have to enjoy going places and not hate sleeping in a different place than their bed at home.

So the first time Aron and I stayed there was when one of his cousins got married and we stayed the whole weekend. This was probably in January 2000. I will have to dig out some pictures and post them because we had a blast. We walked around the grounds and went on a little hike and messed around and I think I even got a milk bath.

The next time we went, Aron surprised me with a convertible and another weekend trip in May 2001 when I was pregnant with Joel. At that time we did not have any baby names picked out. We ate in the restaurant at The Elms and our waiter's name was Joel. His full name was Joseph Lawrence and we were not in love with THAT name but we did like Joel enough to name our baby that!

The third time Aron surprised me again and we think it was 2008 October for our anniversary and we took all four kids that we had at the time and stayed in a nice suite. We swam in the awesome Alice in Wonderland-type pool in the basement and I honestly don't remember what else we did.  All of the kids would've been seven and under so we were probably just changing diapers, making trips to the bathroom, feeding kids and trying to survive and occupy them.

So when Aron turned 50 in November and we were not able to get away because of our busy schedules, it stayed in the back of my mind that we needed to get away because he had said that he didn't want a party but he wanted to do something with just the kids and I.

I figured we would need to stay at the hotel up the street with the tiny indoor pool since we would have to go home and check on our dog. I also figured we wouldn't be able to afford to go at all. I assumed it was going to be $200-$250 a night, but I checked anyway for the middle of the week over Christmas break and it was only $125 a night for a Parlor Suite.

I jumped on that and blocked the time off on the calendar where we miraculously didn't have anything happening and my husband was on vacation from work for the week. Asked my friend Ellen's son Ryan up the road to check in on the dog in the bearded dragon for 20 bucks.

My friend Stacy called ahead to try to get me an even better deal just because she's cool like that, and we ended up getting bumped up to a Signature Suite, which is even bigger than where we were in the first place and on the 4th floor, so no noise above us and FAR from the elevators. Please enjoy our two days in pictures!

Driving up to this historical landmark (burned twice before but back in business for over 100 years this time).

Checking in. Christmas music was playing and there was a big Christmas tree in the lobby. It was very festive and warm.

Flopping right onto the bed!
Hitting the important place first.

He had a lot to do at home on his work break, but he looks happy to be away.

A view of the pool from the 4th floor

My gargoyle son. He got his name here!
At Ventana Grill for dinner Tuesday night ... highly recommended. Best steak Eva has ever had. Best avocado burger Michael ever had. So much other greatness.

Did you know it's legal to get wine to go?

Our living area was huge. We set up Sam's tent he got for Christmas and Callie slept in it both nights because she wasn't feeling super great.

The dining area, which leads into the bedroom/bathroom.

I was worried they wouldn't have anything for the kids to watch, since so many hotels we go to have the nasty "adult TV" option and like one kid channel that goes to Adult Swim after hours. But they had Disney, Nick and Cartoon Channel.
 The remodeled pool in the basement. Lots of turns and steps to get down there.

Why not hit the fitness center after a good swim?

My office on Wednesday morning

The Hall of Waters will get its own post when I get time.

Callie wasn't feeling great and we traipsed her through town so she had to chill out in the Hall of Waters for a bit.


It was hot in the Hall of Waters! Michael is "passed out"

The pool in the basement of the Hall of Waters ... my grandmother told me the best story about being a teen here in the 1940s ... but I can't really repeat it :-)

Sam pondering life at Hall of Waters

Ray's Diner

Bookend brothers

Daddy likes to throw rocks off bridges walking back to the hotel from the Hall of Waters

My crew. They travel well and I love them.

Walking up the hill by the hotel to get to a neato park

Walking back down the hill

My office view for Thursday morning

Old Mill Restaurant within walking distance of the hotel

Asked for a late checkout time, so we got in a swim before leaving at 1 p.m.
*I promised my friend Ginette this post and hope she gets to have a lovely babymoon there soon! She will be having her 7th child ... a girl after 6 boys!!!