Day-Dations. What are they?
You’ve heard of “stay-cations” right? Of course you have. It’s a vacation where you stay home, or at least stay near home for a little “relaxation.” Therefore – it becomes a stay-cation. My man and I not only take as many darned VACATIONS as possible, and we also take an occasional stay-cation. One of our fun little relationship secrets, however, are our “date-daytions.” (I’m thinking of copywriting this word, cause it’s a good one!) -day long dates where we explore, reconnect and have a fabulous adventure. (Check out a suggested list of Day-daytion ideas below!) By taking the time to connect I feel like not only are we doing fun things together but also growing our relationship. I am truly “Living a Royal Life.” The kind of rich life I wish for all my friends.
If you are in a relationship, I highly recommend making sure to take the time to do these little “getaways.” I know with the busy schedules we all have it can be hard to do, and finances can be tight. But in our area of Southern California there are SO many things you can do for FREE! Be innovative, be creative! (If you live somewhere other than Southern California I’m sure that your area has a lot of freebies there too, if you just take time to check them out!)
If you aren’t in a relationship———- don’t use that as an excuse to stop reading! You are going to find some great ideas you can do with a friend, your family members, your kids……… WHATEVER! I am full of it……. I mean them. Good ideas! Keep reading. You’ll see!
Carving out the time is UBER important if you want to stay connected. That’s just my humble opinion. Not that I’m a relationship expert. My marriage track-record might prove that…. On the other hand, Barbara DeAngelis, who is supposed to be a “relationship expert” and has written 15 books on relationships, has been married at least 4 times! She’s got me beat! (Maybe I AM a realtionship expert, who knows?) Take my advice for what you will. What I will say is that my man and I have an amazing time together! we love to explore and we look forward to every adventure we have!
Back to date-daytions…….We try to do one almost weekly. We had a FABULOUS one recently! (But then, they are all fabulous, because we love our little adventures!) My daughter and her love were going out of town and had to fly out of LAX. We got up WAY before the crack of dawn, because if you’ve driven from North San Diego County to Los Angeles, you know you have NO IDEA how long the drive could take. Especially when you need to be at the airport at 9:30 in the morning. Better early than a missed flight, so we were on the road at 5:45 AM. Lucky for us, we got up to the vicinity of the airport with more than enough time to spare, and had time to have breakfast together before they departed. Kind of a bit of “bonus” family time!
We had already decided we would go to the Getty Villa and explore while we were up there, but as we got near it, we realized we were both EXHAUSTED, and it was only mid-morning……. so we made the decision to get massages before we hit the museum. I checked Yelp. found a few places nearby, and we were lucky enough that one about 10 minutes away- with great 4 star ratings had openings for both of us for 90 minute massages, and off we went. Did we ever LUCK OUT! We weren’t disappointed either! The place was clean and attractive and my massage was absolutely WONDERFUL! My masseuse was Dina- and she was fabulous! (Don wasn’t quite as thrilled with his masseuse.) Just in case you are in Santa Monica and want to check it out- It is The Massage Place at 625 Montana Ave.
Taste Lived Up to Its Name!
After the massages we walked around the area for a bit then, this time, Don checked Open Table for a restaurant in the area. We found one called Taste in Pacific Palisades. At first, when we pulled in, I was momentarily disappointed. It is located in a sort of a strip mall— which wasn’t what I had expected. We parked, and went into the restaurant, which is actually very trendy and fun inside, but we chose to eat on their outside patio. We shared a Chopped Sabrosa salad, and it was absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS! (I have to admit- I tried to recreate it at home, but couldn’t begin to match its DELICIOUSNESS!)
A few stores over from Taste was a dress shop with the cutest dress in the window….. so what’s a girl to do but go in and give it a try? The owner of the shop was charming and helpful, and a few minutes later I walked out with a new white summer frock.
“Getty-Up” to the Getty!
Then on to the Getty Villa. Neither of us had ever been to either of the Getty Museums, so this was fun. And- BTW- the Villa is ABSOLUTELY FREE to get in to. They do ask that you go on line to get a reservation, because they limit the number of people who are there at one time. Luckily for us, as we didn’t know this little detail and since it was a slow day and they let us in.
For those who don’t know the difference, J. Paul Getty built the Villa before his death to house his personal collections. It is designed after an ancient Roman country house called The Villa Dei Papiri. It was opened in 1974, a few years before his death, but he never actually visited the Villa once it was completed. There are beautiful fountains and pools, mosaic floors, and amazing architecture. Just the building alone would make a worthwhile visit.
One of the items in the collection was a real surprise to me. If you remember the book and subsequent movie “The Girl With The Pearl Earring,” the sculpture you see on the cover of the book is at the Getty Villa. Not only did I not expect to see it there, but I was astonished at its size. The whole sculpture is only about an inch or inch and a half tall! I assumed it would be the size of an average head. Not something you could put in Malibu Barbie’s house!
(Side note: We since have also gone to the Getty Museum, and enjoyed it just as much. However, you would need a number of days to do it justice. Plus, they have constantly changing “temporary” exhibits, so you will never be finished!)
After spending a few hours at the Villa, we spoke to the guards as we were pulling out and asked what we should see nearby. One suggested we go just a bit North and stop at Moon Shadows for a drink. If you haven’t heard of Moon Shadows, you have certainly heard ABOUT it. It’s the bar that Mel Gibson was in when he imbibed a bit too much, got pulled over and received his DUI. Then he unwisely decided to call the officer a number of anti-semitic names…….. and the rest is history. Moon Shadows is one of those places that probably has been living on its infamy for a bit too long. The inside of it is pretty tired. But the view is one no one could tire of! They have a narrow porch that literally hangs over the water, and we had a drink and appetizer, and enjoyed the water view and a funny sea-gull who was looking to find a snack left by a careless tourist.
From Malibu we drove south along the coast, enjoying the scenery, the people, and the buildings. We ended up in Redondo Beach at The Chart House in time for the sunset. As is typical in California, the sunset was beautiful, although we didn’t get to experience a “green flash!”
Then reality set in and we had to run a few errands on our way home. I was having an event at our house the next day and I didn’t want to have to fit in running out again, so Home Depot and Trader Joe’s wrapped up our Day-dation! We even have fun doing the mundane together.
Finally, after leaving the house before the sun completely rose, we pulled into the driveway at just about the stroke of midnight…. with a fabulous Day-dation under our belts!
Trying to think up a few fun little dates but not feeling particularly creative? Here is a list of fun things we have done on some of our Day-dations which could spark your creativity. Look for words that are dark blue and underlined below. They are live links for you to find out info about my getaway ideas. (I can’t do much more for you than this people, other than take your sweetie on a date myself, and/or pay for your date. Neither of which are going to happen, BTW!)
Just to let you know, the places I recommend are TOTALLY and completely only because I have gone there, done that, and enjoyed it! No one has paid for me to go (well, other than my man), or to review them.
Newport Beach Getaway: We drove up to Newport Beach, explored a bit, took the ferry to Balboa Island. On Balboa Island we had lunch, walked around, and found an old arcade with the fortune telling machine which, of course, we had to do! You can kill a whole day just riding around, looking at the scenery, walking through Balboa, and more. Sherman Gardens is a fabulous little garden that is tucked away right off of Pacific Coast Highway. We went there and had a fabulous time enjoying the gardens! There are also whale watching tours, gondola rides, amazing restaurants, beautiful beaches and more!
Segway Tours: This was a surprise Don did for me- he got Segway Tour tickets off of Groupon or Living Social. We then did a tour of LaJolla on the Segways. No one else showed up that day, so it was just Don, me and the tour guide! The Segways are really easy to navigate, and SO much fun! We had an awesome time zipping about, then we finished with dinner in La Jolla! A romantic mid-priced date. Could be done less expensively by bringing a picnic dinner and sitting at the cove enjoying the sunset. The surprise made it even more fun for me! Segway tours are also offered in downtown San Diego, Coronado, Mission Bay, Gaslamp, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and more. What makes them even more fun is that the guides show you little alleyways and paths you would never even know existed if they hadn’t taken you through them! (Be sure to check out one of the discount sites and you can save up to 50%!)
Boating: In San Diego alone you can go down to the harbor and enjoy a 1 or 2 hour “bay excursion” which gives you a fabulous and relaxing tour of San Diego Harbor. The 1-hour tour runs about $25.00; two hours is just $30.00. What a great afternoon! Looking for something a bit more WILD? Check out The Patriot- which is a high speed boat ride that lasts about 1/2 hour. They take you around San Diego Harbor at what seem like death defying speeds, and rockets you in circles! We went on it just last week, and it was a riot! $25.00! Come on! Not only that, but you might just find discounts on either Groupon or Living Social if you try! That’s AMAZING! There are similar things available throughout Southern California.
From a different area? In the mid-west there are lakes that offer boat rides. Chicago has architectural cruises and sightseeing boats…….. nearly anywhere near water has a multitude of fun, and fairly inexpensive boating options!
Electric Scooters: The new thing around the “tourist areas” in Southern California are the electric scooters. The app’s are free, then the scooters cost $1.00 to start and about 15 cents per minute. They are an absolute BLAST and a great way to get around the city quickly from place to place without having to “re-park” your car! I think there are currently 3 different companies with the scooters in San Diego.We have also seen them in Santa Monica recently. A few weekends ago we scooted from the harbor area of San Diego, through the Gaslamp, up to Little Italy and back in a really short time! And there are so many available everywhere you go, that when you want to jump off and get a bite to eat, or explore, you can do it and just find another to pop back on when you need it!
Foot Massages: Another surprise from Don- when we were first dating he asked when I could block 2 hours out of my day, and he surprised me by taking me to a one hour foot massage at a spa near us. They are surprisingly inexpensive and they put you side-by-side in a huge and cozy lounge chair where you get to hold hands with your sweetie and be pampered with your feet, shoulders, arms and necks being massaged! Most of the foot massage places are run by Asians, and they are very reasonably priced. Give it a try!
Play and a picnic. About 30 minutes from us is an outdoor theater, The Moonlight Theater, where they put on great productions. Tickets for this theater are surprisingly inexpensive. They have an unusual seating arrangement. You can either choose a regular seat, or, in between the rows of seats, are a grassy area (no artificial grass) which is about 6 feet wide. You can reserve a place on the grass, and have a picnic dinner before the play! They provide the low chairs, you just bring your picnic basket and enjoy a romantic time together. It is less expensive than dinner at a nice restaurant! We have enjoyed it so much that this year we got 4 season tickets, and we try and invite a new couple along each play. Usually people we don’t know well and would like to know better. It’s a great way to build some “couple” friendships!
Hearst Castle: OK, this is more than just a day-dation from where we live, however, I’m throwing this out there. A few months ago, Don purchased a new car, and the one he wanted happened to be located up in Fremont. Rather than pay $700. to have it transported down here, we flew up, and spent a few days driving it back home. We stopped and toured Hearst Castle for 2 days, and had an AMAZING time. We also wrapped a night in Carmel-by-the-Sea into the trip. We stayed at a really darling little place called The Carriage House Inn, and had a darling and romantic room with a fireplace. Three days away felt like a REAL vacation! So, in actuality, this was more like a 3-day-dation…….. which probably falls between a Day-dation and a Vacation……..
Tourist in Your Town: You know all the things the tourist do when they come to your city? Chances are, you live RIGHT THERE and have never done them! We have done “tourist days” more than once right here in San Diego. One day we drove to downtown San Diego, went on the “Seal Tour” — you know them, the boats that go both on land and in the water, (and made unfortunate news recently when one capsized, killing some passengers.) The tour was fun (and no, we didn’t capsize). BTW- If you tell them at the Seal Tour desk (which is located at Seaport Village) you are a local, AND show your ID, you will get a BOGO! (With the money you save on THAT little tip, feel free to take me to lunch!) We walked around Seaport Village, visited some galleries and had a great dinner downtown. I’ll admit, I think we may have based the whole day around a massage deal I got off of Living Social….. It turned into a fabulous “day-dation” early in the day through the whole evening.
If you are from a different city, say the Chicago area…. what about one of the Architectural Cruises on the river (they are FABULOUS), or time in one of the fabulous museums such as the Art Institute, Field Museum or Museum of Science and Industry? Walking tours are offered and there is a display at the Watertower. There are always dozens of plays you could go to, or listen to music at Kingston Mines. A stroll down Michigan Avenue can take all day between the flowerbeds, store fronts, and more!
Every city has a lot to explore. Most cities have “city tours” where you might learn about things you didn’t know existed, right up the street! Go to the places you send the tourists when they come to visit. You might be glad you did!
Ride Bikes around Mission Bay: Take your own bike, or rent one— and ride about Mission Bay. It is so much fun, and you’d be hard pressed to cover the distance in just one day! There is so much to see, and so many places you can stop for a bite to eat, or a drink! The people watching is fun too! If riding a bike a distance is too much for you, I suggest trying one of the electric bikes. They can do some, or ALL of the work for you! Check out Surf Monkey Bikes at 853 Grand Ave. SD- and Kalin will hook you up with a beach cruiser, a mountain bike, a tandem bike or an electric bike. We recently took 14 family members who were in town for my grand-nephew’s graduation from Marine Boot Camp, and Kalin hooked us up with a sweet military discount!
Julian: For those of you from the San Diego area, Julian is just a short, and beautiful car ride away. And the GREAT thing about Julian? It has true SEASONS! Go in the fall to see the change of leaves. In the fall there are typically great craft fairs at their little community center, with fun, seasonally inspired decor. During the winter you can go to Julian to see and play in the snow, find more great holiday crafts, and find Christmas gifts. Spring……… MY FAVORITE! I try to go to Julian in the spring and see the LILACS in bloom! Lilacs are one of the things I miss the most from living in the Midwest, and I love to see the plants, smell the blossoms and bring a few home! Summer is lovely in Julian. Strolling the old fashioned streets is always great fun. The many gift stores are fun to peruse. One thing I have wanted to do in Julian, but haven’t yet gotten around to, is a tour of the old Gold Mine. Doesn’t that sound fun? If you want to make it more than just a day-dation, Julian has a number of fabulous B&B’s where you can stay and enjoy all the little former mining town has to offer!
Laguna Beach: Laguna is where I first lived when I moved to Southern California almost 40 years ago, so it has a special place in my heart. There is enough to keep you busy any time of the year, between the beautiful beaches, dozens of varied art galleries and restaurants. If you enjoy tide pools, Laguna Beach has my favorite tide pools to explore. One of the things that Laguna is well known for is The Pageant of the Masters. It is WELL worth going for. We visit it almost every year. Explaining the Pageant of the Masters is difficult, and when you try, it sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry! But believe me, it hasn’t been going for 85 years because it is boring! When you go up to see the Pageant, make sure to go up early enough to take in either the Art-A-Fair or the Sawdust Festival while you are there. And a hint from one who knows- make sure when you are purchasing your tickets for the Pageant that you go DIRECTLY to their website. There are some tricky websites that try to redirect you, and you will pay 4 or 5 times what you can get the tickets for directly through the Pageant! I put it in my calendar, and go on right after the holidays to purchase my tickets for the next year. This year we had 4th row seats! WELL worth planning for!
Up-the-Road-A-Piece: I love to go an hour or two away and stay the night. For us, that’s up to Orange County or LA area. There are SO many fabulous areas that you can get away to, explore, and feel like you’ve gone on a mini-vacay. Think about it for those of you who are in Southern California. A short jaunt takes you to Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Monica, Redondo Beach, LA, Venice Beach……… it goes on and on and on. And each one of those areas have SO many fun activities you can do, so much to explore! Museums, art galleries, beaches, craft fairs, street fairs, food truck nights………….
Subscribe to San Diego Magazine: You will find more fabulous things to do, more date ideas, more restaurant ideas and nearby getaway ideas than you could EVER implement! I keep files for future day-dation ideas…….. just in case we ever run out of our own ideas! They actually just implemented an “insider’s club” which will give you a lot of perks, discounts and fun events! You may want to check it out!
This list doesn’t even begin to cover the many amazing dates you can dream up with your sweetie, or fun ideas you can do with friends! If you have something you have found that is fun- let me know and I’ll add it to a future blog!