Recently, we had the chance to do a weekend getaway, just me and my wife Ronnie without the kids. The great thing about living in Atlanta is that we’re so close to so many major cities, so we have plenty available options to travel for short overnight and weekend vacations to interesting destinations. But what’s surprising is that since we moved here six years ago, we still haven’t taken the opportunities to visit many of them.
We travel often between work and play, but most of the time we’re flying in and out for longer amounts of time. With so much travel, I’ve become the go-to Travel MANager in our relationship and the person who often provides tips for the other husbands in my circle (as I encourage them to take over their travel plans, too.)
For our weekend getaway, we spent two nights in Birmingham, Alabama, and it was a great introduction to the city for us. Our weekend was a combination of the past with a walk through history and a look into our future as we talked, enjoyed each other and renewed our marital bond.
TAKING A SURPRISE DETOUR – TUSKEGEE
We started with a road trip into Birmingham, Alabama from Atlanta. However, instead of going directly to Birmingham, I surprised my wife with a quick detour to Tuskegee, Alabama, where we visited the home of the Tuskegee airmen. And we also visited the George Washington Carver Museum on the campus of Tuskegee University.
Tip: As the travel Manager, it’s your job to know what your spouse likes to do on vacation. My wife loves to take tours and visit historical sites on our vacation getaways. So she was very, very happy about our little detour to Tuskegee.
OUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Going to Tuskegee was a 1.5 hour detour from Birmingham. So after our inspiring trip, we checked into our home away from home, the Homewood Suites by Hilton Birmingham-South/Iverness.
The Homewood Suites by Hilton turned out to be the perfect destination to use as our home-base for our weekend escape without the kids. When we wanted to venture out, we were within 15 minutes of downtown. But we were also surrounded by stores, shops and tons of eating options. And when we were tired from seeing the city or just needed a chance to rejuvenate, we returned to the hotel, which had a host of great amenities.
They served free breakfast every morning, had a clean and spacious pool, a Gazebo area with a gas grill and a half-court basketball space.
On our first morning, we even got an early start before the free breakfast by working out in their fitness center. I also loved the kitchen in our room, which allowed us to bring back food and drinks to the room and then have the ability to reheat as needed.
Tip: Fellas, please pay attention to the details. Picking the right hotel accommodations is just as important as selecting the right activities.
RELIVING THE PAST
While in the city, we visited the historic 16th Street Baptist church and the Civil Rights museum that sits right across the street. We both agreed that the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute was the most impressive museum either of us had ever visited. The way they chronicled the civil rights movement and important moments in the struggle for equality and the role that Birmingham played was both breathtaking and almost unbelievable.
We also walked across the street and took a stroll in the Kelly Ingram Park, the very same park where many large protests and demonstrations started and where teens had fire hoses sprayed on them and police dogs set to attack. It was very surreal and like taking a walk down memory lane.
PLANNING THE FUTURE
The weekend in Birmingham also gave us the chance to focus on our future. We talked about plans for our business, our life and our family. We spent a portion of one day at a great mall called Riverchase Galleria. And had an amazing Japanese steak house dinner at a restaurant called Kobe, which was just a few miles from our hotel. We actually ended up sitting next to a couple that was from the same town that our business office is in.
Tip: Concerts, amusement parks and movies are fun, however you’re not able to really talk and connect as a couple while there. So please make sure you schedule some time to get re-connected as couple over dinner, back in the hotel or on a relaxing stroll or tour.
We really had a great time, and I was able to pull together my go-to keys for successful travel to make sure the trip went off without a hitch.
Now the only question left is where do we go next and will we see you there?