I struggle with balance. Staying away from social media sometimes seems impossible. I say that I’m going to put my phone away or avoid using the Internet, but it’s an addiction. I like to plan a trip away from it all every couple months so I can get back to what’s really important – quality time with Athena. We spent a night at Strawhouse Resorts in Big Flats, California and with no WiFi, phone service, or even television, we had time to share some great moments together.
Strawhouse Resorts is about 65 miles from Redding and it’s very isolated. They only have a few cottages that overlook Trinity River and an on-site organic coffee house and cafe. There’s not much else nearby, unless you’re looking for hiking trails or campgrounds.
When we walked into the cottage, Athena ran upstairs to check out her loft bedroom. The ceiling is so low that an adult can’t stand up and the bed is on the floor, but Athena felt like she was a princess in a castle. She was beaming with excitement to sleep up there and asked if she could play in her castle before dinner.
While she was playing princess, I sat on the deck and looked out at the river. It was exceptionally warm outside but there was a nice breeze coming through the mountains and it was comfortable.
Without WiFi or phone service, I didn’t even pick up my phone, except to take a few photos. The only sound was the river. I don’t think other guests had even arrived. I sat quietly and thought about how much I love the water. I never imaged I’d be able to be land-locked but access to a river or a large lake could change my mind. Growing up, I could always see the ocean. Easy access to it all year round was a major reason why I chose California.
Athena came down after about twenty minutes and asked if we could walk down to the river.
Like two big kids, we skipped through the grass and practiced our cartwheels. I don’t know when she transitioned from just putting her hands down on the ground and trying to kick her feet in the air to actually doing real cartwheels but they were perfect. It reminded me that we need to spend more time playing in the grass. We go to a playground, the beach, and the pool almost daily but it’s so different from my childhood in the backyard or playing in the grass. Life in California is bizarre like that but it was a good realization.
We noticed a man fishing up the river and she asked a ton of questions. She hadn’t been fishing before so we walked up the river closer to him. I said hello and he seemed friendly so I mentioned that she’d never been fishing before. Kindly, he offered for her to cast the line. She tried a few times with a huge smile on her face. Clearly, I know what needs to go on our bucket list.
We eventually made our way back to the resort for dinner and chatted with the owners for over an hour. It was easy to see that they loved living there and didn’t see it as work. Both the husband and the wife shared stories with us and it felt more like we were at a friend’s house than at a resort. We didn’t have anywhere else that we had to be or any schedule. It was laid back and casual.
At 8 pm, I read Athena a story and stayed in bed with her. We talked for a while about our day before drifting off to sleep together. I never do that at home. After I read to her, I always stay up and watch tv or write. I love that she sleeps in her own room and I don’t want to disrupt the routine but I felt like it was a special treat for both of us. I usually stay up until well past midnight and I never feel well-rested in the morning.
I woke up refreshed and ready for a new adventure. I needed the time away as much as she did.