Everyone who grew up in the 80s probably remembers the Calgon commercial. The commercial starts out by showing a frantic mom running around as she tries to manage the chaos within her house. After being pushed to her limit, she shouts out, “Calgon, take me away!” The next scene shows the mom relaxing in a hot bubble bath while problems of the world are at bay.
But, what about men? Can a man have a “Calgon” moment?
Let me give you a brief glimpse into my current state. I have 4 kids, raging from 12-years-old to 15-months-old. My house has been going through a renovation for the past 5 months. I homeshool my 10-year-old. I completed my 7th year coaching a middle school soccer team. And like the rest of America, I have had it with our current political climate.
Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf and Spa, take me away!
Lucky for me, a Mancation in beautiful Miramar Beach, Florida appeared on my calendar. Oh, you’re not familiar with the term, “Mancation?” A Mancation is when a group of men take a trip together for a much-needed getaway. I’ve seen many moms do this over the years, but have yet to see it happen with men.
Mancation Day 1
After checking into the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa, I entered my room where I faced a difficult choice, “Do I take a nap or eat lunch?” My stomach answered for me and I ate lunch with 3 of the other early arrivers. (There was 7 of us on the trip.) After lunch, I took a short nap on the beach. My Manacation had begun.
After cleaning up, I met with my fellow Mancation partners for a tour around the Hilton Sandestin property. I had already accustomed myself with the beautiful beach and the three heated pools. Two of the pools are outside and one is inside. I envisioned my kids alternating from the beach to the pools as we toured the resort.
Another fantastic experience that caught my attention at the Hilton Sandestin is the Kids Krew room. Kids Krew is a playroom for ages 5 through 12. Staff develops organized play time for kids, which helps parents have adult-time. I will get into many great things about this hotel, but being able to drop kids off while my wife and I could enjoy one another’s company without kids sounds wonderful.
After our tour, we enjoyed a bourbon tasting and food pairing at Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood. Seagar’s is the only AAA 4-Diamond steakhouse in Northwest Florida. Seagar’s is located within the hotel and led by Chef Dan Vargo, who displayed a passion for food during our Mancation weekend.
After dinner, it was time to rest our stuffed and weary bodies. For a moment I entertained having a drink at the bar, but my comfortable bed awaited me in the room. My first day of the Mancation concluded.
Mancation Day 2
(AKA One of the Best Days Ever!)
After awaking from being serenaded by waves crashing against the shore, I met up with my fellow vacationers in the Coffee Shop for a quick bagel. After scarfing down my bagel, I crossed off a bucket list item by going on a fishing excursion.
Three other bloggers and myself boarded a boat. None of the bloggers on board had much fishing experience. Our guides for the excursion were two veteran fishermen who could not have been more gracious and welcoming. They easily talked us through what we needed to know and assured us they would help in pulling in some big ones. And they did! Our fishing outing was for four hours and we caught many fish. In fact, we pulled fish in the boat almost immediately. By the end of the four hours, we had sore forearms and wrists from catching fish that weighed up to 28 pounds.
We had two hours to enjoy the beach before our spa appointment. Yes, we went from a fishing trip to a spa appointment. Serenity by the Seas is a spa that located within the resort. After soaking our bodies in hot tubs and getting detoxed in the steam room, we put on our robes and met our masseuses. Shortly after my massage began, I was out. Half-way through the massage, I was asked to turn over, and again went back to sleep. 30 minutes later, I was awakened and felt great.
For dinner, we ate at Sandcastles and once again stuffed ourselves with delicious food. The Chef at Sandcastles even cooked our fish we reeled in earlier in the day.
As I entered my room and walked past the bunk beds, I missed my kids terribly. I wondered what they would look like climbing up and down the bunk beds or watching TV while their heads rested upon their pillows. It was too late to Skype with them, so I wrote out on my balcony and then went to sleep.
Mancation Day 3
Our day began where the previous ended, inside Sandcastles. This time for breakfast. Visitors at the Hilton Sandestin wake up to two huge buffets of yummy breakfast food and the best omelets one could eat.
After time on the beach, the Mancation tribe met up at Seagar’s Steak House for a cooking demonstration with Chef Dan Vargo. He walked us through his recipes and I am looking forward at attempting a recreation of his artful and tasty dishes. Every gnocchi that will come across my plate will be compared to Chef Vargo’s gnocchi.
Our excursion for the day was stand-up paddle boarding with YOLO Board Adventures in Choctawhatchee Bay. I had paddle boarded once before and could stand up easily. Before we paddled across the bay, we cruised through a marshy maze. Once we got out in the bay, I got a little cocky and attempted selfies. A wave humbled me and I went under. I bobbed back up and climbed quickly onto the board.
Dinner was back at Sandcastles and we enjoyed wine pairings with our dinner. The food and wine flowed across the table as we recapped our days at the resort.
Our last evening of the Mancation was spent on the beach for a bonfire with s’mores. The seven guys and our guides laughed and enjoyed beers together. It was the perfect way to end what was a wonderful 3 days of relaxing and good times. The Hilton Sandestin took me away.
I arrived home and was ready to jump back into my fatherly duties. I was well-rested and my escape was just what I needed to help me get through whatever rut I was in. Because I was away, I was a better father when I returned. Which sounds bad, but everyone needs a get-away from time to time for some rejuvenation.
All of our experiences can be shared by visitors at the resort.
Disclaimer: I was invited to the resort as part of a media tour. The words and opinions in this post are my own.