Sometimes a date over coffee, tea, or even dinner just isn’t enough time to determine if someone is playing games or looking for a forever partner. As a single mom, I have no time to waste and I’m ready to settle into a relationship. When I find someone who I think has real potential, I’m ready to see the reality of who they are. So it becomes time to spend double digit hours together on a make-or-break vacation date. By the end, I’ll know which direction the date—is going. In fact, we might just might return home from our 24-hour vacay with newly minted relationship status.
So, where to go?
Getting out of town is ideal (though staying at a local hotel works too), just be careful to go only so far that you have a quick out in the case that things quickly go south. Since I live in LA, I chose Carlsbad; just north of San Diego, the seaside spa town is in that sweet spot for an easy driving overnight.
“He” and I had been dating for just over a month and we were had similar relationship goals. We booked a room at Omni La Costa Resort and Spa, a luxury spa treatment at The Spa at Park Hyatt Aviara, and dinner at restaurant Campfire to balance out the day—all located in Carlsbad. This plan gave us 24 hours to get to know each other on a more intimate level—physically and emotionally.
A lot is exposed during an out-of-town overnight. Of course, there’s the obvious sleeping in the same bed. But, consider the many other often forgotten details: changing, getting ready for dinner or bed, brushing your teeth/washing off your makeup, sleep habits (snoring or tossing and turning), negotiating bathroom time, packing styles, how you treat staff, awareness of each other’s comfort levels and needs, morning moods and breath, moments of silence while sitting in traffic, and more. There’s a lot to consider, pay attention to and take in when getting to know someone up close during a getaway.
More than the excepted, it’s the unexpected that often reveals the richest insight and lessons. For us, it was a migraine (for me) and lingering nose-blowing colds (for both of us). The morning we were scheduled to leave, I woke up with a debilitating stress-induced migraine that had me curled on the cool bathroom floor beside the toilet, my eye pillow strapped on my head to block out the light. He took control while simultaneously being tender, made me feel safe and cared for, and his thoughtfulness said a lot about his character and how he would be in a relationship. Thankfully, during the 92-mile drive to Carlsbad, my migraine melted away, and soon we were both ready to enjoy the process of getting to know each other.
After checking into our spacious suite overlooking the golf course and within walking distance to the famed Chopra Center, we relaxed for a minute, claimed our sides of the sink and bed, then took off for the Aviara Spa for the “Couples Spark at the Park.” The two-room spa suite, complete with a fireplace, shower, and lounge, opened out to a private pool. Enough said! Our massage therapists quickly harnessed and tamed mangled muscles. After the 60 minutes sped by, champagne, chocolate, and strawberries were waiting for us beside the fireplace in the suite we had to ourselves for the next hour. With muscles and minds relaxed, our hearts were opening, and we cuddled in our robes beside the fire, skinny-dipped in the pool, and then collected ourselves to re-enter the world for dinner.
We drove into Carlsbad Village and onto trendy and charming State Street just blocks from the beach, with a string of yoga studios, galleries, restaurants, and wine bars. Campfire is one of the hottest new dining spots, and it’s no mystery why. The casual vibe is inviting, the décor simultaneously familiar and intriguing, and the food and cocktails so good that you almost can’t stop. Then there’s the S’Mores plate with thick slabs of rich chocolate, house-made fluffy yet chewy marshmallows, flavorfully layered graham-style cookies, and a mini campfire to cook them on. The food is exactly as described: “Live Fire + Market-Driven Ingredients = So Damn Good,” and the energy creates the feeling of glamping with a group of awesome friends.
The next morning at La Costa we enjoyed breakfast on our balcony while watching the bunnies run around in the grass and the bees enjoying the sun. in an attempt to soak in as much relaxing time as possible before heading home, we sat on rocking chairs by the golf course, with Chopra Center tea and Peet’s Coffee in our hands, talking and connecting for hours… until the last possible check-out time. Everything was perfect: the company, conversation, connection, and every experience during our 24-hour vacation date.
Needless to say… it was a Make.