MomGetawayDeepCreekIt finally happened. This busy, over-extended, sleep-deprived, group of mom friends that I’ve known for the last four years finally got a weekend away together. No kids, no husbands, no agenda (well okay just a little one). It was glorious.

On a crisp, foggy Saturday morning in April, our little group of six sleepy moms piled into my minivan. The back was piled high with overnight bags, coolers and lots of wine. The interior was cleaner than it’s been in years. The smell of lemon Clorox wipes hung in the air and the indent of car seats was still imprinted on the bucket seats. We had all kissed our kiddos goodbye, double checked that our husbands knew how to turn on the crockpot, and filled our mugs with coffee. And of course, peed twice before leaving.

As I drove out of my driveway, we were all quiet. Maybe some of us were tired, maybe some of us were wondering if we would even remember what it was like to be childless for 24 hours. And then like a light switch being turned on, the van suddenly became alive with the buzz of conversation. We spent the next three hours laughing, chatting, snacking, and sharing fitness advice, parenting woes, early marriage stories, and everything in between. There was never a meltdown, never the question of “are we there yet?” No sippy cups were thrown at my head. We even got almost halfway there without having to stop for a bathroom break. It was definitely the first time my van has witnessed such a peaceful road trip.

We chose Deep Creek Lake as our destination where we discovered a real gem, LakeStar Lodge, which is located right on the lake below Wisp ski resort. It’s a fairly small place with only one suite that accommodated our large group, but it was perfect! The suite had a great balance between rustic and modern, with three nice-sized bedrooms. The little kitchen had almost everything we needed, minus an oven. But what mom wants to cook on her getaway weekend anyway? I was ecstatic to see it had a Keurig coffee maker with a variety of K-Cup coffees and teas. The cozy living room was a great home-away-from-home for our short trip.

We filled the fridge as only six moms can, threw on some hiking attire, and headed to Swallow Falls State Park, about a 20-minute drive away. We spent a refreshing two hours hiking along a beautiful, 2-mile path alongside rapids and three waterfalls. It was so relaxing to take our time, breathe in the mountain air and not have to worry about our children sliding down an embankment into the water or slipping on the wet rocky path. No need for a potty break either. Oh the joy of spending time with adults who have exceptional bladder control. At the end, we begrudgingly walked back to the van, not wanting to leave behind the serenity and freedom we had felt in the woods. The problem was, we were hungry.

A perfect lunch ensued at the Moonshadow Cafe located in the small town of Accident. It had been recommended by a friend, and we weren’t disappointed. The eclectic atmosphere and unique variety of menu items was a welcome change from the usual four-piece nugget and chocolate milk order that I was accustomed to. We even tried crazy new things like buffalo cauliflower “wings” and things that would make my kids gag like roasted garlic quinoa.

We wrapped up our day by changing out of yoga pants and into “big girl clothes” to spend an evening at Firefly Farms & Creamery for a “Wine and Cheese Pairing” experience. I admit when we first walked into the place and the pungent smell of cheese hit me, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But we were pleasantly surprised to see the elegantly set long wooden table in front of a window looking into their cheese-making area. The owner, Pablo, passionately described the three cheeses we would be sampling and how they paired with the particular wines he was pouring into our glasses. He also described the antipasti and meat displays we would be sharing. We were then left to enjoy two hours of sampling, sipping and sisterly conversation that can only happen when the rest of the world seems to drift away. It felt very intimate, like I was sitting at home in my kitchen except I wasn’t constantly cleaning up spills and refereeing food fights.

Back at our lodge, the night lasted late into the evening. Like teenagers, we stayed up playing games, snacking, sharing goofy stories from our past and drinking way more than we would at home with the threat of a small toddler waking us up. What laid before us was a morning void of alarm clocks, crying babies or schedules demanding our attention. So we kept talking, kept pouring glasses of wine and savored every moment.

The next day we took our time checking out, taking advantage of the lodge’s fire pit outside and the beautiful sunshine. I colored. Some toasted marshmallows. Others sipped mimosas. We read our books and took walks. We face timed with our families, blew kisses through the screen and promised to be home to tuck them in that night.

Refreshed, renewed and already planning next year’s getaway, we headed home. Our arms were aching to hold our little ones and hug our spouses. Mom’s weekend getaway — success!

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Watts edited W

Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 4-year-old James and 2-year-old Luke.