Raise your hand if you’re ready to get the heck out of town?! There’s no doubt that you could use a serious, two week long vacay, with another week off tagged on for the recovery from completely disconnecting on the vacay. But finding time to squeeze in a solid chunk of restorative time is a challenge – it’s almost more mind boggling than relaxing.
The solution? A staycation! And lucky us, we live in an area with some incredible destinations, all within driving distance. Our group of experts, aka ML Interiors Group’s designers Megan and Debbie, put together a list of their favorite local-ish escapes. So pack a cooler and snacks, find someone to watch the kiddos, or even bring them along! These four DFW staycation destinations need to be on your radar (and in your maps app).
A Full Foodie Experience in Celina
If you hop on the tollway and head north, you’ll run right into Celina, a small Texas town that’s inhabited by native Texans and transplants alike. Our teammate and fellow designer Debbie also calls Celina home. So you can plan your staycation here, knowing it’s been personally approved by a Celina local.
“The Square,” or downtown area, has recently been updated to bring on a hint of modern flavor while still maintaining the small-town-Texas feel. This is where all the magic happens, with country music playing throughout the town square, just to pack as much Texas as possible into every moment of your adventure.
While you’re in Celina, you HAVE to check out the Toasted Walnut. Chef Joey Dawkins cooks up an incredible menu, including top secret offerings that are only revealed on Facebook. But, if you want to know a secret within a secret, we have the inside scoop from Debbie, so lean a little closer and listen carefully… order “The Italian,” a sandwich, and ask for it “Tribiani” style. That’s right, Tribiani, as in one of our favorite “Friends,” Joey! Clearly, this is our kinda restaurant. And yes, Chef Joey gets a little nod in the name, too.
If you’re lucky enough to stay in Celina for a couple of meals, be sure Tender Smokehouse is on your list. While most Texans can recognize some good BBQ, Tender is a nationally recognized brand for having some of the best smoked meats in the entire country. Their brisket is so good, Chef Joey uses it for a few menu items at Toasted– that’s what the locals call the Toasted Walnut, so now you can sound like you’re “in-the-know” when you visit.
The Little Wooden Penguin is a fabulous little gem that’s just a hop, skip and a jump from The Square. This is the ideal spot for those that like a little action with their wine (or beer), there’s an outdoor space with games, including a putt-putt! But this spot really takes off on the weekends, when food trucks roll in and guests enjoy live music. And, as if all of that wasn’t enough to satisfy even the most energetic of bar-goers, LWP has a succulent bar, where you can make your own adorable little party favors!
Wine Not Check Out Anna
Next up, Anna- a sweet little town, just Northeast of Dallas proper. You could easily make Anna a day trip, but your main event in Anna is visiting Barn Hill Vineyards, so do yourself a favor and just book yourself a place to stay for the night.
Not only is the local wine selection just what you need to take your staycay to the next level, the obscene amount of fresh air makes your escape from the city (or the ‘burbs) really feel like a true getaway. Barn Hill also features live music, only this time in the form of 80s tribute bands… 80s music + wine? Do you need any more convincing?
Channel Your Inner Farmer in Gunter
When you need a mental break but can’t make an overnight happen, put on your best farm gear and head toward Gunter. This little town has one of the best places to buy trees in the entire DFW area.
The town itself has classic small town Texas feel, so be sure to stop for a few snaps along the way. Especially if you’re dressed to impress in your Texas-best boots and hat combo. You’ll need proof that you didn’t just wear them for looks, you’re actually putting in some work down on the farm.
Now for the real fun, make your way to Treeland Nursery, where all the cool kids go to pick out their own trees for home landscape. You’ll find plenty of inspo on the grounds, so hop in one of their golf carts available and take notes… just make sure someone else does the driving. And be on the lookout for animals! There are geese, goats, and even a giant turkey that call this place home. And here’s a little insider tip to keep in your back pocket… this place is especially gorgeous in the fall when leaves change colors, not to mention it’s not a million degrees outside so you can walk around and enjoy your trip without melting.
Escape to the Other Big City
Fort Worth is still a major metropolis, but not nearly as busy as Dallas. This is what makes it such a perfect staycation destination! For starters, book a night or two at Hotel Drover, brilliantly designed with Texas’ history in mind, with a sprinkle of modern.
You don’t even have to leave the hotel, 97 West Kitchen & Bar is on-site and fantastic, but within walking distance is Atico. Here you can take in city views with your meal, or just make it a pit stop on your way to more exploring. But if you’re really in the mood for drinks, like drinks, drinks, Texican Court is a must. They have an entire room dedicated to tequila tasting! Megan loves the Mexican vacay vibes in this joint and highly recommends adding it to your staycation list.
But let’s be honest, what’s any kind of getaway without shopping?! Fort Worth is full of fabulous boutiques and shopping areas, but here’s Megan’s list of faves, so you know they’re good:
- The Shops at Clearfork: all the high end shops packed into one area, along with a bowling alley and movie theater. A definite must if you’re bringing the whole fam.
- Beehive: a trendy boutique with fashions latest and greatest.
- Esther Penn: another FW area shop overflowing with clothing and accessories.
- Archie’s and Guardado Gardens: if you need to satisfy your green thumb, check out either (or both) of these two nurseries.
- All of Magnolia Street: if you’re in a hipster sort of mood, you’ll love taking in all of what Magnolia Street has to offer, including oh-so-much artwork and lovely eateries.
So no more excuses. Fill up your gas tank and go. Don’t overthink it, your brain’s already been working overtime lately. Your obligations will still be here when you get back, but you’ll be much more equipped to handle them after a little time off.
And… if one of those lurking obligations happens to be revamping your existing home design, or finally creating a more functional space, we know a gal (or three) that can make that happen for you. You know where to find us when you’re ready to create the home of your dreams… unless you really don’t know where to find us, then we’ll leave that info right herea the end of the page. Enjoy your staycation!