A Weekend Greataway
By Nathan French
We all dream of escape: just disappearing on occasion without cause to some far removed fantasy locale. However, with most that escape is a dream, smashed by hectic schedules and ever tightening finances. We simply give up on a break away; we all can create excuses of “I don’t have the time or the money,” or “I have too much on my plate to even think of a vacation.” In my quest to still be able to feel the tar beneath my wheels and the ability to simply break away, I have come up with the weekend road warrior.
A weekend getaway, if you will, neither heavy on travel nor the finances, but a way to still escape fitting both with your schedule and your pocketbook. A series dedicated to those whose pursuit for the wide open road, unwavering passion for travel, and lust for a getaway is still well and alive. In the weekend road warrior quest, my first destination was one many of us trek quite often for runs to the mall or to stores that Dalhart doesn’t offer: Amarillo. However, Amarillo can be much more than a place for shopping runs; it can be a dream weekend getaway.
Amarillo offers much more than you may think. With a diverse population and a thriving arts and entertainment scene, luxury accommodations, and a myriad of cuisine opportunities Amarillo fits the bill for an unforgettable weekend getaway.
My weekend adventure began with checking in to Amarillo’s only full service hotel Friday evening, The Ambassador Hotel. A hotel that prides itself upon “Texas Star Treatment,” and I was truly treated as a star. From a gift basket waiting in my luxurious quarters, to astounding service from a personal concierge, a delectable cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception, my stay on the Cattle Baron Level (the 10th Floor) was a fantastic experience that was truly a departure in itself from the hectic week. The Ambassador, while being a shining star in hospitality, also is a fantastic value for the budget conscious traveler. The hotel offers numerous weekend getaway packages for couples and families both that make the stay extra enjoyable and affordable.
Upon visiting with the genial hotel manager, Phyliss Payne, I was addressed of the many entertainment options in Amarillo for the weekend. A recommendation of a relatively new dining establishment Cowboy Gelato’s located on 6th Street was too much to pass up. Serving up delectable Texas fare, and even habanera strawberry gelato provided an exceptional dining experience. Following an amazing burger and filled to the brim with homemade gelato, I then proceeded to the evening’s entertainment; having the living daylights scared out of me (and hopefully not gelato or burger remnants).
In preparations for Halloween, Amarillo has rolled out a smorgasbord of scare opportunities that none can compare. Numerous haunted houses, a night tour of Llano Cemetery, and various other haunts provide you with many choices on being frightened. You can even purchase a pass that enables you entrance into six haunts for one price of $39.50. Ranging from haunted houses in old downtown buildings to even one in a former movie theater, where each area of the haunt is a scene from a famous horror movie, you are guaranteed a fright and also a great time. From pianos that play themselves, freakish ghouls, to chainsaw welding zombies you are sure to scream. If you are less on scare and more on other Halloween options the night tour of the Llano Cemetery or the Amazingly Fun Farm Corn Maze are great options.
The haunts, great food from Cowboy Gelatos, and relaxing accommodations made for a great getaway. Prior to my Saturday departure I took in another great local restaurant, Barnaby’s Beanery famous for their cornbread bun cheeseburgers. The beanery is also located on sixth and offers great casual dining with filling homemade food and even hot fresh cobbler. Upon departing the hotel, I was once more reminded of the “Texas Star Treatment” as a very kind bellhop packed my things for me and made sure I had not forgotten anything behind in the room. He then loaded my luggage without me ever having to lift a finger, and even provided me with a “roadie” mug of coffee; true Texas star treatment I would say.
For that great weekend getaway Amarillo truly fits the bill, so if you’re looking for that escape there is no better weekend than this one. But, be careful because weekend getaways can be addicting and you may find yourself labeling every day as a weekend, but if that be the case I’m sure I’ll see you somewhere along the highway, and if you’re lucky, maybe I will even treat you to a habanera strawberry gelato. So, till my wheels crave that tar for the next time, good luckk fellow weekend road warrior on your nearing getaway!
For more information on the Ambassador Hotel and booking, visit www.ambassadoramarillo.com. For haunt information and directions visit www.amarillohaunts.com. Cowboy Gelato’s is located at 2806 6th Avenue. Barnaby’s Beanery is located at 3811 W 6th Avenue.