Everyone wants a little time away from it all.

Young couples who juggle children’s schedules and jam-packed work calendars dream of a little peace and quiet.

“Empty nesters” want a place to spend time with their children and grandchildren where someone else will take care of the cleanup.

According to the Travel Industry Association, the idea of a quick weekend getaway increasingly appeals to a variety of Americans. More than 225 million such trips were taken last year, an increase of more than 10 percent in the past five years.

Marcus and Sunny Walker of Edmond are among the local couples whose getaway destination is almost in their own backyard. Their most recent excursion was a one-night trip to the Colcord Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City on Friday.

Marcus travels frequently on business with his company, and the couple have two small children, so they enjoy a nearby escape.

The couple’s first Bricktown excursion was last summer, when they celebrated Sunny’s birthday with several other couples. The group went out for dinner and dancing and then enjoyed a late-night restaurant breakfast before a hotel stay.

For the Walkers, staying out until the wee hours and having a nice hotel room to return to was a special treat.

“That’s one thing, if you stay up late, you get to sleep in a little bit,” Sunny said. “After you’ve been out, the last thing you want to do is pick up the kids at a baby sitter or at the grandparents’ house. It’s easier just to get a room and be able to relax.”

The Walkers planned their recent getaway to the Colcord Hotel based on the hotel’s Web site and good recommendations. They looked forward to a restaurant dinner and the downtown entertainment options, Sunny said.

“Bricktown has grown so much, it seems like you’re going out of town, when it’s really only 20 minutes away.”

Sunny’s parents, Bob and Kaylon Plugge of Edmond, were happy to baby-sit 5-year-old Ian and 2-year-old Stella.

In fact, it was the Plugges’ parental influence that inspired their daughter and son-in-law to try local mini-vacations. The older couple has enjoyed numerous Bricktown overnighters

themselves.

“My husband and I have a hard time getting out of town for extended periods, and we like being spontaneous,” said Kaylon Plugge, adding she and her husband find the short retreats “rejuvenating.”

They are happy to help their daughter and son-in-law make their own getaway by providing baby-sitting.

“It is fun for us, too,” Plugge said. “And one night away is easier on the grandparents (than a lengthier stay).”

She said the weekend vacation concept is good for couples of all ages.

“You get a lot of long-term benefits for a very small investment.”

Phillip King, executive vice president of Coury Collection, the umbrella group that owns the Hotel Ambassador in Tulsa and the Colcord Hotel in Oklahoma City, said he frequently sees older couples booking weekend lodging.

“It seems to be the older crowd with grown children,” he said. “We saw an example recently of a couple who came in for the man’s 65th birthday. They brought in their family and had a suite with a dining room table and sofas, so they had a homelike atmosphere where their family could get together.”

King said Bricktown hotels are a great vacation spot for local couples and families.

“I do believe we are seeing the Oklahoma City downtown area as a destination place where people can enjoy the hot spots,” he said. “Oklahoma City has done a very good job with the MAPS project and bringing people in to the attractions. It’s G-rated, or PG-rated, and very family friendly.”

Sunny said she hopes to plan many more mini-vacations in the Oklahoma City area.

“I would love to do it more often than every six months,” she said. “It’s something we would like to do more often than we do.”

(Alice Collinsworth may be reached via e-mail at acollinsworth@edmondsun.com.)

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