8 Exciting Weekend Getaways You Should Experience!

Starved Rock State ParkThere’s no doubt about it – Edwardsville and the surrounding St. Louis area is a great place to be. There’s so much to enjoy, and it’s a wonderful place to live! Sometimes, though, it’s nice to get away from it all and enjoy a new, exciting place full of brand-new adventures.

Here’s a list of 8 exciting weekend getaways for you to enjoy close to (but just far enough away from) your home!

Chicago – One of the first weekend getaway destinations that many St. Louisans think of is Chicago! Though it’s a bit of a drive away, the time on the road is definitely worth the adventures that await you in the Windy City. Be sure to check out Millennium Park and nearby Michigan Avenue. Navy Pier, which sits right atop Lake Michigan, boasts many fun activities for you to enjoy, including a Ferris wheel! Don’t forget about the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Field Museum, and several other great activities in and around the city!

Springfield, Illinois – If you’re a history buff and need a quick breather from the St. Louis region, Springfield is a great place to visit for the weekend! There are several museums and plenty of history for you to enjoy. Visit downtown to take in the local shops and eateries or walk on the wild side at Lake Springfield!

Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri – Is the city not your scene? Try going west to the Lake of the Ozarks! Just a few hours spent on the road will get you to the beautiful lakes and all of the attractions that come with it. Enjoy relaxing on the huge lake and listening to the birds chirp and the waves lap. Rent a jet ski and take a spin on the lake. You can also choose to take your adventure on land and enjoy mini golf, go-carting, and lots of great dockside restaurants. You can’t really go wrong at the Ozarks!

Starved Rock State Park and Dekalb, Illinois – If you want to be one with nature but not be too far away from civilization, head north to Dekalb, Illinois, about an hour west of Chicago. You can walk around Dekalb and nearby Sycamore and enjoy the college town feel while having all you need at your fingertips. Go south just a little bit on Interstate 39 to get to Starved Rock State Park, a gorgeous gem that features several different waterfalls and beautiful gorges.

Memphis, Tennessee – Want some culture in your getaway? Check out Memphis! You’ll want to take in the sights at Graceland for some Elvis history and other sites like the Memphis Zoo. Don’t forget to sit back and enjoy some barbecue – it’s some of the best in the nation!

Branson, Missouri – Another fun weekend getaway to take in is at Branson, tucked in the southwest corner of Missouri! There are so many great activities to do in Branson including riding the roller coasters at Silver Dollar City, catching some great shows, ziplining, horseback riding, enjoying the lake, and acting like a kid again at the numerous water parks. The choices are nearly endless in Branson.

Galena, Illinois – Up in the northwestern region of Illinois is a town that is an artist’s dream. If you enjoy art or are an artist, be sure to check out the art galleries, antique stores, and boutique shops on Main Street. Get away from the busy streets by golfing, taking a river cruise, or indulging in a kayaking excursion. For the full effect, stay at one of Galena’s great bed and breakfast locations and explore the wineries in the area!

Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana – If you love water parks, and we mean REALLY love water parks and fun rides, then head over to Santa Claus, Indiana and spend your weekend at Holiday World! Take a daring ride on the Mammoth, one of the largest water rides or take in a show. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!

Garden of the Gods and Southern Illinois – Whoever said that Illinois is flat and boring has never seen the beauty of southern Illinois! Visit the southwest portion of the state to take in some great hiking at Giant City State Park, visit the humongous Bald Knob Cross, and learn about some local history. Check out the southeast section of Illinois and take in the rocky glory of Garden of the Gods or go see Cave-In Rock, a place where pirates used to hide out in olden times, right on the Ohio River. Oh, and we definitely recommend renting a cabin for this southern getaway!

Vacations and getaways are always fun, but there’s nothing like coming back to the comforts of your home. If you’re looking for a great home in Edwardsville or the surrounding area, pick up the phone and call the Massey Team at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298. You can also check out our most up-to-date listings at www.dianamasseyhomes.com!

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9 Tips to Help You Find the Perfect Home for You!

House huntingThere’s a certain sense of excitement that accompanies the idea of house hunting. Perhaps it’s the idea of a new beginning, whether it’s moving out of your college dorm into a condo, trading your apartment for your first home, or finding a home that better suits your needs.

While house hunting can definitely be a matter of the heart, it’s always smart to use your head and stick to logic instead of lofty and potentially detrimental ideals. We have compiled a list of 9 handy tips for you to keep in mind when you look for your perfect home. Check them out below!

Think About the Long Haul – When you begin looking for a home, you’ll want to search for one that you are able to see yourself living in for several years or even 5 or so years at the very least. Staying in a home for a longer period of time can help you avoid the costly and time-consuming process of buying and moving over and over again. Besides, extra time that you spend in the home can be just enough to help you weather a downturn in the real estate market.

Leave Room to Grow – If you can afford to, aim for a home that can adapt to your needs however your life changes. You might want additional room if you decide to start a family or if a friend or relative needs to rely on you for boarding for a while. If you aren’t able to afford a home that will meet your anticipated needs, at least look for one that will allow you to build on later.

Pursue Your Type – Homes are not one-size-fits-all. There are several styles of homes out there in many different sizes. Are you thinking of purchasing a single-family home, or would a condo or townhome better suit your needs? If you’re looking for a single-family home, then you will need to maintain the home and the property. If you don’t want to have to deal with mowing a lawn, fixing the plumbing, and all those other issues, a condo might be a great idea, but you will need to keep in mind that you’ll have neighbors right next door to you. Weigh the pros and cons and see what suits you the best!

Know the Neighborhood – When you’re buying a house, you need to consider not jus the house itself but also the neighborhood in which the house is located. Think about whether the neighborhood that the house is in will suit you. Keep loud neighbors, barking dogs, and any large facilities nearby such as schools, churches, or hospitals in mind. Take into account the feel of the neighborhood and how safe it is. It is essential to find a home in a community that you will feel safe in and enjoy!

Accept Imperfections – Several home owners or potential home owners go house hunting thinking that there is an absolutely perfect home. We might dismiss a home if a bathroom is laid out strangely, if there are no walk-in closets, or if the washer and dryer hookups are in the basement. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as the perfect house. You’ll always find an imperfection or a downside to each property you look at. Remember to take the bad or troublesome with all of the good you see and see which side outweighs the other when you consider purchasing a property.

Stick to Your Budget – It’s so easy to overspend when you’re in the hunt for a home. You want the best that your money can buy, and that might lead you to look at (and fall in love with) homes you truly cannot afford, which will lead to heartbreak. Examine your finances first and stick to a budget. It’s smart to buy a home that you can easily afford, especially if unexpected financial commitments and problems arise later on.

Look at Old and New Homes – It’s definitely nice to be able to move into a place that’s brand-new and never has had an owner. It’s like being given a clean canvas, ready for you to create your own masterpiece. New isn’t always better, however. While you’re house hunting, consider looking at both old and new. Old homes can have quite a bit of charm, and you can always add your own touches and upgrades when you purchase the property.

Consider Location – Perhaps the most important aspect of a home is its location. You might find a home that you absolutely adore, but it might be located in a very unsafe area or on a very busy street. Before taking a look at the home’s interior, sharply consider its location FIRST.

Find a Passionate Agent – An essential piece to the puzzle when it comes to finding that perfect home for you is to have a passionate real estate agent on your side. Make sure to find someone who knows the area thoroughly, who can answer all of your tough questions, ground you, find what you really need and want, and who will listen to your concerns and desires. If you’re looking for a home in the Metro East St. Louis region, the Massey Team is the perfect choice for you! We will be able to locate the perfect home for you and will look after your best interest first.

Are you ready to begin your search for the perfect home for you? Start by calling us at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298! You can also get a head-start on your research by checking out our listings at www.dianamasseyhomes.com. We look forward to hearing from you!