Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Reassuring Glimpse of the Empty Nest

It is amazing how much brighter my future seemed after enjoying a delicious meal in a fun restaurant!

Regular readers of this blog know that my husband, son, and I were in Colorado for spring break a few weeks ago. We spent four days looking at college campuses and sightseeing. On Thursday morning we dropped my son off at the Denver International Airport, so he could go visit his sister on her college campus in Washington.

Denver International Airport

The weather in Colorado had been warm and sunny all week, but winter conditions and snow returned that morning.

snow, spring storm

After saying goodbye to my son, my husband and I were suddenly “empty-nesters.” The rest of the weekend would provide a trial-run of how our lives will be in just a little over a year! As we began the twelve-hour drive home to Montana, the car felt empty with no one in the back seat. As miles ticked by, I think my husband and I both began to make a conscious effort to ensure that our weekend alone went well.  We were seeking the reassurance that we would be okay with this transition next year!

Sheridan, Wyoming was about the half-way point of our trip.  A good place to take a break and get some dinner.  We reasoned that we could stop for a few hours, and still easily be home before midnight.

My husband's watch battery had died, so before going to dinner we stopped in Riddle’s Jewelry store on Main Street to get it replaced.  While we waited, we admired their beautiful merchandise and asked for dinner recommendations. From the several restaurants that were suggested, the one that sounded really good to us was Frackelton’s Fine Food and Spirits. It was located right next door.

Frackelton's, Main street, Sheridan, WY

We settled in at a cosy table by the window, with a view of the quaint main street of Sheridan. Our friendly waitress practically bubbled with enthusiasm about the menu and the beverages, and gave us excellent suggestions for both.  The restaurant was fairly empty when it arrived, but it soon began to fill up.  

We had just placed our order for appetizers and salad, when I blurted out to my husband,
"How badly do you want to get home tonight?" Happily, he was having similar thoughts.

rhino statue, Sheridan WY
Spotting a little rhino statue in this Western town made me suspect there was a lot in Sheridan to explore!

When the waitress brought our salads, we asked her for hotel recommendations. Then, since driving home that night was no longer in our plans, ordering wine and a cocktail became an option!

cosmo, cocktail

We spent several delightful hours in Frackelton's.  The atmosphere was fun, the prices reasonable,  and the service and the food were both outstanding.

The entire large menu looked tempting. We ordered several appetizers to share: Calamari, Spanish Beef Kabobs, and Thai-spiced crab cakes.  Fairly full after those, we then decided to split just one entree. We agreed upon the pan-roasted salmon, served with sauteed spinach, roasted beets and orange vinaigrette.

salmon, spinach, beets, entree

All of this food would have been plenty, but because the Lobster Mashed Potatoes sounded so unique, we ordered a side of them as well.

mashed potatoes, lobster

The chef kindly served our shared portions on separate plates. Everything was deliciously flavorful, perfectly prepared, beautiful, and interesting.  I can highly recommend every item that we tasted, and days later my husband is still raving about the lobster mashed potatoes!

Already having ordered far more food than we usually do, we really were too full for dessert - but it sounded just too good to pass up.  We further indulged, and shared a serving of this beauty:


We spent the night in Sheridan. Our adventures continued throughout the remainder of the weekend, and I'll tell you more about them in my next post.  The location of the mystery photos I published last Friday will be revealed then too!

As my children head out on their own adventures, I am glad I still have this guy by my side!

I hope I haven't made you too hungry. If you are ever near Sheridan, WY and have time for a good meal, stop in at Frackelton's!

Have you ever been to Sheridan, WY? 

Which item on Frackelton's menu most appeals to you?

In the spirit of full disclosure, I did receive some compensation for this post, but the opinions I have expressed are an accurate and honest reflection of my experience.
This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!


  1. The problem with so many empty-nesters is that, when the kids actually move out, the parents suddenly realize that they are left with someone they only vaguely recognize. Unless they have kept the love and friendship alive through the 'kid' years. And you have. What a fun start to a weekend. Can't wait to hear the rest! :)

    1. It was a fun weekend Diane. I hope that you enjoyed part 2. I am lucky that I have a husband who loves to plan fun things for us to do!

  2. Yum.
    And I love that you stayed over.
    Echoing Diane Tolley as well.

    1. Had we not stayed over, we would have gotten home really late, and the next day would have just been exhausted and non-productive anyway. Best decision ever!

  3. Sounds like a great start to the weekend.

  4. Lobster mashed potatoes sound amazing!!!! :) Definitely a place to put on the "to visit" list!

    1. I think some time we may try to make the lobster mashed potatoes at home ... they would be perfect with a beef dinner!

  5. This makes me so happy Susan! Glad that you and your husband had a fun, kid free getaway (even if it was an on the way home-away)! There are definitely advantages to the empty nest.

    1. Like you, Lana, I have to fight the urge to hold on tight to my kids and never let them leave home! Our "tourist weekend" really did remind me though, just how fun it can be to some spend time with just my husband!

  6. Oh now this was such a treat to read. Love the spontaneity of staying overnight. That really is the best. And that you were compensated for such a lovely meal by writing about it? Icing on the cake. Well, at least the berry drizzle on that yummy looking cake ...
    Empty Nesting has all sorts of advantages, Susan. I'm two years in and while I can't wait for July when both of mine are home, I am truly enjoying life within my empty nest. Totally suspect that you will too!

    1. I hope Frackeltons enjoyed my article as much as I enjoyed writing it - and eating there Kelly! I look forward to another meal next time we are in Sheridan. Glad to hear that you are happy - and that both your kids will be home with you in July!

  7. glad you had such a wonderful time - we've been empty nesters for a few years now and it's all turning out to be quite lovely. We had a couple of hiccups along the way but once you find your groove it's a very pleasant stage of life. When the kids come back its great & then it's great to say goodbye when they fly off again!

    1. Thank you so much for these words of encouragement Leanne. Even though our weekend went well, I still get a lump in my throat when I think of both my kids moving out. It is good to know that parents can adjust!!

  8. You and your husband have gone through so much together. Many couples could not handle all the stress that you have. I think you will be fine, no matter what Rena ... but I know that it children moving on is what we wish for them, so it is easier than what you worry about. Live each day .. just like you re doing.


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