At this time of year we are usually vacationing at Hammock Beach Resort on the east coast of Florida. But, not this May. While we love the resort and the activities in nearby St. Augustine, Daddy Rooster and I had a sneaky suspicion we were in a vacation rut. A tadbit same old, same old.
So, we broke the mold and headed toward new vistas. For added fun, we didn’t tell the kids where we were going. At Hammock Beach, they knew what to expect. But on this new family vacation, everything was a surprise. Since Daddy Rooster planned the trip on his own (did I mention that he is a great vacation planner?), much of the week was new for me too. And I love surprises.
The delights we shared as a family were numerous, but these are a few of my favorites.
1. Strolling the squares of Savannah. I didn’t realize how close this magical city is to Orlando, only four hours door-to-square; the perfect halfway mark to our true destination. Savannah is my favorite kind of place, where wandering around is rewarded with wonderful discoveries.
2. Spending the night at the Marshall House, a 160-year-old hotel that’s run like a bed & breakfast. The writer in me loved staying in the James Johnston suite, named for Savannah’s first newspaper printer.
3. Arriving at our Lake Lure, N.C., rental house at the magic hour when everything looks better than you could ever imagine. The squeals and screams of the kids were priceless.
4. Living in and on the cool waters of a mountain lake. Daddy Rooster dared all the kids to jump 15 feet off the top of the boathouse into the water. They each did. Repeatedly. So did we. It felt amazing.
5. Horseback riding as a family for the first time ever. The two-hour trail ride was an early 10th birthday present for the twins, but Kit-Kat got the best compliment from 20-year-old trail guide Zeb, who said “You look like you know what you’re doing.”
6. Climbing up Chimney Rock on an endless 50,000-step stairway to heaven. Or, maybe that’s just what it felt like to me. These mountain hikes are kicking my butt. Post-vacation exercise and diet regimen went into effect this morning. On the way down from the 2,280-foot elevation, Curly-locks and I sang “On Top of the World” by Imagine Dragons, which fit perfectly.
7. Doing nothing for a whole day.
8. Touring the Biltmore Estate on a rainy Saturday. We purchased the audio tour for everybody, so even the little kids enjoyed the famous residence. At dinner, each person said which room was his or her favorite. In case you’re wondering, I picked the library and Daddy Rooster liked this loggia best. Happily, these two spaces are connected by a wonderful sitting area, so even in America’s largest house, we picked spots close to one another.
9. Spotting pretty chickens at the Biltmore farm. A Frizzle bonus!
10. Cruising Lake Lure at happy hour. The kids loved taking turns at the wheel and serving us snacks, while Daddy Rooster and I toasted the end of another beautiful day. And a great family vacation.