Who: My mom, my dad, his sister, her husband, their dog and their daughter, her fiancee, my three kids, and myself.
When: Departed on Monday, December 26. Returned on Saturday, December 31.
What: Big old road trip family vacation.
Where: We spent one night at a Hampton Inn in Rock Hill, SC on the way up. The Three Sisters log cabin is located in Montebello, VA. We also visited Spy Rock and Crab Tree Falls while in the area. We spent a night at my aunt’s house in Hampton, VA.
Why: As a child, my family used to take road trips constantly. It’s a unique way to travel and a unique experience overall. Not to mention, the desire to disconnect, to turn things off, to be present in each other’s company. I wanted my kids to try it out and see if they liked it as much as we did as kids.
Verdict: They loved it- the whole family. The kids want to go back. Well, Eldest didn’t want to leave but settled for coming back– in the summer and again in the winter. For me? It wasn’t peaceful and it wasn’t quiet. But it was family being family and that is extremely precious as well. There was no relaxing but there was a lot of experiencing and being open to what was around me and in front of me and next to me. I didn’t once think about the future or the past. I just ate everything that was happening up. I didn’t even get into major photography mode which I find bizarre because that type of situation is the stuff photographers love. But I just didn’t care to waste my time behind a little box. Yes I took photos, we all did, and there are some great ones.
Like these (click to enlarge):
Our temporary home in Montebello, VA was an authentic log cabin from the 1800's carefully modernized and cared for.
MutantBaby stomps around the wide open area around our cabin wearing a very exclusive handmade Mutant Supermodel hat.
Kids put together a Willy Wonka Gingerbread Cottage kit. I felt building it in a log cabin was the most fitting thing in the world.
The "hardy group", as my uncle referred to us, set out on a hike to Spy Rock. It's about 2 miles up and then you have to scale a big old rock. And then you get to scrabble back down and hike 2 miles down.
My cousin and I perched on top of Spy Rock freezing our tropical tushies off. Thankfully my uncle's awesome dog is a very eager lap blanket.
The "hardy group" reached the top all together. Gorgeous views up here. I mean seriously stunning. Also seriously cold. There were frozen puddles of ice all over the place.
My uncle's dog, an English Setter, quickly became the object of my children's affections. But MutantBaby in particular developed a bond with him. The dog is a pack dog and didn't mind at all being snuggled by a three year old.
When we left the log cabin, we took a bunch of family photos. This one is by far my favorite. It was inspired by my aunt and I who started walking in a Beatles' Abbey Road style when my uncle said he wanted one of everyone walking to the cabin. Before we knew it, we got the whole clan lined up. Even the dog joined in.
My mom and I wait for my dad to catch up to us on the trail to Crab Tree Falls.
At the halfway mark, half of our group went back-- my aunt and uncle, my mom, and Baby. My dad, Eldest, Daughter, and I decided to keep going the rest of the 1.7 mile hike. At the 1.6 mile marker, Daughter wanted to throw in the towel. I gave her a little pep talk.
We reached the top meaning Daughter and Eldest completed their first official hike. I am very, very proud of them for this accomplishment.
My Dad got this shot of all of us and the beautiful view from the top overlook at Crab Tree Falls.
At my aunt's house, the kids slept in sleeping bags. The dog couldn't resist and so a new pack was born. Do you see Baby snuggled all the way down in his sleeping bag under the table?