We FINALLY had a family vacation. We have been planning on a super fabulous vacation as our family present when I graduated. Well after my defense in July we finally got around to planning this vacation. It was crazy, but wonderful!
We undertook over 30 hours of driving to and from our home to manage this vacation but it was worth every hour we spent in the car. We started our vacation in NJ for the wedding of one of my wonderful cousins. This should have taken us about 12 hours of drive time, in reality it took close to 18. We left Thursday evening and finally crashed into a hotel room about 2 am. Hit the road the next morning and expected to be in NJ about 5pm, well unfortunately for us a semi carrying explosives decided to catch fire a few miles in front of us in the middle of nowhere and our 6 hour drive to NJ turned into 12 hours on the second day. The wedding was wonderful. Honestly if you are EVER invited to a wedding in NJ, GO! I have been to 2 awesome weddings in NJ.
Leaving NJ we headed for Chincoteague, VA, home of the famous Misty of Chincoteague books, which was about 5-6 hours south of where we were in NJ. This is a wonderful place to take kids. There is a beach, things to do without being in your face crazy tourist crap, and places to hike and bike. The island is really designed well for biking (we didn't, but it looked like fun) and there is a trolley system that runs in the afternoons/evenings as well. We rented a lovely 3 bedroom townhome that had a private deck and dock and view of Assateague Island. It is actually very close to where they swim the ponies ashore. Of our 5 full days on Chincoteague we spent 3 full days on the beach at Assateague in the guarded section of the beach. The waves were nice, nothing to high or rough, and a small current. This was our kids first time at a beach. S had been to a beach at 20 months or so, but of course she doesn't remember that. They were all a little timid at first, but the big 3 warmed up quickly and were playing in the waves by the end of beach #1. Miss B (we're trying not to call her baby B) was not a fan of the beach, not sure why since she loves both water and sand, but as long as we held her she was ok.
On our alternate days we explored in town and attempted to hike on Assateague. We actually alternated beach days and explore town/Assateague days as hubby tends towards sunburns. Now being in town was great, but exploring Assateague was another story. There are mosquitoes galore! I purchased 2 new DEET-free repellents which did work, but unlike DEET-based repellents the bugs would swarm around you (and the stroller- OMG the stroller). In fact on our first hike to the Assateague lighthouse we didn't pack repellent and were so intent on getting inside the lighthouse we left the camera in the stroller. Luckily for us the kids LOVED climbing the lighthouse so we did it again on our last day with repellent and a camera. Now the 2 visitor centers of Assateague are very nice and I recommend them, but we didn't get a chance to try out their children's activities so I can't give you an opinion on them. We did attempt to hike another trail on the island, but the bugs swarming us again made it a bit miserable. Oh well!
Now this area is a GREAT place for seafood, which hubby and I dearly love. We found a great place called The Crab Shack and ordered from there twice. The crabs........OMG the crabs........ YUMMO! It was heaven. I enjoyed oysters and crab and flounder- all local to the area. One more reason why we would like to move that way.........
But I digress (as usual). So the beach was amazing and the people super friendly. In fact on our first day at the beach a couple shooed away the seagulls from our stuff since we had inadvertently left pretzel crumbs around and the birds were apparently going through our things searching for food! The kids found some other kids to dig in the sand with on some days, but mostly played together. It's times like these that I really appreciate having a "large" family. I love that my kids bring along their own playmates, what a special experience for them. One I particularly cherish being an only child.
So after 5 full days on Chincoteague we had to unfortunately return back to our lives and split our 12/13 hour drive up across two days. We did take the children across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel system, which was a great experience for them. Luckily for us we did not meet any major traffic developments on our trek home and rounded out our vacation with a fabulous dinner and margaritas at our favorite local Mexican restaurant.
I promise to post pictures and more stories about vacation in the next few days.