We normally don’t go on two vacations in one summer, but this year was different. A couple of weeks ago we went to Raystown Lake for a few days with my parents, which you can read about here. Then, this past week, my husband, kids, and I went to the Luray area of Virginia for a few more days away. We had a good time and it was so pretty that I took tons of pictures. I won’t share them all, but here’s a brief recap of all we did.
I’ve been a little MIA this week and have done nothing really creative or even domestic. Actually, I didn’t even touch a single computer or phone the entire time–and it felt quite good!
We took a mini family vacation for 4 days out to Raystown Lake, which is about 3 hours from where we live. If you’ve never heard of it, the lake is one of the largest man-made lakes in the eastern United States. In fact, at 8,300 surface acres, it’s pretty huge. Surrounded by even more acres of woodland scenery, it’s a beautiful destination for anyone looking to kick back and relax for a few days. Even though we’ve lived in PA our whole lives, not one of us had actually been there to visit. Here’s some pics that I took from our stay:
It’s good to be home, even though I just spent a week in beautiful, sunny Sarasota. Our family had the opportunity to take a “real” vacation, not something we do too often. In fact our last family vacation was almost 3 years ago, when the twins were a little over a year old. You wouldn’t believe how much I had to pack for THAT one! Luckily we had purchased a roof storage bag to hold all of those extra baby goodies. This time around wasn’t so bad, but still a lot of stuff to haul. Fortunately we had access to a washer and dryer this time too, so I went a bit minimal on the clothing.
Let me just say that we had a great time as a family. I think we really needed this trip together, just us and the kids. It was wonderful to get away from all of our normal daily activities and have nowhere we had to be at any certain time. In fact, once we were away from all that, I realized just how much we are involved in.The kids had Mom and Dad with no distractions–that’s right, no phone calls, no internet, no e-mail, and we actually didn’t even turn on the TV until near the end of the week. May I just brag on these kids for a minute? Our road trip was about 20 hours each way with stops, though we only stopped about every 4 hours. Those kids kept themselves occupied almost the whole time with books, little toys, songs, etc. Yes, there were a couple of squabbles here and there, but nothing like you would imagine. Thank you Lord!!!
I’ll stop rambling now and share some highlights of our trip. The first highlight for me was the beaches. We tried several in the area out. The kids favorite one was Caspersen Beach, which is famous for people finding shark’s teeth. My gang was SO psyched when they really did find a bunch of shark’s teeth, amongst lots of pretty shells.
This is the first beach we tried out in Florida and I was struck by how blue the water looked. So pretty!
We also checked out the beach at Siesta Key one evening. I had heard that the sand there was like baby powder or like sugar. I found that to be totally true! My toes were loving that sand and it was very pretty as well.
We also went to Turtle Beach on our last day, which was similar to Caspersen and great for shelling.
Since we’re from PA and my boys are Phillies fans, we also caught a Spring Training game up at Clearwater. I could just kick myself for not getting any pics! Our entire family had Philly gear on and we did see several innings. Unfortunately, it dumped rain on us all and we didn’t see the whole game 😦 I have an amusing story to tell about that one, but I’ll save it for another blog. Trust me, if you know me personally, you may get a kick out of it.
On my twins’ actual birthday, we drove to Myakka State Park, which was well worth it. They have an awesome “canopy walk,” which is a bridge you can walk across supended between two towers, therefore you can walk across the treetops and see all around the area.
Another highlight at Myakka is the airboat tour. My kids really wanted to see some gators, and this tour did not disappoint! We saw lots of ’em, plus tons of other wildlife. Our guide/airboat pilot was extremely knowledgeable. He told us that for every gator we saw, there are an average of 5 more that are under the surface. I didn’t get a picture of this, but there were fishermen out in waders, standing in the lake. Better you than me!
We topped off our trip and the twins’ 4th birthday with a trip to Yoder’s Restaurant to get one of the yummy pies they are famous for. The boys chose a strawberry cream pie for their birthday treat. Let me just say that that huge pie was obliterated by the next morning.
Yet another highlight for us all was the pool. We do not have a pool and it was glorious to walk right out on the lanai and have a sparkling warm pool to jump in. The kids got lots of practice swimming and Mommy got lots of books read poolside. As a bonus, they were good and tired by the end of each day.
A couple of other things the boys got to do are going to Mixon’s Fruit Farm and visiting the Mote Aquarium. My daughter woke with a fever Thursday am and I stayed at the house with her while Daddy and the boys had an outing. He is not a camera guy, so no pics there either. Oh well, the guys were excited about the different creatures they saw at the aquarium.
The highlight for our oldest was driving through Washington DC at 2 in the morning. This was completely unplanned as we were planning to drive AROUND the city. Our GPS (an early B-day gift for me from the man) took us a weird route, but it actually worked out in our favor. Our kids have never been to DC and got to see the Washington Monument and the Capitol all lit up at night.
All in all, a great trip! As I mentioned earlier, a good time as a family, quality time with our kids. The icing on the cake was a beautiful location to spend it at and new experiences for our kids.