Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spring Break 2014--ROAD TRIP!

Since I didn't have to be working seven days a week, and the kids were out of school, Jason took a week off and we decided to take a road trip for Spring Break Vacation.  We drove up to see his parents, otherwise known as Nana and Pop Pop, in New Hampshire.  We decided to break the trip up in pieces instead of drive all night, like we did when Elena was a baby.  We figured that the kids wouldn't sleep, and I worried about how tight Elena would be if she had to sit for long periods of time.  We stopped every 2.5 hours (or sooner) and tried to work in exercise along the way.

We started our trip with a slight detour--Jason was speaking at James Madison University.  So, we drove to Harrisonburg and dropped him off.  The girls and I had a few hours to kill, so we went to Luray Caverns!

The Cavern tour is approximately 1.25 miles of walking--down dark and windy paths (paved), and some impressive hills.  There are some steps and in many cases, a guardrail.  Still, the terrain was challenging (the hilly parts, mainly) but Elena was never worried about losing her balance and falling.  I was, but she proved me wrong.  She kept up with the group quite well, and walked the whole tour.  There was a chair lift (like the type you get in homes to go up/down stairs) and Elena rode that up and down to tour.  It saved her 70+ steps, which was a good idea.  

Kids loved it
I have a lot of pictures, but I only showed a few here.  Their favorite parts were the Wishing Well (not shown) and the Pipe Organ, an instrument that uses the resonance of the rock formations to play a song!


After Harrisonburg, we made the long trek to New Jersey where we stayed the night in a hotel room.  Before we arrived in NJ, we dined at a little restaurant called Rhubarb House in Hagerstown, Maryland.  (Jason loves the aggregate review Yelp!.  I never thought much of it until this trip--now I LOVE IT.  We don't like to stop at chain restaurants if we can help it, so we turned to Yelp! to find well reviewed restaurants/attractions along the way.)  It was rainy and nasty outside, and when we arrived the door was locked--they weren't open yet.  But they let us in anyway, and we had a fabulous time talking with the owners and had a delicious meal.  It was fabulous.  

After dinner we headed to our New Jersey hotel. The next morning we saw good friends in Poughkeepsie at Vassar College.  Our kids had a great playdate, and breakfast was fantastic!  We got back in the car and drove until lunch.  We ate at The Starving Artist Cafe in Lee, Massachusetts.  A beautiful little creperie, where every crepe can serve two people.  There was a great little folk music couple playing and the girls sang and danced, and even got a little lesson with a rhythm clapper. 

Live Music

Elena tried the Dancing Man!
Then we arrived in New Hampshire.  The weather had just turned nice--the week prior it was all snow, ice, cold and slush.  It was warm(ish) and the snow was melting.  The kids couldn't wait to see their grandparents.  We had an easy dinner, and relaxed for the night.  

The next day we headed off to a mall to get some exercise--mostly to ensure that Elena didn't get too stiff.  It was still cold and rainy, so we headed off to a mall and did a lot of walking.  

Orange Julius after exercising

We stopped at the neighborhood where Jason grew up, and visited his friends' parents who still live on the street.  They even had a playroom with toys that the girls could enjoy!

We had dinner with some of Jason's friends in town.  They have a daughter one year older than Elena, and we had a great meal with great company.

The next morning we headed to Jason's alma mater, the University of New Hampshire. We talked to some of Jason's business friends while walking around the campus, at least 2 miles.  The weather was beautiful and Elena kept up beautifully.

UNH Wildcats!

We took a small detour after UNH to the Hampton Beach.  We kept the destination a surprise--when Vivian saw the ocean, she was so excited she wanted to go in the water.  She whined she didn't have a bathing suit, so I told her if she wanted to go in, that was fine, but she couldn't wear her clothes in the water.  She stripped off her shoes, socks, and pants right there (while another family was playing in the sand with their winter coats on, mind you) and ran to the surf.

Vivian insists the water isn't too cold

Vivian still insists she is not cold (SHE IS!)

 After getting reclothed, we went down the beach a ways and found a cute playground.  Lots of stares with Elena's crutches.  No big deal, though.  Then back to Nana and Pop Pop's house for the evening.

Beach Playground

The next day we drove into Boston, to the Science Museum.  We took the subway ("The T") into the city, which the girls loved.  We had to walk about a half mile from the T to the museum.  E looked great.

Fog Tornado!

Plasma Tube!

 The big highlight was the Lightning Show.  There was a HUGE Van De Graaff generator as well as some impressive Tesla Coils.  We all enjoyed the loud and sparkly show!

Lightning Show was awesome!

Vivian's favorite exhibit was the one about space.  She thought the Gemini Capsule was her own personal refuge.

Gemini Bunk

Vivian LOVED her "spaceship"

We all walked about 5 miles to/around/from Boston.  Elena looked a little wobbly near the end, but overall she looked fantastic.  When we did stretches that night, she was looser than ever.  She was not sore the next day when we went to the Maple Barn (the end of syrup season) for breakfast.

Parker's Maple Barn

Sugar House--where they make syrup!
We had a great meal, and since we had to leave before tour time, they gave us a private little tour of the Sugar Shack and how syrup is made.  

That was our last stop in New Hampshire.  We broke up the trip on the way home with a stop at a unique resort in Connecticut.  It was a pretty fancy place.  The girls were on their best behavior and had wonderful manners at dinner.  The staff were on a first-name basis with the kids before we left!

Beautiful girl on a beautiful day at a beautiful place

Girls loved the Game Room

Our room for the night.  It was super cool!

We left later than we had expected that day...we were hoping to make one more stop in Hoboken but had to bag it b/c the drive home was going to be a long, rainy slog.  We took breaks every 2 hours or so for potty breaks or just to get up and stretch/walk.  We made it to my parent's house (Grandma and Grandpa's) around 7 pm for a late dinner.  We ended up staying the night with Uncle Andy and Aunt Melissa, which was fantastic b/c I was too tired and the kids were too cranky to make the short 2 hour drive home.

We finally made it home mid afternoon Saturday.  Our home sweet home.  Our cats were happy to see us (big thanks to the neighbors who helped take care of things while we were gone!) and we are getting back into the swing of things.

I admit, I was very very nervous about the idea of a long road trip--Elena tends to get super tight from prolonged sitting, so much that her movement is impaired for the next two days or so.  Or, she has problems with dehydration during the trip and gets constipated.  This time?  NOTHING.  She moved beautifully, never felt sick, slept well, met a lot of new people, and had fun. Vivian had to be carried a few times b/c she was out of gas--but Elena did not.  This opens up a whole new possibilities for adventures for our family.  It was a wonderfully different sort of Spring Break.  Now we have to figure out where our next road trip will be!

Big thanks to The B family, Luray Caverns staff, Rhubarb House, The Cliftons, The Starving Artist Cafe, Aaron at UNH, Kevin and Pat, The Trembleys, The Winvian, Nana and Pop Pop, Grandma and Grandpa, and Andy and Melissa for making our trip such a positive experience!

1 comment:

K said...

So, so happy to hear that Elena did so wonderfully! I really enjoyed hearing about your trip, especially because I'm from NE so I recognized/have been to some of those places! E's endurance is impressive, and it looks like you all had an awesome time! I can definitely relate to being stiff after a long car legs feel like boards haha. Periodic breaks are a great idea!