January 11, 2009

The Trip

Our trip began on Jan 1 as we loaded our three kids and friends, Erik and Laura, into our van and headed south. Justin's uncle lives in Myrtle Beach and my uncle and grandmother live on Hilton Head Island so we decided it was time for a visit. What better way to start the new year and test out the new GPS!

Day 1 - We began the drive to Myrtle Beach a little after noon. Justin drove the first leg with co-pilot Erik, Laura and I stretched out in the middle row and the kids were wedged in the back. Three car seats across is a pretty snug fit! We rolled into MB around 2 am having stopped a few times along the way.

Day 2 - RELAXING DAY. We had nothing planned and did exactly that. Justin's uncle was arriving late this night so we had the place to ourselves. Everyone took naps and got into vacation mode. Laura and I went to the store to pick up food for the week and found that wine in SC is sold in the grocery stores...for really cheap.

Day 3 - We took a trip down to Broadway at the Beach. It is a area with restaurants and shops - fun to walk around in. We brought the kids down to Ripley's Aquarium (remember Ripley's Believe it Not...this is one of their MB attractions). Alex loved the fish.

Day 4 - Justin's uncle's gated community (fancy way of saying upscale development) has a community center building with a gym, two swimming pools, and a playground. It was a little cold for the pools so we spent some time at the playground. Justin's uncle kept the kid's during their afternoon naps and the four of us headed to Barefoot Landing, an area very similar to Broadway at the Beach. We did a little wine tasting and then stopped at a seafood buffet on the way home.

Day 5 - Justin's uncle took Justin and Erik golfing in the morning then we headed to the beach. Looking like obvious tourist, we tossed off our sandals and played in the sand and water. Ok, so it was mainly Katrina who went splashing in the water with Laura and I took pictures but all of the boys seemed to get into the sand...Erik, Justin and Alex dug and made sand castles while Max snacked on sand and shells.

Day 6 - I took the kids up to Wilmington, NC to visit Kathleen Hall (NY-er turned NC-ian) and her family. She toured us around Wilmington, took us to the beach, and managed to fracture her foot showing me her new dances in the driveway. Justin and his uncle spent the day on the golf course and Erik and Laura had an afternoon out in MB to themselves - probably well needed after 5 days with all of us!

Day 7 - We packed up the van again and headed down to Hilton Head Island, a 4 hour drive south of MB. After trying to unsuccessfully wave our way past the check point into my uncle's neighborhood (the car in front of us at the entrance booth smiled and waved their way through so we thought we could as well...little did we know they lived their and visitors had to be called in. My uncle had taken care of this for us but forgotten to tell us the procedures), we got our access pass and made our way to my uncle's place. Even though it was dusk when we arrived we walk down to the beach (about a 300 yd walk) to check it out.

Day 8 - My grandmother came over to see the kids and we went to the beach again while Justin and Erik played golf. The attraction of this course was the ocean view holes which I told were pretty cool. In the evening we packed up and headed back to MB for our final day in the sun.

Day 9 - The sunny skies tried to hide the fact that today was much cooler than the rest of the week had been (we had been mid 70's but now were 60-ish). Since this was our last day, it was filled with naps, a final tour of the beach area and one last playgound trip.

Day 10 - With snow in the forcast, we loaded the car in the morning and headed for home. Shortly after Richmond, VA we found rain. In PA this rain was turning into a really fun wintry mix - snow, sleet, freezing rain. Around 8 pm we decided to call it a night knowing we were heading into mountains which meant that the unplowed, icy roads were most likely going to get worse. Wanting to get home but wanting to stay alive, we found a hotel for the night.

Day 11 - We enjoyed a nice breakfast at the hotel and then piled into the car for our final 3 hours. One viewing of Little Mermaid and a few snacks later, we arrived back in snowy Rochester.

Overall, it was a relaxing, sunny, enjoyable family vacation!

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