Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Family Vacation.

I hate to make our family, or more particularly, our children, sound spoiled. They are not. But, we have not traveled much as a family by car. We have certainly never ventured out of Texas. {though, in our defense, it takes a very long time to travel through Texas. we have certainly made many long Texas treks.}

So this was our first family road trip. The first road trip that required hotels stays along the journey. The hubs and I were a bit skeptical {we both have such vivid and horrid family road trip memories from our youth}. 

The kids were downright flabbergasted: "why don't we just fly?"

"Because getting there is half the fun. You know that!" the hubs and I said in unison, quoting Clark from Family Vacation

Truth be told, we felt a bit like the Griswalds. The car was stuffed to the gills. The kids were rolling their eyes when we tried to play family car games. It was forced family fun at it's best. 

Before our departure I purchased maps for each kid so they could highlight our route and learn a little bit in the car. I didn't stop there. I also purchased a lovely set of state cards with maps and information about each state. I found them fascinating. The kids asked if we were done discussing "fast facts" and could they please go back to playing on their respective DSi?  

Given the kids' disinterest, I'll share some of my new found knowledge with you. I realize I may lose readers by sharing mundane facts, but I'm willing to take the risk to preserve these memories for posterity. Or so I can win the next game of Trivial Pursuit. 

Capital - Baton Rouge. 

Fast fact: You can drive 24 miles over the water on the world's longest highway bridge, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. We did not do this, but find it an interesting fact nonetheless. World's longest. You caught that right. World's longest highway bridge in Louisiana. I find that surprising.

Capital:  Jackson.

Fast Fact: Kermit the Frog was "born" on Deer Creek, near creator Jim Henson's hometown of Leland, Mississippi. I love all things Muppets {no, I'm serious. I really do} so this too interests me. 

We were a bit perplexed by their tag line - "Birthplace of America's Music" - until we realized that B.B. King and Elvis Presley were both from Mississippi. Ok, we'll give them that. 

Capital: Montgomery. 

Fast fact: Montgomery became famous when a woman named Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on the bus. Yet another reminder that standing up for yourself and what you believe in may not be popular, but is always important.

We spent the night in Alabama after around 12 hours on the road. We enjoyed a lovely evening in Point Clear which is as charming a hamlet as they come. Our dinner overlooking the picturesque bay was wonderful and a relaxing end to a long day. 

Oh, and did I mention my blueberry mojito? Yum.

Capital: Atlanta

Fast Fact: Martin Luther King, Jr. was from Atlanta. His preaching for social justice and change eventually led to the Civil Rights Movement. You can {if you are not driving at a crazy pace and are willing to stop the car and get out for more than five minutes} tour his birth home at 501 Auburn Avenue.

Capital: Columbia

Fast fact: The youngest man to sign the Declaration of Independence, Edward Rutledge, was from South Carolina. He was 26 years old at the time. Doesn't this make you wonder a bit? So much is discussed about the intent of our "founding fathers". How much could sweet, young Edward really know about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Then again, at 26 I suppose I was fairly in tune with at least the pursuit of happiness! 

We spent our second night in Greenville, South Carolina. Also a charming town. We stayed right on Main Street in a historic hotel owned by Westin. It was darling and felt like home {read: lots of toile and antiques}. 

Capital: Raleigh

Fast Fact: Brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first successful airplane flight in Kitty Hawk, North  Carolina in 1903. 

We dropped Little Miss Thang off at camp around 8am {an entire future post is swirling in my head} and headed to our mountain rental about 2 hours away. 

Then the three of us {the Hubs, Boy Genius and me) breathed a collective sigh of relief. 

We'd made it. 

The State of North Carolina was not closed when we arrived {more Family Vacation references for you who have not seen it 5,000 times}. There was no blond in a red Ferrari. And the kids did not have to share the backseat with a dead person. 

A successful family vacation. And we've only just begun! 

And I admit: I may have been a bit leery about spending 12 days in the smoky mountains. I'm more of a beach girl than a  mountain girl. 

Or so I thought. 

But this beach girl is getting to know and *love* the North Carolina mountains. 

Stay tuned . . .

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