This list item might seem silly to some. Aren’t family vacations something everyone does? But for me this is a huge deal! I grew up in a family of five that only traveled when we were moving to a new state. We lived in Arizona but never saw the Grand Canyon. We lived in south Dakota but never saw Mount Rushmore. We did a lot of moving around but didn’t have our first real vacation as a family until I was 22! While all my friends were going to Disney world, we were packing our van to go find a new place to live. I’m not bitter about it, I learned a lot about myself and my family through all of the trials we went through together. Life may not have been leisurely or comfortable but it was an adventure and helped me grow as a person. While I don’t begrudge my childhood I am excited by the prospect of offering my kids a better one, going on adventures with them without having to uproot our whole lives ❤ I hope I can offer them the best of both worlds. adventure and security, experiences and a comfortable place and familiar people to retreat to once they’ve had enough.
So the fact I was able (thanks to my fantastic in-laws) to have our first family vacation so soon in my kid’s lives is a huge blessing! It was exactly 4 days which was the perfect span of time for my kids ages. any longer than that and I think they’d have been over stimulated and homesick and the adults would have been at each other’s throats. So many personalities in such a small space can get to be a little much. With any adventure, there are obstacles and concerns. If it were easy there wouldn’t be such a thing as a bucket list because everyone would just go do what they wanted whenever they wanted. packing for kids in and of itself can be draining let alone worrying about how they will handle the long drive or flight (in our case we drove). How much is too much? What scenarios should we pack for? I hate over-packing and I also hate being ill prepared. striking a balance seemed so difficult in my head but I was surprised how fast packing progressed once I got down to it. Another pleasant surprise was how well both my kids did for the long drive there and back! with snacks, a dvd player and books our only real trouble with them was the last hour home when both kids got antsy and whiney. But overall they were angels.
So now for the fun bits! We went to New Hampshire near North Conway! we stayed at the beautiful Attitash Mountain Village Resort. the “room” was more like a condo with a full kitchen and living room, 2 bathrooms and 2 bedrooms. even though we shared a room with the kids we all had our own beds. The kids felt like it was a fun sleep over and my husband and I weren’t bothered at all in our own comfy beds. The resort had several play grounds and a nice hiking trail, two pools, a fitness center, three hot tubs and a sauna. If our kids were older we could have just stayed there and it would have been a trip all in its own because across the street they had an alpine slide, mountain roller coaster and a water park. However, it cost a decent amount and the kids weren’t really old enough to do most of it, So we opted for Storyland instead.
There was so much to do there! Between rides, shows, splash pad and a mother goose play area, the kids had the time of their lives! It was the off season during the week so there were hardly any lines! As a result we got to do almost every ride in the park! I was very surprised with how much of a dare devil my seemingly cautions 4 year old could be. despite her look of shear terror in this photo, she promptly asked to go on this ride again!
Besides Storyland we went on a couple hikes. The first one was with the kids where they got to play in the Saco river! April was so mad when it was time to leave. She was having a blast splashing around and finding rocks. The frigid temperature of the water didn’t seem to phase her at all and she sat right down in it!
For the other hike the kids stayed behind with Meme and Papa and my husband and I got some quality time climbing up to Arathusa Falls together! it was a much harder hike than we anticipated, mostly up hill with some tricky slippery spots. But it was such a thrill to struggle up the mountain and do something out of the ordinary with my husband. I ended up climbing down almost the whole trail barefoot. grounding on a mountain after such a grueling work out was so energizing (though my feet did feel a little bruised afterwards) I practically flew down the path.
We also spent a lot of time in the pools and hot tubs and saw the historical train station in North Conway. On the way home we stopped at a very cool historical farm where they let the kids help with farm chores. They also had a museum, little shop and farm stand and a couple play areas for the kids. My four year old claims this was her favorite part of the whole trip. she learned how to milk a goat and got to pet a few animals. it was the perfect opportunity for the kids to get some energy out before the long trek back home.
I have a lot of places I’d love to see with my kids, but for this first vacation I didn’t care much where we went, just that we were together without any work or chores to distract us. can you believe it?! I went on a real vacation with my kids! Thank you so much to my mother and father in law who made this trip possible! and I even did a few more items from my bucket list while there. I’ll be sure to write about those soon! I cant wait for our next family trip! ❤