I blew it. I had about five separate posts somewhere in my brain all about our great trip last week. Now, too much life and time has passed and I will have to do the highlights in this manner. Tsk, tsk.
So, five things to ensure The Best Vacation Ever are:
1. Make like the Griswalds and buy a family truckster.
We actually started our trip at the dealership making the final deal on our new (to us) Ford Edge. It's a 2008 and it's very purrrrty. This took WAAAAYYYY longer than we imagined (almost walked out when they couldn't meet our financing needs and the guy brought the APR down...) and the boys were complete troopers being patient for the fun to begin. We bought the car and then, oddly enough, had to leave it in the dealership parking lot for the week because we didn't have insurance for it and, more importantly, we didn't have room in the car for all our camping stuff!
(Not actually our car, but it's the same model and color)
2. If it's raining, skip the water park.
The plan was to stop at a water park on Sunday but it was rainy and chilly. So, instead we went to the Museum of Science in Boston instead. We got there MUCH later than we thought we would, but it turned out okay. Elliott was only good for a couple of hours of the museum anyway, and by that time they were closing. Win-win.
3. Camp... for a couple of nights
We were very lucky with the camp ground that we chose. It was Horseneck Beach in the south eastern portion of Massachusetts... but not on Cape Cod. It offered us a site RIGHT by the rocky shore of the ocean, which meant incredible sound effects at night. My new favorite sound in the whole world is ocean waves of a rising tide dragging rocks into the sea. It sounds like regular waves with a rain stick at the end. Truly peaceful. I also have a new favorite smell, which one wouldn't expect from a trip to the ocean. There were these incredible flowers that smelled like Hawaii. Even on my runs the scent was strong enough to make an impact and increase my Zen. Very cool.
4. After camping... stay at a Schmancy Hotel
We loved the laid back, casual pace of camping. The boys really enjoyed doing "nothing" (and they NEVER whined of being bored or wanting to watch TV or play Wii!) But after a couple of nights in a tent, THIS girl was ready for hot water and food on a real plate. Part of the reason we camped was so that we could enjoy a night at the very pricey (for us) Westin Hotel in Providence. It offered us fluffy robes, a perfect pool, great workout room, a not-too-pricey garage for parking, and a walkway to Providence Place (basically, a schmancy mall). I gave the boys $5 to buy a toy and that took about 2 hours of the day! We went to Dave & Busters and they were in heaven. We ate at the Cheesecake Factory... which I paid dearly for that night... but it was YUMMY! And generally, we did everything anti-camping. An excellent yin to the yang of a couple of days of roughing it.
5. Befriend those with access to a house on The Hamptons.
After the schmancy hotel, we took 3 ferries and a few hours of driving to go visit friends who were staying at a LOVELY home on The Hamptons. The company, the house, the yard, the pool, the doggie... everything was just perfect. The boys spent hours just floating around in the pool while we talked on the patio, ate good food and drank yummy summer drinks. I had a chance to run (literally) on the beach for a couple miles as part of my hour-long run on one of the days and it was just amazing.
Bonus Sixth Thing: Plan the weather well
We lucked out HUGELY with the weather. It was dreary the first day and poured on the day we came home but otherwise the weather was PERFECT for being outside.