Our road trip vacation

We’ve been very lucky this summer. We’ve had two long trips so far, and we still have one to go. Jesse and I have both always liked to travel, and it turns out that Charlie likes it, too.

It took me a very long time to get all these photos and videos uploaded, so it may be a bit before we get our most recent trip online. In the meantime, enjoy the mementos below. Going over these photos made me fondly remember the fun we had. Can I go on vacation again, right now?

In mid-June, before the kids in NYC were even out of school for the year, the Boyd-DeWitts took a road trip. We’ve traveled by car for many Christmas and summer trips since Charlie came along, but this was the first one that truly felt like a road trip. We didn’t just have overnights at hotels, we had fun planned at every stop.

We left NYC after work on a Friday and headed to Baltimore, MD, where our friends Mary and Elliott bought a house several years ago, after they realized living in Brooklyn was too difficult and expensive. (Yes, they are our smart friends.) We arrived at their little townhouse around midnight, and Charlie began a chase-and-run relationship with their cat.

He’d chase and the cat would run. Then the cat would come for him and he would run.

We slept on a pallet and woke the next morning for a short walk to the local farmers’ market, where we got three pints of amazing strawberries and Charlie soaked his shirt in red juice. Then, Elliott, who is a former chef, made us waffles on their backyard waffle iron. (Some people grill out, some people waffle.)

By noon it was time for Charlie’s nap, and time for us to get as much driving done as we could. The longest stretch was ahead of us: from Baltimore to High Cove, NC.

We made it deep into the hills by ten o’clock that night, and Jesse’s former professor and thesis sponsor John Moore welcomed us inside. He settled us into a modest guest room and fed us good food. Then he kept up the yummy vittles and interesting conversation for the rest of our two-night stay. During our time at the High Cove lodge, we rode on a tractor and viewed the plots of land that will one day contain houses and a village; we sat on the porch and watched hummingbirds; we hiked up a viney path covered in stinging nettles (I was the only one afraid, because I was the only one wearing short pants); we drove to the Penland School of Crafts and the neighboring small towns via wonderful winding roads (Charlie still thinks that if we get in the car we’ll see cows); and we enjoyed a solid night’s sleep (even Charlie) due to an absolute lack of ambient lighting and the sound of nothing louder than the cicadas. The cicadas make a prominent auditory appearance in the two videos below, both taken on our hike.

(Watching these videos again showed me how quickly my kid has changed. Here, just two months ago, he was only beginning to ask What and Where questions. Now, we can’t get him to stop.)

After High Cove, we made a day stop in Asheville where we checked out a small portion of the active downtown. Then it was on to Sevierville, where we rented a condo with my family: Nanny, Pawpaw, the aunts and uncle and all the cousins.

After the wilderness of High Cove, the suburban condo wasn’t as relaxing as we wanted it to be. The management was constructing the next phase of development right next door, which disturbed our view (though Jenna tried very hard to take pictures of the nice parts of the scenery) and woke us up at 7 am each morning. And one morning at 4 am. We managed to ignore that drawback and enjoy time with our family. We visited Dollywood, Gatlinburg, the pool and the arcade. We saw the Black Bear Jamboree, fished in the Pigeon River, and got a great deal on camping supplies at the Coleman outlet store. Charlie was attached to Kathryn’s hip, and he, Ethan and Kathryn ran up and down the stairs for our entire stay. We all had a really good time.

After a last breakfast indulgence at the Apple Barn restaurant, Jesse, Charlie and I headed out for the halfway point on our return home: Shenandoah National Park.

We arrived just before dusk, as the fog was rolling in. We got a really good look—from our car—of a black bear, some deer and a turtle. We set up our campsite amidst the smells of woodsmoke and the laughter of families. I never knew how wonderful campgrounds could be until we first stayed in them on our post-college cross-country trip. This one-night experiment with family camping brought back a lot of good memories and Charlie loved it. He even took his ten-minute Nebulizer medicine in the camp bathroom without any fuss.

Coming back to NYC after all that fun, wilderness and togetherness was difficult. Luckily, we had another trip to look forward to. We’ve got lots of pictures from that one, too. Coming before Christmas, I hope.

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2 Responses to “Our road trip vacation”

  1. Kelly Says:

    Sounds like a wonderful vacation! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚ Did you like Asheville? That’s our neck of the woods – if you are ever interested in taking another trip, I write a blog all about the Asheville area, and the company I work for (Carolina Mornings) has vacation rentals all over Western North Carolina. Just some FYI – we’d love to see you back in NC!

  2. niki Says:

    I can’t believe you didn’t try and touch the black bear’s nose πŸ™‚

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