A nice way to close out a fantastic vacation is to not really have anything planned and to simply enjoy our friends’ company.
Kate and I (and all the little boys plus Keith) took a walking tour of two playgrounds and a trail. The littles liked climbing the rocks more than the actual playgrounds, as they should. Keith loved the large trees towering over the trail. We could have hit up a third playground to complete our play triangle, but our hunger for second breakfast persuaded us otherwise.
Swimming wore out the kids and created a meatball monster in Elliot. We calculated that he ate at least 10 meatballs as part of his lunch that included pasta and peas. During nap time, Henry pulled out his first tooth! It was a bit of a production before he got it out; ibuprofen plus a special placebo concoction created by Jon helped make the pain go away.
We finished the day was some blue bear ice cream sandwiches and loads of running around. Fueled by dessert or just full of energy, it was a joyous end to our day.
When did I become the kind of person who attends church services while on vacation? Sometime during between Keith graduating Seminary in 2011 and now. I think it’s because it’s just so rare for all 4 of us to sit together during worship that I want to take advantage of it whenever I can. Also, it definitely helps to attend our friends’ churches where they’re preaching and presiding. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a close friend give you the bread of life for communion, but it’s an indescribably special moment that keeps me smiling all week. It makes me happy just thinking about it, and I typically receive communion from my own husband.
We worshipped at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland yesterday, and Kate gave an excellent sermon. The band played some of my favorite songs, and we noisily sat with the Costas (although Elliot moved up a row so he’d have more dancing and playing space).
Afterwards, we swam and enjoyed each other’s company. And ate tacos. A great day on a vacation full of great days.
Beavertail State Park in Jamestown got its name because of its shape – people thought it clearly looked like a beaver’s tail. I didn’t really see it like that, but it’s possible. Before we headed off the island, we visited this park because it’s Hudson’s (Cindy’s dog) happy place. Not only that, it’s incredibly beautiful with its rocks jutting out into the sea and a lighthouse overlooking the southern tip of the peninsula.
We climbed some of these giant rocks that were mostly safe for kids to be scurrying over, and walked along the coast. I’m so happy we made it, because it’s such a peaceful place. Especially when contrasting it with driving among the vehicles on I-95 (our main portion of the day).
We took a break in Metuchen, New Jersey to see our good friend Chris (we hope you feel better soon, Lisa!) It had been eight years since he and Keith graduated from seminary, so you can imagine the catching up that occurred. On our southerly drive, we ticked off the last few new states for the kids – Connecticut, New Jersey, and Delaware – so now the only ones left are ones we’ve traversed before.
Arriving in Maryland, we received Costa love and Henry relished his big brother role by reading to the three-year-olds at bedtime. More fun and hijinks to ensue in the next couple of days here.
The boys did an admirable job of walking all over the town of Newport, Rhode Island. We spent our morning hiking the Cliff Walk and imagining ourselves residing in the mansions along the way. We hopped over the rocks, traveled through tunnels, built (and knocked over) stacks of rocks, and watched crabs scuttle along. We walked over 3 miles, with Henry going the whole way and Elliot being carried for a good portion of the trail. We drove past the mansion-fronts afterward and headed home for a lunch of ice cream and pizza (because vacation).
We rode the ferry from Jamestown back over to Newport for dinner. The boat was packed like sardines because the majority was headed to the Newport Folk Festival at Fort Adams. Since we were not, we snagged a table without a wait at one of Cindy’s favorite places. We keep getting relegated to the corner with the kids, but I like it because it allows for more mischief (and this time a window-seat to people gaze). We capped off our day swimming in Cindy’s neighbor’s pool and hot tub, which was exceedingly kind of Joe. I love hot tubs (and so did the boys)!
A big driving day means saying goodbye to loved ones, but also saying hello to other people we love. Hen had been clamoring to hit up Black’s gift shop the ENTIRE time we were in Wolfeboro so we stopped on our way out. He and Elliot bought treasures: a set of rocks and a red car. The thrill was real, and they still have money to spend the last few days of our trip. We also stopped by the Yum Yum Shop because no one can leave Wolfeboro without first eating a gingerbread cookie from there. Happy to oblige, the kids chose ones with frosting, Keith ordered a gingerbread donut, and I ate a praline cookie (& the rest of El’s).
We had the brilliant plan to drop by Maine on our way to Rhode Island since none of us had ever gone, and we were so close we felt we just had to go. Our plans unexecuted; we didn’t make it to the art museum or the beach in Ogunquit, but we did eat a wonderful lunch and hang out at the library. We made the executive decision to return to Maine and do it up right the next go-around.
After being stuck in Massachusetts traffic for forever, we made it to my cousin Cindy’s home. The wild littles needed to run off their energy so we visited the best park – huge things to climb, a zip line, and tall slides – the kids loved it. And the adults spent so much time catching up that I forgot to take photos. Jamestown is beautiful (I feel like a broken record saying it so much on this trip, but it’s the truth!)
Lake Winnepesaukee’s majestic mountains surround it’s clear waters, which makes for a wonderfully peaceful boat ride across the lake. Except if you have two littles with you. Then it’s still mostly peaceful interspersed with loud kids singing/yelling the lyrics to their favorite songs while dancing on the life jacket bins. Or something like that. We hung out on the third level, and the cool breezes made everything better.
After nap time (especially for “the Bill”), we headed downtown to hear the band practice for its evening performance. The boys danced like no one was watching, except they knew some people were watching so they danced extra wild. My boys really bring everyone in their lives such joy. I know all parents say that, but there’s a light within mine that they can’t help but share it with the world. We ate delicious seafood for dinner (swordfish tacos that made me actually like swordfish, and all of the avocado Elliot could bum off of others). The evening’s magic permeated our hearts.
Elliot woke up this morning wanting to visit the Village Creeme Stand. Immediately. It tasted that amazing. Too bad it doesn’t open until 10am, or we’d be eating it for breakfast.
Our last morning in Bristol was delightfully spent doing the same things we did yesterday. We ate at Snaps, played in the town square (this time at its excellent playground), and visited with Tom and Claire at their home. Elliot and Henry fed the horse (bye bye Lil’ Sebastian) carrots.
Driving through the Green Mountains, Keith and I marveled at their heights and hidden wonders like waterfalls and walkways. We broke for lunch at Rollins State Park in New Hampshire. Henry called it “amazing” and thanked us for taking him to this park. He also said we should come here every time we visit New Hampshire.
We got back on the road, and swiftly made it to the Petersen’s home in the Waumbeck Woods. We love them, including their new puppy, Tucker. We headed to downtown Wolfeboro for dinner, but since there was a long wait we just had to have our dessert first (mom, you’d be so proud). Ice cream as a first course is always a good idea. The Mexican food we had afterwards was also delicious. Wolfeboro looks way different in the summer than the winter, which is the last time we visited. I love it now!
I’m officially chilly. On this rainy, grey day in Bristol, as we take refuge in the town square under the whitewashed gazebo, I feel like I’m in Gilmore Girls. And it’s wonderful. Of course, it would be so much better if the weather was clear, but temperatures in the 60s with a view of the fog rolling in over the mountains is beyond good enough.
We ate breakfast on Main Street at Snap’s and shopped at Art on Main and Recycled Reading. Both shops are packed full of items I want for ourselves. The first contains art created by Vermont artisans including pottery, jewelry, and paintings. I got us some hand printed designs from A Revolutionary Press to decorate our home. I seriously wanted to buy all of them, that’s how cool they were. The second shop was a mix of music store (guitars, ukes, and more), art shop, and bookstore. Its selection of kids’ items was particularly cultivated with LEGO books, picture books, small toys – really anything my kids may want on a rainy vacation day.
So we’re relaxing under the gazebo playing with our newfound treasures and listening to the rain fall. We walked here from cousin Kelly’s home where we are staying in her cute airbnb, and are headed to her mom’s house (cousin Claire) next. It’s delightful walking everywhere seeing robins hop about amidst the spruce and maple trees we never see in Florida.
We spent the remainder of our day being surrounded by cousins! We were taken out to lunch at the Village Creeme Stand, where the cheesesteak was close to Philadelphia standards, the onion rings melted in my mouth, and the kids loved their chicken nuggets and tenders. Cousin Claire’s home was full of beautiful collectibles, including antique toys for the boys to play with. Elliot loved feeding the little horse, Peppi, all the carrots. We rode with Claire on a tour of the Green Mountains, and ate even more at a cookout with a contingent of Wallace cousins (Tom, Claire, Kelly, Lance, Reese, and Piper).
The boys loved Reese so much, and started the day asking when they could see her. She walked with us back to the Village Creeme Stand for creemes. We now know that creemes are superior to soft serve, and maple ones are beyond amazing, especially when dipped. Now to figure out a way to bring some with us back to Florida.
I don’t normally take photos during church services, but apparently I do when I’m on vacation and with family friends.
More worship services should have blankets laid out picnic-style for families to sit together.
The kids took turns playing quietly and less than quietly with each other.
Sometimes a kid accidentally tosses a shoe and it hits a drum at a particularly important moment in time. Then, it becomes more impactful.
So. Many. Hugs.
Steve gave a baller sermon. Too bad my brain couldn’t focus up on all of it.
The anointed blessing made the service for me. Henry became part of the family unit of Cora and Belle, and Sarah joined Keith, Elliot, and Me. I felt at peace.
Having Keith sit with us made the service go so much more smoothly than when it’s just me.
Henry is great at unobtrusively getting a dessert sampler during coffee time.
Leaving much-loved friends may be he hardest thing a person can do, even knowing we will see them again in 6 months.
On the Road Thoughts
A pot of coffee does not equal a coffee bar.
E-“The trees are really still.” He wanted to hike longer, but for the bugs.
K is giddy driving though the Old Growth Forest. He keeps talking about the trees and the possibility of seeing animals like bears and moose. Being outside is where he’s most at home.
The plague of flies that attacked us in the woods ruined the view. And made me feel itchy for the rest of the car ride.
Kids fart noises (not real farts) are disgusting and distracting and must be stopped when confined in tight spaces.
I’m kinda in a complaining mood today. I think it stems from leaving the Meyers and being stuck in traffic and having the ride last over an hour longer than it should.
Maybe we should buy a lake house. In upstate New York. For vacations. The lakes are just that beautiful with the giant rocks cut by glaciers.
Entering Vermont, I can’t help but hum “America the Beautiful.” “Purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain” as far as the eye can see. Vermont is gorgeous, and I wish I had better pictures than ones from my car. Can’t wait to spend some time here.