Vacation 2011

I keep wanting to post about our family vacation this year but already a month has slipped away and I haven’t done it. I originally wanted to hand-write it down and put the notes into the D’s baby book, but that’s just not happening so I’m going to try to capture it here. This has actually been a really fun summer and I will do a sep post about some other things we’ve done, we’re cramming a lot in and he is developing so fast it’s amazing. But this post is just for vacation memories.

Last year, we rented this huge, beautiful house in Amish Country and basically just hung out at the house. It was fully equipped with a huge kitchen and laundry and everything, so we just sort of took it easy, swung on the porch swing, watched the birds and bugs at the lake in front of the cabin and grilled out every night. We did go to a couple of restaurants and shops but as the D was so young, we kept things chill and didn’t do too much.

That house wasn’t available this year so we decided to book a different one in a completely different part of Amish country. Now we know better what questions to ask when deciding what to book. First off, the house was a very, very tiny cabin, something akin to a honeymoon cabin for 2, and it was RIGHT next to the owner’s home. I mean so close that they were running cable over to the cabin for the TV. We really enjoyed the seclusion of last year’s cabin and weren’t crazy about the proximity here. Also, to get to the laundry, you had to go outside and around the back of the house down a steep, stone driveway (easy to slip on in flip flops). Not so great. The cabin was basically NOT set up for a family. Really tiny kitchen. Bathtub with sliding glass doors and very high sides – not great for bathing a baby. Skylights EVERYWHERE and no way to shade anything – not great for a child that goes to sleep at 6:30, when it’s still blazing daylight outside in the summer. And the (tiny) grill and jacuzzi that were advertised were off the one and only bedroom, so once the D went to sleep, we couldn’t tromp back and forth opening and closing doors to the patio, so we didn’t get to use either of those.  Our attempt to light a fire outside in the fire pit was a complete fail as it poured off and on the first 2 days we were there. The kitchen was missing a lot of basic essentials, didn’t even have the right coffee filters for the coffee machine provided. So we ended up eating out a lot more than we had planned, which is not only expensive but difficult with a tired toddler who didn’t sleep well because of all the light. I mean, there wasn’t even a coffee table in the tiny room with the tiny TV, just an uncomfortable couch, so DH and I had to put our drinks on the floor.

Some highlights did happen though. In Berlin, we found a place that had little kid train rides so I rode around the track with the D. It was actually a pretty long ride, about 20 minutes, and he was really mesmerized by it. Then he fell asleep and I caught him as he was nodding forward. LOL. We also found a pretty good BBQ place, which was surprising. We went to a REALLY terrible Amish/German restaurant but the cheese shop across the street was FANTASTIC (Guggisberg – got some great swiss and colby, must go back there again). Got suckered into buying a $15 plastic hummingbird feeder by an Amish salesman by the side of the road. We have no hummingbirds. It hangs on the patio, mocking my waste of money. We also went to a really weird and cool place called the Farm at Walnut Creek, which is a big Amish farm but also one of those drive-through animal places where there are exotic animals roaming the grounds, like zebras and giraffes and llamas that will come right up to your window in case you have some food for them. The Amish farm part was actually very cool, they were tending a beautiful veg garden and you got to tour 2 houses to see what the insides were like. A woman was baking in the lower kitchen in the basement and there was a wall of canned goods that made me long for a house and a garden of my own so I could put up all those wonderous foods to enjoy during the cold, nasty winter months. And we got to see farm equipment, which is always exciting for the D, and chickens in a coop, adn some turkeys they were raising. There was also an exotic bird park there where we saw a peacock and some other cool animals.

I had brought some movies but the only one Dh and I got to was Sybil, which took us 3 nights to finish. I didn’t remember it being that long and some of it was really boring. It needs a re-edit and re-issue if you ask me. I did kick DH’s ass in Monopoly one night too.

There was a beautiful, friendly, bony black farm cat who was always waiting for us on the tiny porch when we woke up. All you had to do was sit down in a rocking chair and up he’d be on your lap, purring and hanging out. There were also 4 little teeny tiny dogs (chihuauas?) who came to visit, one in particular who took a real liking to me. She and the cat would have a contest for my attention each day.

Overall we learned some good lessons, saw about a million fireflies over the field next to the cabin, and ate way too much food, but we had a good time. Next year we may do a completely different type of vacation.

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