Once our girls started asking whether it’s really true that leaves change color in the fall, Bill and I knew we had to take them somewhere where it’s actually, you know, fall right now. This is one of the challenges of not being from Florida but raising Florida kids. I suppose it’s human nature to think of our own experiences as not only authentic for us but as the authentic experience. So yeah, there were those weird kids who grew up in Florida who went swimming on Christmas, but the *real* Christmas experience was waking up in your flannel nightgown (already bought ones for our girls this year and yes they will sweat it out) on a snowy morning. And having hot chocolate and warm apple cider during the season not just because they are offered at Starbucks but because our nose hairs were frozen after being outside. Likewise, fall is about the glorious change of colors, sweaters, fun fall riding boots (Bill are you reading this? Size 9), apple trees, playing outside in the crunchy fallen leaves, etc. We are trying to reframe holidays and seasons in a meaningful way that is not dependent on traditional seasons and weather, but it’s hard to feel like the girls are experiencing *real* fall when we are in shorts and swimming and the leaves look the same as they always do. Now our kids are the weird kids that grew up in Florida.
So….we felt it was our obligation to take them somewhere to experience fall (or autumn if you are fancy). Some place where they could explore, hike, see the leaves change color, pick apples, wear a jacket and make s’mores around a fire on a cold night. Being the non-doers that we often are we thought a lot about it but did nothing until our good friends asked us to join them on a trip to Blue Ridge, Georgia, during our kids’ fall break from school. In! We really have the best friends. So there were 4 adults and 6 kids (between the ages of 2 and 6) staying at a cabin in the mountains. So fun!
One of our top priorities was hiking. Here is my little forest fairy. All of the kids did great on the hike and really enjoyed it. It was around two miles or so and we took our time.
The girls loved picking apples. We picked a ton of Pink Lady apples and then I bought some Gold Rush apples at the orchard market. So delicious! The trees were more like bushes so it was easy for everyone to pick apples. I highly recommend a trip HERE if you are visiting the area between April and October. Lots of different types of fruit to pick.
We spent a relaxing afternoon with our friends at Serenberry Vineyards while all of the kiddos played in the big open field and woods out back. Six kids, six flight of wine. Just saying. For the record, we could see the kids the whole time and six flights was equal to one restaurant size glass of wine. We are highly supportive of relaxation and free play 🙂
On the running front, I had scheduled my “back down long run day” during the trip. In training for my half marathon I’ve been upping my long run mileage (ever so slightly) for two weeks in a row and then backing the long run down to 7-8 miles before upping again the following two weeks. Injury prevention is the name of my game! So I had planned an 8 mile run the first morning we were in Blue Ridge. I got up, ready and excited to run “in the coolness” as my kids say and see some spectacular views. The scenery was AWESOME but I had forgotten that running in the mountains meant that there would be some pretty serious hills. And no running or biking lanes or really even a shoulder to run on. Just curvy hilly narrow roads and cars (pick-up trucks) whizzing past you. I talked myself down from eight to seven. And then to five. And then at 2.75 miles I realized there was no way in hell I could run all the way back up the hill I had just run down. So there was some walking and jogging. I was out about 45 minutes and did just under 5 miles. At first I was down on myself for backing down from the run, but then I reminded myself that I had planned this to be a down week, it was vacation and I enjoyed my surroundings even more when I wasn’t huffing and puffing the entire way back home.
And then Bill got back from his six mile run which turned into a twelve mile run because he felt so good out there. And then I felt like a quitter. Bionic man, I tell you.
What is your favorite family vacation?
Any tips on running hills?
Any other warm-weather transplants who are nostalgic for real seasons during the holidays?