We had already planned our annual Hilton Head trip and a trip to Disney World for 2017 when we decided that we needed to have one trip that included our eldest daughter. We didn’t want to spend a bunch of money and we had a very specific timeframe. I read that Dauphin Island, Alabama was voted one of the “must visit” islands by Southern Living. We looked at VRBO for a few days and then decided upon a newly constructed home right on the Gulf. The home was called “The Sea Turtle” and we loved it.
A few things make this island very unique. There are no major stores on the island. There is a small grocery store that is more than sufficient for almost everything you need. Wal-Mart is over the bridge and is quite far. One big trip to stock up on major supplies should be enough. There are very few restaurants on the island as well. We ate all but one meal at home. The kitchen in the house was very well equipped and provided everything we needed to make meals at home.
We rented a jet ski one day and had a wonderful time riding around the island. Some of the family enjoyed fishing. We all had a great time playing in the sand.
Everyone we met while we were there was so nice! Our neighbors even brought us extra fish they caught. This was yet another special thing about the island.
By far, the neatest thing that happened was that a sea turtle laid her eggs under the house. The volunteers with Share the Beach Dauphin Island came to the house and were amazing! The mama turtle had gotten confused due to the lights under the house being on. (On a side note: we thought we had turned them all off, but someone must have flipped a switch upstairs and accidentally turned them on again.) She was found in the ditch in front of the house. A huge group of people moved her, and she was put back into the water. Her eggs hatched on September 3. If you visit the Share the Beach: Dauphin Island Facebook page you can get a glimpse of her babies. We can all say that this was such an exciting thing to witness.
This vacation was one of the most relaxing ones we had in a long time.
Not that we really need a reason to psych ourselves up for a trip to the happiest place on Earth, but I love a fun countdown to create an even greater sense of anticipation. I started 30 days from our vacation date. Each day one of the children opened an envelope with the number of days left written on the front. There was a gift or activity written inside. The treats were all something that could be used on the trip. They included: Disney socks, pajamas, Disney trading pins, Disney movies to watch in the car, personalized coin holder full of quarters and pennies for the pressed penny machines, and a Disney themed gift. There were also Disney themed breakfast, dinner, and cupcakes on the countdown.
This is just a fun little way of celebrating a vacation before actually going on it.
Every road trip we embark upon I like to include a scavenger hunt for the ride. I make up treat bags and one of these hunts is always inside. It’s always fun to see what each car had a hard time finding and what they completed right away. We are headed to the Gulf coast and look forward to surf, sand, games, and memory-making galore.
Just copy, paste, and print.
Road Trip Scavenger hunt
2. Cotton growing
3. Liquor store sign
4. Corn growing
5. Montana license plate
6. 30A bumper sticker
7. Passenger sleeping (not in your car)
8. A car with a canoe or kayak on top
9. A little white church
10. A car with a dog in it
11. A car with a Disney something on it
12. Palm tree
13. Baby on board sign
14. A historical marker
16. Bike on a car
18. Sign for chick fil a
20. A hotline sign
21. Sign about hell
23. College or university
24. Something that says roll tide
25. A farmer working
26. A cross on the roadside
27. Car with an advertisement on it
29. A passenger who looks like they’re singing
30. Firework sign or store
31. American flag
32. Proud parent sticker
33. Boiled peanut sign
34. Bus of any kind
35. Sign about space and rocket center
36. Hampton Inn
37. Truck with cars on it
38. Cracker Barrel
40. RV pulling a car or boat
My husband and I visited Disney World a few weeks ago. We went without the children and only for a long weekend. We stayed off property because we had Hilton points. We stayed at the Disney Springs Hilton. It was decorated in a very contemporary way and I loved the streamlined look. Everyone at the hotel was very friendly. I would certainly recommend this hotel if you are looking for a place off property.
We arrived in the afternoon on a Friday and after checking in to the hotel and dropping our luggage in the room, we headed to Magic Kingdom. We stopped by the place next to City Hall to get our Sorcerer cards first. We played that for a while and then headed for the rides. We rode Big Thunder Mountain and It’s a Small World. We got great seats for Wishes. The fireworks are my husband’s favorite part; so he was so excited to watch them in a good spot.
After the fireworks, we went to find some other things to do. We love Laugh Factory and the Toy Story laser ride. It was very packed in the park every day we were there.
We visited Animal Kingdom and Epcot. Animal Kingdom was especially packed. We only went on the Kilimanjaro Safari; everything else was more than an hour wait. We went on to Epcot. We enjoyed the Art Festival. We are both BIG art fans; so we really enjoyed perusing the different pieces of art. We even purchased one. Noah was one of the featured artists and was there to meet with the people and sign his work. He was so engaging and incredibly talented! His story is amazing as well.
Both of us enjoy trying new foods and Epcot is a perfect place for this. We rode Living on the Land, which is one of my favorites. We also wore Soarin’. It’s the first time I’ve been on it since they changed it to the world version. It was nice, but I missed the orange grove so much!
We ate dinner at Rose and Crown one night and at the Captain’s Grille another night. My husband loved the steak so much at Rose and Crown. It is one of the older girl’s favorite foods of all time. The food is always good in Disney and both places were no exception.
One of the things we enjoy about going alone to Disney World is that we usually explore places that the children aren’t interested in visiting. If you ever wonder if this is a good trip for adults without children, the answer is YES!
Since my oldest is heading to college in the fall, it’s time for college visits. Her number one pick is in Baltimore, Maryland so we are headed there in a few weeks. We will only be there for about 30 hours, so I’m looking to anyone out there for advice. Where should we go? What should be avoid? Are there any places that are “must dos”? What are good places to eat?
photo credit: Baltimore.org
Thanks in advance for any suggestions!!
There is an art gallery in Hilton Head that is absolutely delightful! It’s called Endangered Arts. The owners are Clay and Julie Rogers. She runs the gallery and is a professional photographer. Her love of the ocean and all the creatures that inhabit it is evident when speaking with her. She is kind, warm, and friendly. Her husband, Clay, is a self taught painter. He paints all the things you might see in Hilton Head. They have many works of art from many different artists from all over the world. I was so impressed by every single piece of art there.
We went in looking for a painting that would remind us of our favorite place. Julie helped us figure out exactly what we wanted. We ended up choosing a Clay Rogers painting. He wrote a special personal note to us on the back and included the practice sketch he’d done of the painting. I walk by it every time I go into our bedroom. It makes my heart happy to have something as a visual reminder of the place we love so much. A visit to Hilton Head wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Endangered Arts.
I am so incredibly sad for all those affected by Hurricane Matthew. I pray that the cleanup will be quick and that those affected will be able to recover from their losses. I’ve heard that there has been loss of life. I pray for healing and comfort for the families of those people.
While our fall break was interrupted, we really can’t complain. We tried to make the best of the change of plans. The drive out of Hilton Head took about twice the time it should have, but the state officials did a GREAT job moving people out!
We had to break the trip into two days due to the fact that we are traveling with a small child, children who get extremely carsick, and two sets of grandparents. When we finally arrived at our hotel, it was mid-afternoon. We ate an early dinner at a restaurant called Farm to Fork in Ringgold, GA. I’ll have a full review of that place soon (hopefully). Later, once the grandparents arrived, we met up at Gateway Antique Mall. They had lots of Civil War items. None of us bought anything because the prices seemed a little inflated. The next day, we headed out early to Chattanooga, TN. The first thing we did was head to the Tennessee Valley Railroad. We took the Missionary Ridge ride. It was extremely short, but I think everyone enjoyed riding a train and seeing the way it worked.
Later, we traveled on to the Chattanooga Aquarium. They were so nice to offer people who’d had to evacuate due to the hurricane, 50% off admission. We enjoyed the aquarium. We were a little disappointed that there weren’t any dolphins, manatees, or any kind of whale. There were several touching stations, which we thoroughly enjoyed. I could have stayed in the jellyfish exhibit forever! I actually think we will be getting an aquarium with some of those amazing creatures come Christmas time. Chattanooga is a cute city and I could probably visit again over a long weekend and really find lots to enjoy!
The storm is on its way in; so we are on our way out. It’s a sad way to end what was supposed to be a week of a relaxing fall break before the madness of school activities and the holidays started. The evacuations started yesterday, but we are heading out today. Here’s what it looked like yesterday…
We had the whole beach to ourselves yesterday. It looks like we have the whole city to ourselves as we drive out.
We are hopeful that all those in the storm’s path stay safe and that Matthew will be downgraded before it does any more harm. We are on to the next place for now and will see if we can find some fun adventures along the way.