I really enjoy vacation planning. Before I met J, my vacations were with friends. Honestly, I didn't contribute much other than my share of whatever hotel was selected as well as my transportation costs. When J and I started traveling together, I started to love the whole planning process. From accommodations to dining to activities, I enjoyed the research and selection. I even liked planning the transportation once we got to our location.
Planning a romantic vacation for two is a snap compared to planning a family vacation. Yes, I'm planning our first trip away with little Jack....and my parents! I'm really excited by this trip (Hi Mom--if you are reading!) as I know my mom has really wanted to travel to this part of the country. We have as well! But it does present a different set of challenges.
While the majority of my experience has been traveling within the Marriott family, J and I have taken several trips where we utilized HomeAway.com. A friend of mine had booked a month in a farmhouse in the hills of Virginia. It sounded amazing! The first time we opted for a vacation rental was during a trip to Boston. We rented a charming 2nd floor apartment in the North End. It was cheaper and bigger than any of the hotel rooms available. We've also rented in Charleston and Chicago, both were fabulous (feel free to contact me if you want the specifics). Space was never an issue. It was always about location for us!
For this trip, we knew that we needed a house with at least 2 bedrooms and enough space to feel like we all have some room to breathe. The place had to be baby friendly. As well, we needed all the amenities (mainly TV/cable for my dad). J and I wanted to be close to town to enjoy some of the local dining and breweries. We lucked out and were able to secure a great property (I'll be happy to share with you where we are staying---AFTER our trip!!)
We definitely need to rent a vehicle for this trip. Not only do we need room for the adults and baby (carseat), but we need room for luggage, medical supplies for my dad, and Jack supplies. If it were just J and I, we would have used one of our own cars or perhaps flown and rented a car upon arrival. I am not brave enough to fly with Jack yet. I'm in awe of all of you who have done this!
Activities that heavily involve walking are not good choices for this particular trip. For both Jack and my parents, it just won't work. However, I've found some really great opportunities for us to see the natural beauty of the area with minimal walking. I found a few waterfalls that can be seen from the road and have areas where you can pull over and take a picture. I also found some local apple farms where you purchase from the store rather than pick your own. Also, we will be traveling in the fall so I hope there will be some leaf peeping opportunities.
Our trip isn't for a few months, so please share any other tips you may have! Thank you!