There’s just nothing quite like getting away for a few days on a family adventure, am I right?? Checking out of reality, turning off our phones, finding all the new and fun things to do in a city. It’s just so exhilarating and quite honestly, in a world where we are tied to electronics and schedules and to do lists, it’s absolutely NECESSARY. Matt and I recently realized that it had been almost an entire year since we’d done anything alone as a couple and we’ve never really gone on any adventures with all four of us! We decided to remedy that and take everyone on a mini-getaway! Thankfully, due to the nature of Matt’s job (real estate agent), we are able to set our own schedules (to some degree) and plan our adventures when we want. And to be honest, sometimes spur of the moment and spontaneous adventures are the best kind!
I just have to add that, if we have the time to get away for longer than a night or two, one of our personal all-time favorite vacations is a cruise! We’ve taken a couple cruises with Royal Caribbean now and have loved every second of the entire experience — being on that gorgeous ship with all of the amenities and nightlife and the ability to be in different cities every day… not to mention there is something for everyone on board! AND Royal Caribbean visits more than 250 destinations world-wide – which means you could literally go anywhere with them! It truly is, hands-down, one of our favorite ways to vacation. Unfortunately, we can’t live on a cruise full-time (SERIOUSLY, HOW AMAZING WOULD THAT BE?!), but we CAN be inspired by the same things that Royal Caribbean stands for — discovery, exploring, family bonding, adventure, getting outside of our comfort zones. And that same spirit of excitement has carried over into our local vacations and getaways!
For this trip, we decided to go explore the city of Fredericksburg and Enchanted Rock! They are both just so beautiful — Fredericksburg is a quiet, quaint town with so many good restaurants and stores; perfect for walking around, poking your head into shops, grabbing ice cream. I feel like small towns always give you the best memories and best experiences! Enchanted Rock, about 30 minutes from Fredericksburg, is a MASSIVE granite dome that gives absolutely breathtaking views (once you make it to the top)! It was the perfect combination of rest and adventure for our family.
We drove up on a Saturday morning, spent the night in our hotel and then got up early on Sunday to make sure we were some of the first people there (the park fills up fast)! It was honestly the perfect day — foggy, misty, a little chilly. My ideal hiking weather! And Enchanted Rock was the perfect place for our first family adventure. The summit trail is a pretty intense hike but completely doable for kids and we were SO proud of Silas – he climbed up the entire thing from start to finish all by himself!!! However, the poor kid was absolutely exhausted by the time we reach the top so Matt had to carry him the whole way down ;) But I still can’t believe he made it up that huge dome with those skinny little legs of his!!
I’m not going to lie, I wanted to quit halfway up. I was carrying Verity in our ergo baby carrier and realized that getting myself up the mountain was hard enough but strapping an extra 20 pounds to me made it nearly impossible. My legs were burning, my lungs were burning and I told Matt, “I don’t think I can do it. I can’t go any higher!” He started, “You can do it! 1 foot in front of the other; just keep putting 1 foot in front of the other. This is a good lesson for Silas, that we finish what we start!” Even Silas got in on the encouraging, “Come on, mom!! Keep going!!”, as he walked behind me, pushing me up the rock.
I love that we worked together and made it happen!! WE DID IT!!! There were lots of rest stops along the way and many times I thought we would fail, but we reached the top of the summit and that view just blew me away!!! It was breathtaking, the city below, covered in fog. It was hard to even see where the mountain ended and the sky began. We honestly felt like we were in a different world — it was just magical! Matt and I looked at each other and just grinned. We. Did. It.
But, of course, it wouldn't be a TRUE adventure without some problems haha! Like how I accidentally booked the hotel in the wrong city, 40 minutes from where we should’ve been. Or when our bank messaged us right as we pulled into the town that there was fraud on our accounts and canceled our cards immediately, so we had no money (thankfully, Matt had forethought to pull out some cash before we went otherwise we wouldn't have had the ability to pay for our hotel or any meals or gas for the ride home). And then, halfway up the mountain, both kids had dirty diapers that eventually leaked all the way through their clothes AND our clothes! We actually ended up having to spray Verity down naked at the on-site campground in 45° weather because it was such a mess.
Finally, on the ride home, we narrowly missed getting into a massive accident (luckily, Matt was the one driving back from Fredericksburg, not me), since about an hour into our trip home, there was a huge mangled metal ladder in the middle of the freeway — the 3rd car in front of us hit it, it bounced up and the other 2 cars in front swerved to either side of us, soo guess who had to run over the ladder at 80mph?? We did!! I’ve never been so terrified in my life — it ripped off the entire plastic underside of our van but thankfully no tire damage or other issues. We were safe, the kids were safe.. just the grace of God, y’all. Also, I’ve officially nominated Matt to drive for all roadtrips from here on out!
It was absolutely insane, you guys, the amount of things that went wrong. But you know what — even with all of the wild, WEIRD things that happened on that trip, I would do it again in a heartbeat. Life is unpredictable. It just is. And it can throw some crazy curveballs but if we let that stop us from trying new things and making memories as a family, then we’ve lost sight of the entire point! We WANT our kids to get out, to explore and try new things — and that only happens if we, as parents, make it a priority!! This trip was the first time the kids have ever been in the car that long, five hours each way (which, of course, with children turns into six or seven hours each way ha ha). But honestly, they did so good and it definitely gave us confidence to take them out again soon.
This whole experience just filled my heart and we talked the whole way home about all of the places we’d like to go next! We made so many amazing memories on this trip and were so inspired by our time on our Royal Caribbean cruises, their innovative designs and encouragement to get outside our comfort zones and try new things! I hope you’re just as compelled as we are to take more vacations, turn off our phones and just getaway for a few days because it’s worth it!! Every single time.