In the thick of marathon work, I told Corey I wanted us to go away together when we got him back. Of course, it doesn’t really make much sense to take a trip in early May. Pull the kids from school? Plan a trip right after a stressful string of solo parenting? We decided it was better to go in early June as soon as school was out.
We decided to do what Pittsburghers do and go up to Erie to the lake.
I polled my mom-friends. I collected their wisdom and prior experiences and got us a hotel room for 3 nights, about 15 minutes’ drive from Presque Isle. What a lovely adventure!
As I buckled the kids in the car, I realized this was our first family vacation that wasn’t doubling up as a trip to see other relatives. Miles actually asked me where his grandparents would be sleeping on our trip. What a profound moment, when we told him it was just us, just Team Lev.
We were combining this trip with showing our house for sale, so the build up to the trip was very stressful and involved a lot of me yelling at the children, but we made sure that the trip was a vacation from the moment we pulled out of the driveway. This meant fast food for dinner. Kids meals that featured How to Train Your Dragon placemats, which Felix calls “Dragon Food.”
I must say that Erie has won me over as a lovely vacation spot. Less than a 2-hour drive, free parking on the beach. There were gentle waves and bathrooms and shade trees. There are life guards on duty later in the day and Presque Isle includes kites and bike trails and hiking paths.
I can’t imagine us enjoying many repeat visits to the small museums there, so a trip to Erie might end up a bit drab if it rains, but when the weather is fair, it seems like a place our family will enjoy visiting again and again.
Next time, I think I’ll try to find us a house to rent. The novelty of the hotel wore off pretty quickly and I realized it was a lot to ask the boys to be on their best behaviors for meals 3 times a day for 3 full days. My initial delight that the hotel included free breakfast was overshadowed by the kids having to not act like their usual selves during breakfast at 6am. A tall order for rowdy boys!
Each of us has something we’d like to do on a return trip–bike the perimeter of the peninsula, find more seashells, climb the light house, brave a trip down the steps into the belly of the brig Niagara. Hopefully we’ll make it back there again this summer, even if just for a day trip.