Because this year marked Eric's 50th birthday, I felt compelled to do a bit more than in other years. He wasn't convinced it was necessary, but I did. Hey! How many times does a person hit the half-century mark? Right??
To celebrate his 50 years in this world. I booked a weekend getaway for our family at Alderbrook Resort. Knowing March is a crazy-busy month for us, I opted for us to go out of town in April... a little after his birthday, but better in terms of the calendar. I was able to get a two-bedroom cottage, complete with a kitchenette, making thins a whole lot easier for us. The cottage was even pet-friendly, so Buca could go with us. Bonus!
After making the drive to Union (just shy of 2 hours from home), we found ourselves ready for vacation, but vacation wasn't quite ready for us. Because we arrived before the official check-in time, our cottage wasn't ready for us. To pass the time, we decided to do a little geocaching. We tromped around the resort's property for about an hour and a half and had a marvelous time. It was a great way to stretch our legs after being in the car and to learn more about the lay of the land. We went along trails through the woods, to the pool, along the beach, and along the loop of cottages. Fortunately, we only got rained on a little bit. Considering we were expecting a very wet weekend, we felt like we dodged a big (wet) bullet.
Soon enough, we were able to get the keys to our cottage (#10) and get unpacked a bit. While the kids claimed their beds and figured out where their toys would spend the weekend, Buca got comfy on his vacation dog bed that we found waiting for us and promptly fell asleep. (Traveling is so tiring!) Eventually, Buca was up for a little exploring. (He's 12, so emphasis on the LITTLE.) He and the kids walked down to the beach to check out the sights and smells. Buca even took a little dip in the Sound ... too cold for us, but he had a great time!! Of course, that completely tuckered him out, leaving me to hoist him back up over the 2' bulkhead so he could slowly walk back to the cottage and his comfy bed.
After dinner, we took advantage of the lovely indoor pool and hot tub. (You had me at hot tub!) The four of us (Buca was on cottage guard patrol) had a marvelous time playing, splashing, and relaxing in the water. At one point, Annika decided to make a raft out of the available pool noodles. She was incredibly industrious!! It was such a treat to see how far the kids have come in their swimming abilities. They both can navigate in the water with skill and confidence. Conor had a blast tossing our dive toys around and then scurrying around the bottom of the pool to retrieve them. Fortunately, we didn't have to share the pool with a lot of people for the most part.
Soon enough, it was 7 o'clock and time to dry off so we could enjoy one of the many fire pits around the resort. Thanks to a hint from my friend Kate (who recently visited Alderbrook with her family), we packed s'more makings and had dessert outside while soaking up the heat from the fire. We wrapped up the evening with a walk along the docks and some quite admiration of the local beauty.
After putting the kids to bed, Eric and I opened a bottle of bubbly and plated a few hands of cards. We played Quiddler (and had to reminder ourselves how to play because we'd taking a rather long hiatus from that game apparently!) and gin rummy. We even whipped out the dice and played a few rounds of Greed. Yeah. we are party animals!!
We chit chatted, reminisced, recapped the day, and laughed together ... all while listening to a chorus of croaking frogs. (Definitely not part of our typical city-dwellers soundtrack.)
The next morning, we awoke to a quiet calmness that basically sums up staying at Alderbrook. We had 9:00 breakfast reservations, so scooted out of the cottage fairly soon after Annika woke up. Oh my, but was breakfast amazing! We had warm carrot cake break (which we all inhaled) as a starter. The kids and I ordered eggs benedict (mine had crab cakes instead of an English muffin and Canadian bacon.... AMAZING) while Eric had scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast. (Ahh, my runny-egg hating sweetie!) The potatoes that came as a side dish were addictive ... the kind of food that keeps bringing you back even though you're painfully full.
We walked off breakfast by touring the docks and beach one more time before packing up our stuff (well, most of our stuff ... stay tuned for that story) and heading home. We had fun looking for pretty shells scattered along the beach. The kids were particularly impressed with the oyster shells ... something they had very little exposure to previously.
Before long, we bid Alderbrook a fond farewell and made the journey home. That night after the kids went to bed and Eric and I sat on the couch to watch a TV show, a teary-eyed Conor came into the room saying, "I think Spot 1 is still at Alderbrook!" (sob, sob, sob) We search through his luggage and the car hoping Spot 1 was just hiding. Unfortunately, it was soon apparent that Spot 1 was on an extended vacation. I called the resort and spoke with a very helpful (and sympathetic) employee who quickly found Spot 1 in the lost and found (WHEW!!). He took my contact info and promised the person in charge of the lost and found would contact me the next day to arrange for Spot 1's return. (Double WHEW!) As promised, I received a call the next day and Spot 1 was kindly packaged up and returned to his rightful home. A very squishy (and MUCH anticipated) package arrived at our home a few days later. I swear, I've never seen Conor so happy to see the mail in his life!! To show how top-notch Alderbrook is, they included a stuffed chipmunk (named Chip) and a note explaining how Spot and he became friends while they were both at Alderbrook. Talk about customer service!!!