Our Family Vacation
Posted on January 04 2021
Our Family Vacation: The Stones take on Florida...and a road trip...during a pandemic
Like many of you, the Stone family had plans for an amazing family vacation in 2020. Relaxing on the beach, visiting all the highest rated attractions, delicious seafood, parks and places — the whole thing. Well, 2020 happened and our plans changed.
Months ago, I mentioned the idea of a “road trip.” If I remember correctly, Kyle looked at me like I was crazy, which honestly, was probably warranted. Lennon has never liked the car and well, Max is an antsy 4-year-old...seemed like an awful idea.
Months went by and the thought still lingered. We were getting stir crazy from not leaving the house very often and well, as much as I love Wild & Precious, I could feel that I needed a break. As a family, we’ve been spending a ton of time together at home, but we could really use some QUALITY time away from home.
We decided to just go for it.
And we are alive to tell the tale! ;) Better yet, I’m here to share all of our tips, tricks and inside info about our destination of choice.
Grafton, Wisconsin → Nashville, Tennessee
3 a.m. - On the road
- Someone suggested leaving at a ridiculous hour and honestly, this may have been the BEST ADVICE of the whole trip. Seriously. So many positives and we did it three times...it did not backfire once.
- Here’s why we loved it:
- The kids were drowsy and it was dark out so it made it easy for them to fall back asleep. They slept for about four to five hours and woke up just in time to grab some drive thru breakfast and stop at a park to eat and stretch our legs.
- Set the timer for the coffee so it was good to go when we got in the car. Kyle and I drank our coffee in peace and quiet while catching up on ALL the things.
- No traffic.
- We got to see the sunrise.
3 p.m. - Nashville, TN
- We visited the Nashville Zoo which we highly recommend. I haven’t been to many zoos, but this one was absolutely gorgeous and it also happened to be 65 degrees out and sunny.
- Of course we had to swing by and pick up some Hattie B’s hot chicken, and it did not disappoint!!
- We were so thankful to have had a contact in Nashville and they let us stay in their guest suite for the night. It was an early bedtime for all of us, as we got up bright and early to head the road the following day.
Nashville, Tennessee → Destin, Florida
3 a.m. - On the road...again
- We debated again about this early wake up for two reasons. 1) it had to be a fluke that it went so well the first time and 2) where are we gonna get coffee at 3 a.m.?
- Luckily it was not a fluke and thankfully there was a 24-hour gas station with the much needed java.
8 a.m. - Park break
- We stopped for breakfast and stretched our legs at another park before we got back on the road for our final destination.
12 p.m. - Arrived in Destin, FL
- 55-70 degrees...tropical to us, Northerners
- Lots of rentable homes with private pools
- Near a beach — several actually
- Within driving distance from Grafton, WI and it was a few hours shorter of a drive than our original choice of Orlando
- Positive reviews and recommendations
Where did we stay?
We stayed at a lovely home in the Destiny East neighborhood of Destin, between Henderson Beach State Park and Miramar Beach. It was PERFECT for what we were looking for: a short walk to the beach, it had a private (and heated!) pool, a few bedrooms and nice neighborhood. During the warmer months, it’s a bonus that there are two additional community pools, a walking trail (which we used daily), tennis courts and a park. The house was minutes away from grocery stores, restaurants and lots of family friendly activity centers.
What did we do in Destin?
Our goal for this vacation was literally just to get some much needed quality family time. We wanted to limit our exposure to others while sharing new experiences and get out of our house. This was a vacation we felt comfortable taking during this uncertain time. Maybe it was COVID, maybe it was the fact that it was 60 degrees and December, but Destin was practically a ghost town.
We went to several different beaches — all of which had the most beautiful, soft, white sand I’ve ever seen. I wasn’t brave enough to test the waters, but Max and Kyle had fun splashing around while Lennon and I enjoyed the views from the sand. We preferred the public beach access points over the state parks, but did visit a few of the state parks too.
There were plenty of outdoor family friendly activities as well. Mini golf, harborwalk, boardwalk, go-karts, outdoor shopping and plenty of indoor fun too if you’re interested. A drive down 30A was definitely on our list. We made stops at beaches, sipped our coffee and went as far as a cute little town called Seaside, which comes highly recommended. It’s an adorable little town with small businesses and a welcoming atmosphere.
On the way back we visited the Village of Baytown Wharf, which was an amazing little area filled with restaurants and shops. Again, since we were there in the off season, several things weren’t open and it was QUIET — we were the only ones there! ;) But there were also cute walking paths down to the marina, games for the kids, and in the winter, there’s even an ice rink. It’s a great stop to make!
Since we had a full kitchen, which was very well stocked, we did almost all of our cooking at the house including some fresh seafood and a whole day of Christmas cookie baking.
Let’s be real though, we have a 4-year-old and you know he spent 90 percent of his time in the bath of a pool in the backyard. The most special part of the trip? Max learning to swim. He went from hardly any confidence and was attached to his floaties, to diving for sticks and doing flips in the water. Proud momma moment! I’m so happy that we all got to experience it together. Now, on to actual swim lessons!
BUT HOW WERE YOU OKAY WITH TAKING TIME OFF WORK…especially during the busy holiday season?
I wasn’t. It made me nervous from the moment we left for Destin and then the nerves continued while I was there… But I worked really hard before leaving to get as much done as possible. And more importantly, I have a fabulous group of gals who were ready to help out and take over so that my family and I could enjoy the vacation. I’m so incredibly thankful for them.
You have to let go of control, and I’m slowly learning how to do that. Oh, and by the way, the W&P ladies rocked it — even amidst the 2020 Holiday Shipping Debacle.
And YOU! My friends and customers, I wouldn’t be able to be so at ease taking time away if it wasn’t for your kindness and understanding. I know that I can’t serve you, my family, myself or community when I’m not at my best, and to be at your best, sometimes you need a break. Thank you for allowing me to recharge so that we can do AMAZING things in 2021.
Kyle and I had a lot of fears and worries about this trip — primarily related to the 16 hours spent in the car with two young kids. But ultimately we decided that even if that part was terrible, there were still memories to be made and family time to be had.
We needed a mental break from things to be reminded of what’s most important in life...the people you share it with. I would 10000% recommend this road trip or destination to anyone. I can’t speak for the busy season, but we absolutely loved it even in 60 degree December weather. Ultimately, it didn’t matter what could have gone wrong, time spent with these goofs is time well spent, always.