Monday, June 30, 2014

East Coast Road Trip with the family!

Last week we returned from our 11 day road trip from Florida to Acadia National Park in Maine!!! We calculated it to be 3,506 miles round trip…and did I mention that we didn't RV it, we used the good ole family car, our Toyota Avalon. This trip took a lot of advanced planning and the majority of it I did using Roadtrippers. It's a super simple website (and phone app) where you plug in your starting and ending destinations and you can check out cool stops along the way. Most of the stops they recommend I probably would have never thought to look at but I'm so glad I did because they made our trip well-rounded…the right amount of history, kitsch and must-sees.


I am a planner in the most annoying way when it comes to our trips. I have a daily itinerary printed out, road maps in case our GPS (pre-programed with all of our stops) goes down, all of our activity tickets pre-purchased and a weather app with every city we are going to programed in. I have a packing list of everyone's outfits so we all know what we are wearing on what day. Yes…my name is Wendy and I have a problem. What's funny is, I am totally not an organized person. I don't have OCD, I hate cleaning my house and I wear gym clothes every day (but I have never been to the gym). But vacations are different. I have found that everything goes so much smoother the more fore-thought you put into it. This doesn't mean I don't leave room for spontaneity. Our schedule could change (and did change) based on how everyone is feeling. This just seems to work best for my family because we are a family of indecisiveness. No one likes to make a decision, especially on vacation. Even on our big trips out of the country…my hubby never asks what we are doing because he knows as soon as we get there I will have the whole thing planned out and I just tell him what we are doing next!

I will be the first to admit that I am not a very good long-range driver. I don't get into accidents or get speeding tickets…no, I tend to fall asleep! Yep, after about 30 min driving anywhere I get super sleepy. Like how we used to trick our kids into taking a nap when they were toddlers! A car ride puts me out like a light! But I wanted to at least try to be fair to my husband since he was going to be doing the driving. We planned it so we never drove at night, we tried to avoid all major cities at rush hours and we tried to break up the drive so there was never longer than a 3-4 hour stretch of driving at one time. On the first day and last day we (he) did drive longer than 3-4 hours because we were excited to get there/get home. Over all, this worked really well.

my hubby took a selfie while driving-I was most likely sleeping.

Since we had a pre-teen and a teenager in the back seat, portable DVD players were a must. I also purchased a digital pack of road trip games I found on Pinterest but these were not as popular as being able to watch all 7 Harry Potter Movies in a row. I was planning on being strict with how much media (movies & iPhones) my kids could use on the trip. I wanted them to enjoy looking out the window at the changing landscapes and experience all of the beauty of our country. I could hear them ohhh and ahhhh at the rolling hills, the majestic mountains and Atlantic Ocean…

Then I came back to reality and remembered that when I was 10 & 14, I couldn't care less about that either. So the rule of the trip was this: inside the car, you can enjoy all the media you want. Out of the car, you have to participate & engage in the place we are at. It worked like a charm. By the time we got to a new place, they were tired of playing on their phones or watching a movie.

I took a lot of photos…that kind of goes without saying. So I'm going to break up my posts into a couple of days at a time. If you would rather see a quick 3 minute video of the trip instead, here you go!


Road Trip 2014 from Wendy Updegraff on Vimeo.

Day 1: Florida to Virginia
The first day was a lot of driving. We left really early to avoid traffic. Car was packed the night before so we just had to wake up, brush teeth and hit the road. My kids had never been to South of the Border (where South & North Carolina meet) before so I knew that was a must-do item for us. I have such vivid memories of this place when I was a kid. Did they think it was as fabulous as I had been telling them it was??? no way…but we laughed and laughed at all of the ridiculousness of it and enjoyed watching all of the other families taking pictures of their kids in front of the silly statues because it's probably triggering a childhood memories for them.




 I bought a switch blade comb from here when I was little…thought I was the coolest kid ever.

After a quick bathroom break and a stretch of the legs, we were back on the road and didn't stop until we reached Williamsburg, Virginia. Our hotel was about a 5 minute drive from the historic district so we checked in, unpacked then headed over. We wondered the streets, visited the quaint shops, bought some trinkets and enjoyed dinner outside. If you've never been to Williamsburg, I definitely recommend it. We didn't have time to take the private tours, which I'm sure are fantastic. I'm a fan of any place where people are dressed up in period clothes…my kids? not so much. I guess because we live next to St. Augustine where they can see that any day, it's cool factor is lost on them, lol.















First day was great. We were back in the hotel by 8:30 and in bed by 9. No one had trouble getting to sleep since we had all been up since 4:45am. Tomorrow is more Virginia, Baltimore & Philadelphia!

Day 2: Virginia to Philadelphia
Day 3: Philly to Boston
Day 4: Boston
Day 5: Boston to Maine
Day 6: Bar Harbor Maine
Days 7 & 8: New York & Veritas Winery
Days 9 & 10: Richmond