That was exactly the situation I found myself in just over a week ago, when we headed out on our first-ever Knight family vacation.
We had two firm destinations for our trip, a match between Chelsea and Paris St. Germain in Charlotte, followed by a few days on the ocean in Myrtle Beach.
The destinations were great. Our daughter Abby proved to be the most popular baby in all of North Carolina when we were at the game, and the weather was fantastic for our three days in the sun at Myrtle Beach However, much like the Griswolds - and we even had the wagon, except ours is a Volvo and not a Family Truckster - it was the voyage that provided a lot of the excitement for our trip.
As I alluded to in my intro, I will never consider North Durham to be especially ‘hilly’ ever again after venturing through the mountains in West Virginia and Virginia. In one of the cooler moments of our 3,500 kms of driving, at the border between the states you actually do venture through a mountain by way of the East River Mountain Tunnel.
The second night of our eight-day adventure, we stayed in Roanoke, Virginia. What we did not plan on, was just how far off the interstate and onto local roads it would take us. The interstate may have provided me with its fair share of nervous moments as we roared down mountains, across vast bridges (which, I should add, I hate) and next to rocky cliffs plunging 1,000 feet. However, it was smooth sailing compared to some of the twists and turns taken as we made our way through one unincorporated community after another on our side trip to Roanoke.
I should add that Roanoke provided us with the best hotel experience of our journey, and if you are ever in the area, be sure to stay at the Cambria Suites.
By far, the nicest people we met were in Charlotte. After Chelsea beat PSG, it took about an hour for us to get on a packed train back to our hotel. What made the trip special was when we stopped at the next station, and a drunk was shouting about being from New York City and trying to shove his way on board, our fellow passengers rallied around, citing that there was a baby to think about and he wasn’t welcome here. It was incredible to see that type of southern hospitality.
We ended up getting some great photos, especially of our beautiful little beach baby, and Kate took some fabulous shots going through the mountains. Like a lot of family vacations though, some of the most memorable experiences we’ll share through our memories rather than photographs. Like our several close encounters with deer in South Carolina, when Kate fell asleep for 20 minutes and I managed to take us off course by more than an hour, or the daycare flying the confederate flag (seriously).
All in all, our first family vacation managed to exceed the lofty expectations I had for it, and I’m grateful for the chance to spend such quality time with my two favourite girls, and for the fact that my wife confirmed my status as luckiest husband/dad when she gave the okay to us basing our vacation around a Chelsea game.