Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Smiths Go Northeast Day 1: On the Road and Overnight in Amherst, MA!

Several months ago, we brainstormed where we wanted to vacation this summer.  Josh had lots of good ideas, and I started with the Northeast one, and after one Google search, I knew there'd be plenty for us to do!  We took a very similar trip about nine years ago.  Obviously, it was more flexible and play-it-by-ear, but it gave us a skeleton to help us plan out this trip.  Something I heard about and really wanted to do was go visit the Eric Carle Children's Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts.  We decided that would be our first activity, so we set out to spend our first night near there in Northampton!  Something Josh heard about and really wanted to do was pick up geocaches in each state... ;)  In all seriousness, geocaching can provide such a great jumping off point if we are feeling overwhelmed of what area of a new city/park to explore!
 Northampton or bust!!!
 The boys really did great in the car!  It was encouraging that our longest day in the car was about 8 hours (except for the looooong drive home, which was possibly a planning oversight...), so we knew we'd be ok!  
 I made snack towers for the boys out of (brand-new and clean) pill containers.  
 Each pod had a different snack: Teddy Grahams, Baby Goldfish, Craisins, fruit snacks, Reese's Peanut Butter Cereal, and peanuts.
 We had a nice stretching stop to take a short hike and grab a geocache Josh needed to finish a big challenge he was working on.  I cannot believe all of the things different people think of to add more depth to geocaching!  It's definitely fun to just find any caches and keep track, but there are SO many challenges requiring different types of caches or caches fulfilling specific attribute requirements!  
 This trip was a dream come true for Jackson with so many climbing and mountain-goat-ing opportunities for him!
 Burger King lunch stop!!!
 This trip was full of hotel-hopping!  There were only two cities where we stayed more than one night.  I spent A LOT of time thinking about how to make this easy to load and unload the car and pack and unpack in the hotel.  I settled on using the boys' small, wheelie suitcases to hold two days worth of clothes plus bathing suits for all of us.  They were able to wheel those while Josh carried the Pack-n-Play, a backpack of laptops and other things we didn't want to leave in the car, and I carried a huge tote bag with our toiletries, lovies, and other etc. items.  This system worked beautifully!  The cities where we stayed two or three nights were spread out so I was able to use that "extra time" to re-organize suitcases/swap out dirty laundry, and we managed to not drive ourselves (ahem...each other...) crazy!  
 I unpacked the room and researched dinner while Josh played in the pool with the boys.  Jackson was SO excited to show off everything he learned in his swimming lessons!

I found a spot that looked good for dinner called Riff's Joint, and it was a great first night dinner!
We walked off dinner looking for some caches and headed back to the hotel for bed!
Jackson and I found a great spot to sit and read while Graham fell asleep in the room.

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