One of the great things about revisiting a place on vacation is that you have the time, knowledge, and flexibility to explore new things and take advantage of unexpected opportunities. This happened to us on our most recent return trip to Prince Edward Island.
We were googling around looking for nearby restaurants and stumbled on Copper Bottom Brewery in Montague which offered, in addition to a nice tap room, live fiddle music on Sunday and pizza and vinyl on Thursday. Yes, please!
If you are going to visit Prince Edward Island, you really should take some time to see the island by water. The views of the red cliffs, bays, inlets and green fields spinning out toward the horizon is a view not to be missed.
Last year, we went for a morning boat tour that included fishing and clamming. This year we went a little more low key and a lot more musical. We booked a ‘jigs and reels’ sunset tour with the Fiddling Fisherman out of Souris.
Our summer of two islands and two countries has come to an end. A bit of a luxury? Sure. Better than spending that money on day camps, water parks, or new toys? Absolutely.
Our girls definitely learn best by doing. Reading books and looking at pictures is great but nothing beats hands-on experience. One of my many favorite little memories from the past week was passing the Amish family buggy on the road near our rental house and the conversation it sparked with Cecilia. You could almost see how the first hand brush with a vastly differently culture was re-mapping her worldview through curiosity and not skepticism.
Whether we were on a working lobster boat or visiting the community bakery, the girls were able to see firsthand how different cultures live, taste the food, and maybe step into their shoes for a short time. These sensory experiences allow the girls to gain knowledge in a more meaningful way. I think that’s worth stretching the budget for.
If you are reading this it means we’ve survived our 12 hour car trip across the border into Canada without an international incident and are back in PEI for a week of mussels….and not much else beyond a relaxing end to the summer.
Family road trips can be many things but mostly they are a test for parents on how long they can keep kids occupied before the children reach their breaking point. I try to see this as a way to help them develop patience and slowly prepare them for a life of sitting in a cube working on TPS reports.
The girls actually did great. We’ve built up their stamina with road trips to Jersey, Philly, and DC and they handled the extra hours pretty well. We did Harry Potter on audio, they did a few movies, there were silly road games, some French pop on the radio, and a breakfast truck stop.
We have three cardinal rules for our road trips: First, keep everyone fed. Second, embrace the chaos with as much humor and patience as you can muster. Third, always bring baby wipes no matter how old your kids (or their father) get.
If you think elementary school body humor has peaked in your house just try introducing an Italian bidet to the equation. It opens up whole new avenues of humor.
After a whirlwind 36 hours in Rome, we have now made it to Sicily. This is the first long plane/travel trip since Ally was about 18 months old and we’ve found that the rules have changed slightly, or at least no longer involve diapers. Here are our six rules of engagement for this trip:
- Avoid boredom. They are mostly old enough to entertain themselves but having random shiny objects they’ve never seen before doesn’t hurt.
- Anticipation is half the fun. We got the kids involved in the planning. Ce is also keeping a travel journal. Also, start packing a week out by putting things in piles to avoid last minute stress.
- Avoid hunger. Snacks in a strange land work just as well as at home.
- Always be bribing. In Italy, gelato works really well for this.
- Energy is infectious. This is Michelle’s speciality. Her mantra is “It’s an adventure.” She is very going at spinning anything.
- There are mostly no rules. My mantra? I’m on vacation and I don’t care.
Of course, tantrums and meltdowns happen on vacation as well as in your own living room but it’s worth it for the great moments, right? Cecilia has now had a “memorable” moment in the Roman forum. Daddy has had one in the Hertz line in Palmero. It’s the cost of doing business and if the kids (and Dad) are ever to learn how to master these behaviors, it may as well be on the go.