We are on vacation, visiting family in San Diego, and celebrating Michelle’s parent’s 50th anniversary. That’s an increasingly rare and wonderful milestone showcasing a long and successful partnership.
Michelle likes to tell the story of how my grandmother pulled her aside a few weeks before our wedding and told her in no uncertain terms that there were no divorces in her family and she didn’t intend to start now so Michelle better be sure. Either my tiny, little grandmother had a terrifying side that I never saw or she was working some powerful voodoo because 17 years after that chat, and many weddings later, there are still no divorces in my large, sprawling, extended family.
Or maybe we just all had good role models. I’m a big believer in modeling how and what you want your kids to learn. Fifty years of marriage is a heck of a strong example.
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.
I really didn’t know what to expect with Cefalu. It’s not a name that comes up often when you consider visiting Italy or Sicily. It appears to be more well-known and popular inside Italy than outside but maybe that’s changing.
The coastal town, located about an hour east of Palermo offers great beaches, stunning views, deep history, good food all in a charming, picturesque seaside city.
Here are some of the highlights during our weeklong stay with the kids.
The main part of our summer vacation would be spent in Sicily but if you are going to fly all the way to Italy why not do your best to squeeze a little more time in, right? We couldn’t get a direct flight from Boston to Sicily, there would be a layover no matter what we did, so we played with the flight combinations to find the cheapest way to spend at least a night in Rome.
Ultimately we ended up with about 36 hours and did our best to hit the highlights and show the kids the city before we headed back to the airport for the short hop to Palermo.
Here’s what we did with our 36 hours in Rome with kids.