April 29, 2010

R & R, & R

To celebrate our anniversary we planned a weekend getaway to Fort Lewis Lodge. It was our first time leaving the DC area since Roscoe was born, and it doubled as our first family vacation.

We left early Friday morning and arrived in the Shenandoah Valley around 3:oo pm. What should have been a 4 hour drive turned into 7 hours with a lunch break, and several pit stops to execute diaper changes, nap routines, and otherwise entertain our little passenger.

The drive West was gorgeous once we exited the interstate, and it was hard not to appreciate the quintessential Virginia landscapes. Fort Lewis Lodge is tucked away on a 3200 acre plantation that is truly breathtaking. We rented an adorable cabin for our stay.

Once unpacked and settled in we set about to explore the property which offers a lush outdoor oasis complete with a swimming hole, fishing spots, hiking trails, and even loaner bikes available for romantic rides through the countryside. We stuck mostly to walking along the riverbed, relaxing on our porch swing, and hanging out at Buck's Bar overlooking the fish pond. Roscoe loved Tucker and Sam, two yellow labs who are lucky to call the lodge their home.

The main event for us was the food, which was downright incredible. Home cooking at its best, and served buffet style in a cozy rustic dining room. Every morning a full spread of breakfast was served, then dinner in the evening. Roscoe went to bed each night around 7:00, and after carefully tucking him in we dilly-dallied outside our cabin until the dinner bell rang at 7:30. Then we left him sleeping soundly to enjoy some time alone. In a record breaking achievement we had two dates in one weekend! Seriously, it's crazy how much fun we had.

The second day we drove to Hot Springs and spent the afternoon at a park overlooking The Homestead, where we shared a picnic lunch under clear skies--despite an ominous forecast of thunderstorms. After dinner that night we joined two other couples by a roaring fire underneath an open air pavilion. The rain was pouring so hard at times it was hard to hear our own voices. We felt like two kids at camp when we had to run full blast through the rain and back to the safety and warmth of our cabin. The familiar clicking of Roscoe's swing, and his easy breathing was a reminder of how far we've come in the last 11.5 years. A lot has changed since we were teenagers skipping school together, and posing for prom pictures.

We slept so well both nights, and napped when Roscoe napped during the day. If it's humanly possible to "catch up" on sleep, we did our best.

Our mini vacation made us realize that Roscoe has become quite adaptable. I worried some that he'd sleep poorly in a different environment, or refuse to nap in the car--one of his favorite pastimes. But he surprised us and did neither of those things! It also gave us our first taste of membership in the "parent club". It seemed that most guests at the lodge last weekend were on a "getaway" from their children. We happened to bring ours with us, but it was fascinating how easily we connected with everyone over the shared experience of family.

Roscoe was a ham, demonstrating his ability to wave hello and goodbye, pointing out the "dogs" that were actually mounted raccoons and foxes, and repeating the word car at least 20 times over breakfast one morning.

Another important realization: we miss the pair "Andy & Jacqueline". There's nothing like spending a few hours sans baby to realize how much we love each other's company. Poppa & Momma are front and center most days, and we don't often see the playful, romantic side that used to be woven into our everyday.

It was a joyful adventure to vacation as a family. I can think of so many reasons to visit Fort Lewis Lodge again. I have a feeling that this may become our secret spot. Shhh! Don't tell anyone!

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