Saturday, August 10, 2013

Our Newfound Lake Vacation Story | Photos

It was a busy Saturday morning, packing up our car for a short 1.5 hour drive to the lake with the kids. 

"Hunny, it won't fit" my husband said as he came back from stuffing our Honda Accord full. 

"What do you mean it won't fit?!" I thought. Don't tell me I spent all day cooking and packing food for the whole week just to find out the food will not fit in the car!

We ended up fitting it all, after all. [Whew!] Including two bags in my front passenger seat. Yeah, don't ask. I guess I wanted to be sure we were prepared for anything. You know, rain, sun, cranky kids, the normal. Except I wasn't actually prepared for what did happen over those 3 nights and 4 days.

Off we went! We left later than planned, as always, both kids were fast asleep napping during the drive. As we got closer, the scenery was truly beautiful. Vibrant green mountains, winding scenic roads, leading to the sparkling lake alive with vacationers. 

We drove up to our vacation cottage. As we saw more and more of it we proceeded to use the words shack and shed to refer to it - 'cottage' didn't really fit. As my husband described so well "Back in the 80s when I lived in the Soviet village, this would be considered a storage shed."

When I was booking it, the words 'cozy' and 'rustic' were used in the description. That should have been the first red flag. As was the fact there was no photo of the so called 'updated kitchenette'. Sorry, this doesn't look 'updated' to me, maybe 20 years ago? I should have paid closer attention to the reviews on HomeAway, all posted by people who stayed there 30+ years ago before this place was sold off as condos. How could I miss that none of the reviews actually talked about what this place is like inside, today?

The photos don't look so bad, right? It's cute. Looks can be so deceiving! Hubby hit his head on the porch rafter. Several times. Okay, so he is 6' tall. But he has never hit his head on a ceiling, door jamb, or rafter anywhere else we vacationed. 

See those windows? With paint peeling off. Not safe for kids. They are held up by little hooks from 30+ years ago. We steer clear of those. The back window? Not existent. It's mesh with wooden sliding shutters, no glass. 

There is only one sink. None in the bathroom. I end up using the same one for washing dishes as for rinsing Baby T's potty! Yum! [Smile] Broken chair legs. Broken rocking chair on the porch. Rocking chair paint peeling so bad that I do not feel safe putting my kids in one. Paint peeling off the entire porch. Broken pic nic table. 

The final drop in the bucket (pun intended) for us is the leaky shower head. No matter what we try, it drips, and drips all night. All night. Are you familiar with Chinese water torture? Well, we are now! 

The cottage is at a toasty 100 degrees Fahrenheit when we come in. [Smile] Followed by a rapid decline to a chilly 60 degrees at night. [Cue 'Frosty the Snowman'] Well, for me the view made up for it. Beautiful! (That is a fan, which was our 'AC' during the day when we tried, unsuccessfully, to cool the place down)

My husband is not so fortunate and could not enjoy the view. First night, fever, chills, body aches. He is completely miserable! I feel pretty helpless. All I have with me is cod liver oil, arnica, and some Cold Care tea. He still has a fever the next day and it does not help that he cannot sleep because of the leaky shower head. He didn't sleep all three nights we were there. So when he proposed we leave, I really couldn't say no and had to put myself in his shoes. 

What we do love is the lake being right across the street. First evening, we step out to the lake to feel the water shortly before sunset. Baby T is ready to jump out of my arms and right into the water, we let him get a little wet. I decide to skip the anti-bug balm that we love and use all summer, we're only out for a few minutes. I'm surprised, no mosquitoes. 

We settle in for the night. I realize with all our belonging there and the kids, the studio is a little too cramped. We're stepping on each other, literally. By morning I realize it is more cramped than I thought since I need to head outside with kids asap because hubby did not sleep all night. Now he can get a snooze because the constant sound of cars outside on the main road somewhat drowns out the leaky shower head.

Fortunately, this morning we venture up the hill of our condo complex and discover this beautiful playground with gorgeous views. You can see nearly the whole lake from here! This was out retreat during the stay, the kids love it! For the most part they just love the sand and I love the photo backdrop, the quiet, the fresh air, and a pause for my mind that I seldom get when we are home. 

We come back to our cabin about an hour later. I make breakfast. Early afternoon rolls around and we are so ready to check out the water. Being inside is unbearable as the temperature climbs to 95 again and doesn't stop. We get our swimming gear on!

Of course for the kids this is the most exciting part. They both love the water. Baby T even more so than Baby E, maybe because he is a water baby. I am so relieved to have the Swimtrainer floats, it made it so easy for me to keep an eye of them. No need to strain my back holding Baby T in the water and Baby E is well on her way to being a confident swimmer with the stage two orange float. Unlike a regular float it allows for the proper swimming position and lower the child a little in the water so that they can move their arms and legs under the water, genius! I only wish I got one sooner when Baby E was a baby.

The water is so warm, we then have a hard time trying to convince them to get out. Baby T obliges at hubby's mention of a yummy snack. The rest of our stay revolves around nap times, swim times, bed times, and meals. We visited the local Mill Fudge Factory and Ice Cream Cafe, perhaps the biggest attraction in town with the priciest ice cream I've ever tasted. It was worth it though because they had wi-fi, we could check for any urgent emails, and they had toys for the kids. That was the best part!

The place had a rustic, vintage feel - an old town charm.

Baby E even tried out the doll high chair. 

The cafe is situated on a cliff over a river with some wonderful views and the sound of the water. This cozy, narrow back room had wicker chairs, children's books, and windows that opened right onto the river. We took an evening walk in town and were surprised that mosquitoes were non-existent, they only came out later at night after sunset - when we were already in the cabin putting kids to bed.


On our last day there we went up to the playground on the hillside to take in the view one more time and take some family photos. Just when we thought we were done with the unexpected, the car is packed, and we're about to lock the cabin, Baby T falls down the front steps. My heart sank as I heard his scream and ran outside to see him at the bottom of the stairs. Thankfully he was okay and with the arnica rub and tablets, his bad bruises were gone in six days!

My favorite photo from the trip, Baby T is squealing in delight (not crying)

Sure, our trip was nothing like we expected and cut too short. It definitely wasn't very pleasant for my husband. We've decided that while the kids are little, anything more than three nights is too much for us because there is just too much stuff to pack for a longer stay - not to mention the food that we would need to bring along with us to avoid junk at restaurants and save money.

The most pleasant thing about the trip was having a break from my to-do list. At home there is a constant flow of tasks, chores. Here I could just take a little break from that and I could focus a lot more on the kids. No laundry, minimal cooking, minimal cleaning. The cleanest lake I've ever seen, fresh air, lots of sunshine, and some one-on-one time with those you love. Isn't that what vacation is all about? 

Do you have any 'vacation with kids' horror or success stories? 

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  1. It sounds fun and hot! When we stay on a cabin,we take our window air conditioner.We have four kids and I don't like the packing neither!

    1. Yeah, AC would have been great, we definitely didn't have room for it in the car! :) How do you possibly keep packing to a minimum with 4 kids? You must have it down after a few years!

  2. I've had the pleasure of swimming in this lake while camping at Blueberry Shores. It looks like your trip was not only beautiful but fun.

    1. I think we've driven by Blueberry Shores, it rings a bell :) We drove all the way around the lake on one particular evening, it's amazing! I would love to come back there for a weekend, maybe even without kids sometime.

  3. I had fun reading your vacation. Imagine going camping w the kids? we haven't done that yet. I think sunny days, warm clear lake, beautiful nature makes up for it. Of course nothing goes as we plan but maybe rather it makes us appreciate things better =)

    1. Thanks for your comment! I know Gena and Tanya regularly go camping with the kids, they have since they were much younger, but I can imagine it is easier now that they are big! I would love to go camping for not in the near future :) Experiences like this do make you appreciate things more!

  4. what a beautiful looking place to visit

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