OUR TRIP ITINERARY:
FIRST STOP: BILTMORE ESTATE IN ASHEVILLE, NC
Four of my five boys were able to load up and take this vacation with us. We had a full week to spend time together this year. It hasn’t always been that way for us. After several years of not being able to take any vacations, we had to start out with three and four day trips on the tightest of budgets. I think this was our first full week vacation that we were able to take together. So, even though I have adult kids and college kids, they aren’t married yet. So, I am so happy when they can make vacation/family time with us. We had a really wonderful time on Our Biltmore Estate and Amelia Island vacation.
THE NOSTALGIA OF THE BILTMORE
My oldest and second oldest sons had been to The Biltmore with me before, but they were only one and two years old at the time. And, then I came back when I was just a few months pregnant with my third son. Then, we came back as a family, again, when my fifth son was just a little baby. This region of North Carolina and The Biltmore Estate, specifically, are some of my favorite places to be. I wanted my youngest son to see the mansion so much, like his brothers. I love the architecture, the culture, the art, the interior design and the landscaping so much that I enjoy sharing it all with my family so much.
The boys had been inside the mansion enough times that they are a bit over the shock of its grandeur; and, they are not as passionate about it as I am, anyway. One thing that surprised me, though, is how much my boys enjoyed the gardens of The Biltmore. The boys went all throughout the roses, smelling them and checking to see which hybrid each was. I was loving it and all of the conversations that we had about all of the plants. You never know what a child (or a person, in general) is going to like or enjoy until they have been exposed to various things, you know? I love to see my sons expand their life experiences and appreciations. To share that with them is such a thrill for me.
VIDEO AT THE BILTMORE
FOUR UPDATES TO THE BILTMORE ESTATE TO TAKE NOTE OF
Unfortunately, I didn’t get any images of the overall Estate. Sometimes, the boys just do not have the patience for me stopping and taking a bunch of photos. You can locate all of the great details on their Biltmore website at www.biltmore.com
However, there were so many new and wonderful changes to the Estate from when I was last there that I wish I had photographed. I guess that I will just have to go back!
- They have added multiple resort options on the Estate.
- There were several restaurants with various price points
- They have added several outdoor activities such as miles of bike trails
- There are miles of hiking trails now, as well.
ESTIMATED COSTS FOR THE BILTMORE
- ENTRANCE FEE: APPX. $80
- LODGING: STARTING AROUND $300 A NIGHT
- MEALS: APPX. $30-$40 PER PERSON, PER MEAL
2ND STOP: FERNANDINA BEACH, AMELIA ISLAND, FLORIDA
From Asheville, we headed South to Fernandina Beach, Florida; more specifically, we stayed at Amelia Island. I had been here with two of the five boys when they were babies. So, I thought that it would be neat to take them back.
As has been typical with us, we gathered enough money for our trip at the very last minute—and the budget was tight. So, any of the hotels that we could afford were booked up. We ended up having to rent a hotel that was two blocks off of the beach.
SOMETIMES WHAT YOU SEE ON THE WEBSITE IS NOT WHAT YOU GET IN PERSON
The website looked really nice, but when we arrived, it was anything but nice. The hotel was dirty; the rooms were dirty and the couches had big brown stains on them; the front awning was falling down into the parking lot because a drunk guest had driven into it; And, the cops were there when we arrived because two elementary aged children had been abandoned in a room by their mother while she left to “work”. I was not staying there with my family—at all.
I had paid for the hotel at the time that I made the reservation. So, I was in a bit of a pickle. I didn’t have anymore money on my card to swing getting a new hotel, even if they refunded me the current charge (since it can take up to 30 days for your money to go back onto your card.) So, I was nearly in tears at the mess we had found ourselves in. Vacations are so important to me and I put a lot of pressure on myself to make them as perfect as I can within my budget.
I ran next door to a chain hotel and told them my story. They were willing to allow us to stay with them and to charge my card after a few days to allow the other hotel time to get the money back onto my card. So, I was able to work it out to where the other hotel expedited the money transfer and it all worked out, thankfully.
While I was very grateful that the hotel situation worked out, I made myself a promise that week that I would not rent another “off beach” hotel again. Despite the many images that I took of the boys playing at the beach, they really spent very little time there.
Just as I would get everything unloaded and unpacked and get myself comfortable, the boys would be ready to go back to the room. And, I didn’t want to sit down there alone; I wanted to be with my family. The boys preferred sitting around the pool instead of being at the beach. Now granted, it may have had something to do with the fact that the day that we arrived, they had two shark attacks….maybe that was why? Haha.
Seriously, though, the idea beach vacation is to have a hotel or condo or resort right on the beach so that the kids can run from the beach to the pool and to the room all while the mom and dad get to sit in their beach chairs and relax! I will not do another ‘off beach’ trip again of this kind.
So, essentially, all of the fun images that I got were on our first day at the beach. The guys were pretty much over the beach after the first day. It was too inconvenient to Pack up and drive to the beach each day—several times a day. They had their snorkel gear and played in the pool or laid out at the pool the entire trip. Whaddaya gonna do?
VIDEO AT FERNANDINA BEACH
BEING A MOM OF BOYS: DEEP SEA FISHING
I tried to think like a true BoyMom and consider what the guys would find “cool”. So, I booked a four hour deep sea fishing trip for them. This event, single-handedly, saved the entire trip.
I grew up on boats and in the water. And, as a mom to five boys, I have fished my fair share of fishing and pulling worms apart. So, I am game for fishing, too.
When we got to the docks, it was very gray and starting to drizzle. The captain said that we could still go out to fish if we wanted or I could reschedule; however, they were booked up the rest of our stay. So, rebooking was out of the question. He was worried that the storm would be too scary for me. Ha. He didn’t know who he was dealing with, obviously. Stuff like that does NOT scare me.
I am so glad that we went ahead and headed out to sea. This was the highlight of the entire trip. My kids smiled and had fun the entire time. They were on Cloud Nine.
Even when we started catching only small fish, they were still smiling from ear to ear; but, then when we started to catch the big fish, their smiles were enormous. I have never gotten such energetic ‘thank you’s’ as I did over this fishing trip.
VIDEO OF DEEP SEA FISHING
See what I am saying? Check out that precious boys smile. They had a blast.
SECOND VIDEO DEEP SEA FISHING
Even I was able to catch a shark on the trip. And, I did it without the help of the boys…because that is how I roll.
This fishing trip was the icing on the cake!
Our trip to Amelia Island was a nice little get-a-way. Do you have any Amelia Island stories? If so, share int he comments section.
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