My parents were generous enough to watch Dakota while we were out of town. My parents also have a pom, Rufio (or Uncle Rufio, Captain Pufflepants, The Pants, Fluffles and other very masculine nicknames). Dakota loves Uncle Rufio… unfortunately the feeling is not so mutual. So while Rufio was less than thrilled about the house guest, Dakota was able to enjoy a little vacation of her own while her mommies were away.
After dropping Dakota and her luggage (she’s not a light packer) off, Melissa and I stopped to get some bagels, and then we were on our way!
Our first destination was Springfield, Massachusettes, which is about a 5 hour drive. To keep things interesting, we decided to take pictures each hour we were in the car.
Luckily we hit absolutely no traffic except maybe 20 minutes going through New York.
With the addition of two half hour stops for lunch and coffee, we made the entire trip in 6 hours, arriving around 4:30pm in Springfield. We were thrilled with the time we made, and so thankful we didn’t hit any holiday traffic.
We stayed in Springfield, Massachusettes from Saturday through Monday morning at Melissa’s aunt and uncle’s house. We spent most of Sunday walking around and window shopping in Northampton. Northampton is a very LGBT friendly place, and I loved that they had a rainbow pride crosswalk.
Later that night Melissa and I took a walk around her aunt and uncle’s neighborhood, including a lovely park that was about 2 minutes from the house.
There was a beautiful lake in the park, with ducks and geese. The entire park was just stunning, and we had such a nice, relaxing evening walking around and enjoying nature.
Monday morning, we packed up our stuff and headed out for the quick 2 hour drive over to Cape Cod. On the way there, we decided it was time for a caffeine break. Apparently things are all about Dunkin Donuts up there, so we did as the New Englanders do and, gave Dunkin Donuts a shot. But boy let me tell you, it was sweet. Way to sweet for me… and I like my coffee sweet.
It was my first time up to Cape Code, so it was really exciting getting to experience and explore everything it had to offer up there. While we were there, Melissa and I stayed with her aunt and uncle in one of their guest houses. They were so generous letting us come stay with them, and I am so thankful we got to enjoy this beautiful place for our vacation.
Cape Cod was absolutely stunning. There were just so many beaches! And I don’t know if we were just lucky, or if there were so many beaches that people could really spread out, but there was never more than maybe 10 other groups of people on the beach with us at any time.
Above was the view from one of Melissa’s aunt and uncle’s houses, nicknamed ‘The Loveshack’. It stood on top of a huge vertical dune, so the view from the balcony was just breathtaking. The picture does absolutely no justice to how high up we were, or how beautiful the view was.
Here is the view from our guest house. The guest house and the main house were tucked back from the road in a beautiful wooded area, so we were surrounded by wildlife. We were in Truro, and I loved that the houses weren’t packed in as-close-as-possible like many other resort destinations. It really felt like we were in our own private paradise, completely separate from the world.
One of the many beautiful sunsets we enjoyed while in Cape Cod.
One of the many beautiful beaches we enjoyed while in Cape Cod. It was crazy how much each of the beaches varied. Some were rocky, some had sand as smooth as silk. Some had freezing water, and some were the perfect temperature to walk right in.
We definitely took full advantage of the beaches while we were up there. We even saw a bunch of seals one day! I had no idea exactly how huge these animals were, and it was just so cool seeing them bob their head up, then dive back underwater.
We also went to Provincetown quite frequently throughout the week. Let me tell you, there is no place like P-town. It was amazing. There were people everywhere, walking up and down the streets, going in and out of the many shops that lined the road, walking out to the pier. It had such great energy.
And an added bonus, one of the gayest places in the world. I swear, it seemed as if Melissa and I were part of the majority rather than the minority up there. There were queens all over the place , gay men handing out gay fliers to gay shows, Pride flags everywhere you looked, gay and lesbian couples everywhere… it was so cool. Maryland is a very accepting state, but I still had never seen anything like this place outside of Pride weekend.
Ok dialing back the gay pride now. Provincetown also had a ton of other cool features, like a freaking boat in their library. Yea I’ll say that again. There was a boat. In their library. Like a huge, actually used to sail on water, sailboat. Probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.
And since Melissa loves sailing and boats, we also walked out to the pier to check in this really cool boat. I couldn’t tell you as much about it as she could, but I know it was pretty neat looking.
While we were up in Cape Cod, we also toured the Truro Vineyard and enjoyed a wine tasting. Lots of fun, lots of wine. We even bought an awesome lighthouse-shaped bottle of wine to bring home with us.
It was really cool walking around this little vineyard and learning about their process for making all their different wines.
What is a good vacation without some pictures of the food you enjoyed? Lobster is huge up there, and so, so delicious, so we ate our fair share a ton of lobster. I even tried my first (and then second) lobster roll! It was delicious, but I have to say I preferred the hot lobster roll with butter (not pictured) over the cold lobster-salad version (below). But I would definitely eat either again in a heart beat!
I also got to indulge and drink a morning coffee each morning. It’s probably out of laziness, but before this trip I never really drank coffee at home, I’d only buy it when I was out and about. I may have brought this morning coffee habit back home tho, because I’ve been enjoying a cup each day since we got home!
We spent a fun evening with Melissa’s aunt and ate lobsters one night. This was the second time I’ve eaten lobster, and it was as good as I remembered! What’s not to love about a food that you just straight dip in butter??
The next night we had a huge feast with Melissa’s aunt and uncle. We ended up making enough food to feed a small army, and it was all delicious!! We ended up eating, drinking and hanging out for hours that night.
Throughout the time we were there, Melissa and I had an ongoing Scrabble game. Although we both thought for sure that Melissa had it in the bag (especially after a 32 point ‘Qi’ was played), I ended up winning. It was really fun to unwind each night after a long, hard day of vacationing by playing a nice game of Scrabble. We even decided we wanted to get a nice Scrabble board for the apartment. Because apparently we’re 80.
We left Cape Cod Friday evening to start making our way back down to Maryland. We had a few places we wanted to hit on the way home, so we gave ourselves a couple of days to slowly get back home.
Our first stop was Newport, Rhode Island for one reason. The Newport mansions. I am a huge, huge fan of historic mansions, and so I couldn’t live with myself driving by RI and not touring The Breakers.
For those of you who don’t know, The Breakers was the Vanderbilt’s summer home. Yea, not even their real house, this was their modest, used 2 months a year, summer home. This thing is huge. And beautiful. And has walls of platinum. Walls. Of. Platinum.
We spent about two hours touring the entire thing. Unfortunately you weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but we got more than enough pictures of the exterior.
Above is the side of the mansion.
Above is Melissa and I at the back entrance. This is the side of the house you can access from the road. The front actually faces out into the bay, and the home was given it’s name because of the waves breaking over the shore that surrounds their front lawn.
And here is me being all “Welcome to my home, dah-ling”. But for real, I would pretty much die to live here. Touring this house has been on my life’s to-do list forever, and I was so happy to cross that off my bucket list. I can now die a happy, happy girl.
After leaving Newport Saturday night, we drove down to New Jersey, where a bunch of the rest of Melissa’s extended family lives. We arrived around 10pm, so pretty much went straight to bed, but we were able to spend all of Sunday hanging out with her family.
We even made it to the beach one last time, although it was pretty windy and chilly, so we weren’t able to get in the water. It was still nice hanging out on the sand with her aunts, eating seriously the best subs I’ve ever tasted (apparently its the water that goes in the bread??) and catching up.
Before we left New Jersey that night, we apparently had to stop at an Italian Ice place called Lighthouse. Every time we went to Rita’s over the past year, Melissa has brought up Lighthouse and how it’s so much better, and we really need to go there. So we did. And it was good. Highly recommend.
After eating dinner in New Jersey, we made our final trip home. Somehow we went this entire trip without hitting any sort of traffic. We did get blasted with a huge downpour of rain about 20 minutes from home, followed by an emergency trip to a Dunkin Donuts for their facilities. But other than that it was smooth sailing.
We stopped by my parents to pickup the munchkin, then headed home and passed out. The next morning, all three of us had a pretty severe vacation hangover, and took the day to relax and recover. Vacationing is hard work!
So there you go. Our family vacation of summer 2014 up and down the east coast. I still can’t believe how many places we visited in 9 days time. I’m so thankful to Melissa’s family for making this vacation possible, and I can’t wait to hopefully visit each of these places again in the future!
Have you taken a summer vacation yet? Where did you go? Or if you don’t have vacation plans set, where is the one place you’ve always dreamed of traveling to? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!