Zoe is 6 years old and not once in her life have we a) taken a road trip over 2 hours or b) taken off work for Spring Break, while school is closed, to have a family trip. Well, until NOW!
The truth is, I work a lot, and I love my job. For the almost 18 years I’ve been at Aquent (and if I’m honest, for my whole life in any job I’ve ever had), I STINK at taking vacation. When I look back one day and assess my life, I am sure I’ll regret that – and I’ll be incredibly thankful for my husband, who believes in balance and drags me on vacations.
Take heed, girls: Do NOT take advantage of your workplace but DO find balance and take a reasonable amount of vacation. Time never goes backwards.
What a rant just to tell you, “We had a GREAT first Family Spring Break Vacation!”
Our road trip took us to Pismo Beach on the Central Coast of California, about 2 and a half hours north of our home. We stopped first at Old West Cinnamon Rolls for a famous cinnamon roll, then wandered around the small downtown. We checked in to our hotel, one my dear husband found with a heated pool. When the room wasn’t ready, we spent 2 hours in that pool, playing. Our kids love the water, and I’m so thankful!
For dinner, we chose Zorro’s Cantina, since Zoe and Ella can eat mexican food for days (and Ella is almost obsessed with black beans). But the best part? Dessert:
Yes, those are churros over vanilla ice cream with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and a strawberry made into a rose dipped in chocolate sauce on top. And yes, that’s a piece of chocolate cake, too. And that was just our first day of vacation…
The next day we headed inland to Paso Robles, known for its 200 (that’s not a typo) wineries. Just north of San Luis Obispo (also referred to as SLO, which fits for both cities, if you ask me), Paso has a lovely downtown square, surrounded by lots of cool local shops and restaurants, and my dear husband booked us a cute little Airbnb right off the square.
But first, on the way to Paso, we stopped at Avila Valley Barn, a farmer’s market / feed the animals / homemade ice cream spot filled with kids holding out small carrots and lettuce leaves for hungry goats. Followed by my children, chasing a chicken:
Up next, we stopped at the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero, one of the coolest zoos I’ve ever seen. It was tiny, but filled with an incredible range of eclectic animals, from a prehensile tailed porcupine to a white eared titi monkey to an aldabra tortoise (you can’t make these things up). And off to the side, they had a “bunny house” and a homemade backdrop with photobooth props to celebrate Easter:
We arrived in Paso in the afternoon and hit City Playground, a NEW one constructed in a park that filled the downtown square. After lunch we were headed back for a nap (our children still nap for 2 hours on weekends!) when Zoe said, “Mom… When are we going to do something FUN, for KIDS.” O.M.G. To which I responded, “Zoe, did you see a lot of BIG PEOPLE hanging out alone at the Barn or the Zoo or the Playground? I’m pretty sure we just did a lot of things that were FUN for KIDS.”
She agreed, but still wanted to know what was next…
All I can guess is that school is a nonstop fun zone – OR that it’s better for kids to do nothing but homework for every second they are not in school so that if they DO get a vacation, they know how FUN it is. Regardless, we really did have a great time. From the simple things like stopping by a tiny house in the square or popping heads through one of those face cutout standees:
To watching the Boss Baby movie at the movie theater on the square, to finding another park (Uptown Family Park) nearby that was also new and mostly deserted:
To finding an amazing Children’s Museum in a volunteer fire station, just off the square:
Needless to say, we had a great time.
Oh, and I didn’t even mention how fabulous the road trip part was! As much as I hate our minivan (sorry, I do), it is absolutely perfect for road trips, and the girls were great! We counted blue cars on the way up and checked out the changing scenery, including some lovely views of the ocean. First family trip was a wild success!
Up next? We’ve booked a trip to Italy in June… 10 hours on a plane JUST to get to London, with no cars in sight. Wish us luck?