It's been quite a week. We have made the trek all the way from Louisiana and West Virginia with an almost 17 month old. I can't believe we made it and with no melt downs. We took the scenic Blue ridge Parkway, the WHOLE thing. It is stunning. I seriously can't recommend it enough. It takes a LOONG time so make time for it! We drove from 9am-6 or 7pm for almost 3 days and it was still not enough time! I wish we could have made at least 3 other stops and hiked quite a bit more! We stopped along the way and stayed over in in Asheville, NC, Roanoke, VA. (Before the parkway we stopped over in Chattanooga, TN where we took the incline railway the morning we started on the parkway, which was REALLY neat!!!) Yes, that's a lot of car time for anyone, especially a little one. The parkway itself is only 469 miles long. It has lots of turns, tunnels, overlooks, and hiking. OMG the hiking is awesome! It's amazing what you can do with a little one, seriously!! We put her in my babyhawk mei tai and went on at least 4 1hr-1hr 30 min. hikes. She loved it. I can't believe it but she actually fell asleep on one of the trails!!! We also saw some cool wildlife while driving. In one day, the second day, we saw 3 wild turkeys, a BIG snake (while driving thank God) 6 single deer, 3 deer together, and 3 skunks (2 we saw, 1 we smelled!) Oh and a wolf! I totally freaked out when Carlo pointed out the first wild turkey we saw. I even made him back up and we took pictures of him. I made Sure Audrey saw him and got a good "gobble gobble" out of her.
We brought our own food and drinks because remember we are gluten and dairy free, plus it's way more fun to stop and picnic. We brought our AWESOME picnic basket that has plastic plates, silverware, cups, and napkins and stopped at overlooks that allowed space for Audrey to run and stretch her legs. For those gluten and dairy free friends out there who are wondering what we packed well here's the run down: Udi's bread, nitrite free deli meats, (turkey, ham, roast beef) fresh peanut butter, jelly, and Tofutti cream cheese. For snacks, we packed GF graham crackers, Just Strawberries, Just Cherries, Puffed Corn, Veggie Chips, Plentils (Lentil Chips) GF doughnuts that I baked the day we left, mixed nuts, fresh fruit (strawberries, apples, bananas, blueberries, grapes) and a few small bars of chocolate, for me of course. We made sure the cities we stopped in, Chattanooga and Asheville, had a Whole Foods so we could re-stock our food and grab a healthy and hot dinner that we could actually eat!! That was ALL Carlo's idea, I know... my husband IS a genius! :-)
As for Audrey, she was great in the car, SERIOUSLY!! Naps were interesting because I had to block out all stimulation by putting a blanket over her carseat. I have a picture below. It worked wonderfully, of course, I had to nurse her to sleep, but it's not like I haven't done that a million times before. For entertainment I checked out books at the library. This sounded like an awesome idea for the book loving miss Audrey, but she is only a fan of one book, Turkey Trouble. GO FIGURE! Carlo and I have read it probably 30 times. Of course, we sing songs "Itsy Bitsy Spider" "ABC's" (In French and English) a French song Carlo's mon mon and I sing to Audrey (it's a horsey ride song) "Little Bunny Foo Foo" "5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" and honestly any other interactive songs I can think of! Adele is always a winner as long as she has her "Hollywood" sunglasses on and I am singing. I act out the songs in dramatic fashions and she LOVES that. I feel like I have the BEST traveling baby EVER. I mean come on. 8hrs to Chattanooga one day, 7hrs to Ashville the next day, 7hrs to Roanoke the following day and I can't forget the 2.5 hrs. from Lafayette to Slidell at the beginning of the trip and the 2 hrs. from Roanoke to White Sulphur Springs, WV. Once we got to each hotel she went NUTS climbing on anything and everything! We just let her go wild and sat back and laughed at it. She loved the "wagons" AKA the carts to load up your clothes and luggage and enjoyed "helping" papa out. She also loved taking EVERY tissue out of the boxes that are by the sinks in every hotel.
Did I mention we are at the Greenbriar Resort?? It's for a conference for Carlo. It's in the middle of nowheresville West Virginia in a tiny town. Then BAM there's a HUGE white hotel!! no joke...Anyway, the rooms are really nice. The closet is MASSIVE. It's a walk-in with 2 racks to hang clothes, 2 shelves, a place for shoes, and a lot of hooks to hang things on. I have yet to take pictures of the room but those are coming. The wallpaper is a story in itself. Dorothy Draper decorated this hotel in the 1950's, I think that right, and it's still in that era. It looks great though. Florals with pops of bright colors, very fun and inviting. Tomorrow is our first day here. I am looking forward to checking out this place; I am certain I will get lost.
|the incline railway|
|cheesy smile with papa ready for the STEEP climb up|
|on the way up.|
|at the top|
|We walked around and checked out some of the amazing houses|
|Audrey was checking out the observation deck|
|haven't had one of these photos in a while|
|yeah we are THOSE people that stop and took THIS picture at the start of the Blue Ridge|
|she had a blast doing this.|
|running down the hill with papa at lunch time|
|Audrey was pointing the the motorcycles.|
|papa with Audrey for our first hike|
|I took her for counter balance on the way down that first hike|
|looking glass rock|