We're back! We spent an incredible month on the Gulf of Mexico in warm, sunny Florida. A little business and a little family time to enjoy the simple pleasures & recharge our batteries after a busy landscaping season. Last year we boarded our fur babies while we traveled. They were fine, but us? Not so much. We missed our little rascals terribly. So, this year we decided to take our "fuzzy kids" along for a true family vacation.
Tucker & Roxie
Tucker & Roxie were all for it! But, I'll admit, I was a nervous mama traveling so far with my babies. They love a car ride but their longest trek is to Grandma & Grandpa Pillywiggins' farm about 3 hours away. I was worried how they'd handle a 1,400 mile car ride but my biggest concern was introducing them to their very first hotel stay. As usual, it was a waste of nervous energy! Tucker & Roxie proved themselves to be first class travel companions.
There was a skiff of snow on the ground when we left home November 19th but we left that snow behind in Michigan. We traveled south down I-75 with our only detour being the US-23 split at Flint to avoid Detroit. We made good time & laid down a lot of miles on our first day.
One difference Jason & I have when traveling is our choice of pitstops. I'm a gas station girl. Top off the tank, drop some water & refill my coffee cup. I'm picky about my gas stations too and it all revolves around their coffee. Jason, a one cup in the morning kind of guy, prefers rest areas. Of course, this trip required many stops at rest areas to walk the fuzzy kids. I have to say I was surprised & impressed by most of the rest stop dog walking areas. A nice little nature walk to stretch our legs with nothing on our shoes! Quite enjoyable. Just watch out for the fire ant mounds in the southern states.
We stopped for the night at Marriott's Fairfield Inn & Suites in Berea, KY. We had stopped at another Marriott just outside of Lexington but there was no room at the inn due to a college game. But, the gentleman at the front desk was so nice & helpful. He called ahead for us to the next available Marriott about 7 minutes down the road. Our room was waiting for us when we arrived. It was perfect, clean & comfortable.
We stayed at the LaQuinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham in Cleveland, TN on our way home. Another great choice when traveling with pets! (They serve an excellent hot breakfast too.) Tucker & Roxie took their first elevator ride at LaQuinta. It didn't seem to phase them a bit!
We originally planned to spend 2 nights on the road but we were making really good time. We were informed our VRBO rental was ready for us and they offered to let us check in any time on Sunday. Jason was surprised when I chose to push through northern Florida. We made it to our rental home just after midnight early Sunday morning. Jason thinks I'm a "Road Warrior" now. But honestly, I just wanted to reach my home away from home in Florida!
The Lemon House
We chose a pet-friendly rental home called The Lemon House through VRBO located in a quiet neighborhood between Englewood & Venice. Wow! This home is awesome, huge, beautiful and just a short 1/2 mile walk to Manasota Beach on the north end of Manasota Key. Believe me when I tell you, the photos on VRBO do not do this home justice! We spent most of our time at home enjoying the screened-in, wrap-around deck. Perched in the tree canopy overlooking the pool, it was the perfect spot for us all to hang out - morning, noon & night!
The pool was pretty awesome too!
We tried to get Tucker to swim. Nope, he wasn't having it.
But Roxie is always game for anything!
Traveling with "the kids" does require some adjustments to the itinerary and a lot of extra planning & packing. But it was so worth it! We were able to find plenty of activities to keep us all busy, interested & happy for the entirety of our stay.
We have plenty of pictures, info & fun to share in upcoming blog posts.
Our month was full of flowers, fossils, nature, nurseries & parks.
Farmer's markets, art shows, car shows.
Interesting people and places.