Chris and I had hoped that at some point during our maternity/paternity leave that we would be able to take our first family trip. We always have a vacation on the horizon, travel is a huge part of our lives together. We were anxious to get Harper on a plane but ultimately decided a road trip would be a great use of our time off. We thought, so this is going well – let’s see how 32 hours in a car will go with a newborn – ha! Thankfully, she was an angel! We could hit a bunch of cities we love and spent time in one of our favorite places on earth.
Chris and his dad have always had a love for Disney World. Growing up he and his parents would go all the time. After his mom passed it’s been somewhere that we go with his dad to really enjoy our time together. I don’t like roller coasters, or trill rides in general but there is seriously SO much you can do in Disney as an adult. We are total foodies and in my next post I’ll be talking about our favorite spots to eat/drink and to hide out when it’s way too hot to be walking the parks (as it totally is with a two month old in July).
We booked our trip after I had started feeling better, around five weeks postpartum and looked so forward to it coming up at the end of July. A month ago today on the 21st we packed up our Jeep and drove south on I95 headed for Orlando.
Day one was a doozy. We knew at the start that it would be a 7 hour drive to our midway point where we’d be spending the night in Raleigh. Harper handled the day like a champ. Stopping every few hours to either have a bottle or change a diaper. Thankfully she loves the car and I spent a lot of time sitting in the backseat with her to keep her company. Feedings at that time took around 45 minutes so it took a good 12 hours to get to our hotel that night. Needless to say it was pizza in bed for dinner that night.
Our second day went similarly. Raleigh to Jacksonville took around 9 hours. We spent that night having pizza and wine in the hotel also. We stayed at Courtyard Marriotts almost exclusively and they were an amazing choice. There’s always a Starbucks, a bar to grab wine to have in the room. They’re everywhere and we know that they would always be in a safe location. For the reasonable price and the amount we’d be stopping it was the perfect hotel to stay at.
Day three we drove the two and a half hours from Jacksonville to Orlando and our vacation finally started. We met Chris’s dad and had dinner and enjoyed Disney Springs. Our eight days in Disney were nothing short of magical.
We knew on the way home we’d take our time and try to enjoy some of our favorite cities on the East Coast. Our first stop was back to Jacksonville, just as somewhere to rest before we continued on.
Savannah was our favorite stay of the trip. Two nights we spent on the Savannah River at the Hyatt Regency. We ate at one of our favorite restaurants of all time, Vic’s on the Water. If/when you go to Savannah it is a MUST. And do yourself a favorite and order the fried green tomatoes!
Charleston was next on our journey back north. We had spent some time in the beautiful town last summer and were anxious to get back. Our favorite spot was Fleet Landing where we had lunch during this trip. Make sure to order their blackberry cheesecake if you’re ever there! You won’t regret it!
We had originally wanted to make only one more stop after Charleston on our way home but decided as we drove we’d take two days and check out another city or two. We spent a night back in Raleigh and then Old Town Alexandria, which was another one of our favorite cities. Set on the Potomac River, the town is buzzing with amazing restaurants, local brews, and lots of boutiques. We had an amazing dinner at Hank’s Pasta Bar, which was incredible. It was right across the street from our hotel, so it was an easy walk with Harper – especially when her witching hour started halfway through dinner. Highly recommend!
We ended our trip with a stop in Delaware to see my brother at sleep away camp on his 14th birthday, which also happened to be visiting day! It was a nice way to end our vacation, to spend time with family.
10 Essentials for Traveling with a baby:
- Ready to Feed Bottles (if formula feeding) – By far the best way to travel. Make sure to bring a lunch box and ice pack to save the ounces that weren’t used right away. Since there pricy, this way you can heat it up later and make multiple bottles out of one.
- Bottle Soap and Brush – We use Baby Ganic’s bottle soap and Dr. Brown’s Bottle Brush. Both were perfect for cleaning in hotel sinks on the daily.
- Pacifier Wipes – 100% necessary if your baby takes a paci.
- Wubanub – Not only are they adorable but they’re so handy! Harper absolutely loves her Wubanub, she holds it and falls right to sleep. It was great when we were in the car because it falls out of her mouth a lot less than a regular pacifier.
- Boppy Pillow – We took this into every hotel room we stayed at. An easy way to put baby on the bed while we got ready or hung out without worrying.
- Rock and Play – This has truly been a life savor sine Harper’s been born. It is the only way she sleeps through the night. After her last bottle every night we put her in and have it rock until she’s sound and she sleeps until the next morning. It folds up and is super easy to travel with also.
- Bug Net – A must for traveling during the summer. Spending al to of time by water it saved our girl from getting bit!
- Baby-In-Sight Mirror – For the times I was in the front seat it was so handy to be able to see her little face as we drove.
- Apple TV – This is more for mom and dad. We took this into every hotel we stayed at and we were able to view Netflix and movies we have bought when Harper fell asleep.
- Fawn Design Bag – This is our favorite diaper bag we’ve used so far. It’s not only huge, but can be carried either on your shoulder or used as a backpack. It’s leather and super sleek so it looks nice and isn’t overly feminine so Chris doesn’t mind carrying it either.
Check back for my next post on my recommendations for Disney!