We recently did the unthinkable- we took a week long road trip with a baby. Our parents' told us we were crazy. Our friends advised us against it. We doubted ourselves once or twice. But minus a few minor meltdowns (Easton, not us of course), it was actually an incredible trip.
Easton has done a few short weekend trips to Orlando and Palm Beach but until this recent trip the most time he had spent in the car straight was less than 3 hours. We planned ahead, did our research and packed an excessive amount of toys and snacks and we all survived. Turns out the only way to get him to nap for longer than an hour is to drive him on windy, mountain roads.
Our main purpose for the trip was to meet up with my parents at my aunt and uncle's lake house in Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia for a few days of relaxation. My parents were driving my brother cross country in a U-Haul (who's crazy?) and would be ending up there on Sunday night. We weren't comfortable driving straight through from Florida to Virginia so we decided to break it up by stopping in Hilton Head for the night on the way up.
We left home around 10:30 am on a Saturday and stopped for lunch at a Moe's in Palm Coast, FL. If you are driving from South Florida north on I-95 the Palm Coast exit is a great place to stop for lunch. They had quite a few restaurants right off the high way and they were all pretty new and clean. Even before a baby we are the kind of people who plan out our possible meal stops beforehand because we hate getting stuck and having to eat at a McDonalds (no offense).
We try to eat at local places when possible but sometimes we stop at chains for the sake of convenience or due to lack of "cool" places close to the highway. We usually use Google Maps or Trip Advisor's "Near Me Now" feature to see what is right off the highway and have found quite a few fun places that way. We also love using TV Food Maps to plan meal stops in advance too.
For reasons I can't disclose to protect his dignity, Easton needed two separate outfit changes between Palm Coast, FL and Hilton Head, SC. This meant we had to make some unscheduled stops at places like Peaches World in Georgia. Yes, it's a place and it even has an official check in on social media. Don't worry, you aren't missing anything.
After a little traffic we got to Hilton Head around 5pm. My dad's best friend from college and his wife have a house there and they were kind enough to let us stay with them. It was great to have a place where Easton could crawl around and play after a day in the car. We we able to take a long walk on the beach, eat a delicious homemade meal and be on the road to Smith Mountain Lake by 8:30 the next morning.
We made amazing time thanks to a very long car nap and were able to make our planned lunch stop of Tupelo Honey Cafe in Charlotte. It was only about 5 minutes off the highway and well worth the detour. I was able to make an online reservation on my phone when we were about an hour away so we only had to wait a few minutes for our table. It's a small chain and we had visited their Asheville location on another trip so we knew it was good. Justin got the Fried Green Tomatoes and Tupelo Honey Signature Salad and I had the Havarti & Pimento Grilled Cheese. I'm so bummed we didn't take any pictures because it was all unbelievable.
We got back on the road and made it Smith Mountain Lake around 5pm that night. If you have never been to Smith Mountain Lake, Virgina, you need to go. Both Justin and I didn't know much about it but the area is gorgeous. My aunt and uncle have a beautiful Lake House and were the hosts with the most as we spent our days kayaking, jet skiing, having my uncle give us tours of the lake on the boat and enjoying my aunt's gourmet cooking.
-The Asheville leg of our trip
- A review of The Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate
- Road trip with a baby- tips, tricks and must haves