To ease the pain of having to go back to work tomorrow, I will share my vacation over the next week in multiple posts. I still hold firm to the belief, that the best part of vacation is coming home. Aside from the mountain of laundry I had to do today, and all the other "coming home" things.. it really is great to be back. We had a great trip, despite it being the coldest August weather in the history of the state. I blame The Boy. We go camping, it's chilly.. no matter what month it is. We go away on vacation.. it's cold every day but the last. The day we came home, yesterday.. hottest day all summer. It was 98 when we went out to the market yesterday afternoon. Crazy!
This year we vacationed at Belleau Lake. It's a private lake up in East Wakefield, NH. Right in the heart of the lakes region, but without the tourists. We were 40 minutes south of North Conway, 1 hour and 5 minutes away from Kittery, Maine (yes, we visited both of those places, more on that later in the week) and 3 hours away from home. We rented a house right across the access road from the lake. If you are willing to trade "Waterfront" for "Water Access and Beach Rights" (which we were this year) you can find some great places to stay! My only stipulation was that I had to be able to see the water. I didn't want "near the water" or "close to the water". I wanted to see the lake. Somehow I got very lucky and we stayed at a great place. The lake is only accessible to home owners and their guests. No public access from any side. It's only been around since 1963, so it's clean, and quiet, and peaceful.
Our trade off this year was:
* $400-$600 less than just about every other place I looked at (I refused to pay more than my mortgage for a weekly rental).
* Privacy. Our house was big... 3 bedrooms on 1 acre of land.
We didn't have the crowded-ness of the lake front houses, nor the "peeping neighbors" that can see everyone's business around the lake area they are in.
* Quiet. Due to the above, it was quiet. The boats weren't racing by in front of us.. they were across the way. Although the lake was pretty quiet during the week.
* 7 beaches, 3 within walking distance... 1 was an island with a boat launch and a sandy beach and picnic tables in the shade for my Boy who hates the sun. This is where we played all week. We even took the dog with us a few times.
* A pool table. A 4 person inflatable boat (not one of those cheesy ones.. a Mariner). A ping pong table. A fire pit. A hot tub. (oh, yes I did) A giant wrap around deck that you could sit on and look at the lake forever. Heaven.
* We could bring our dog. I haven't decided if this is a perk yet or not... but there you go. We ran a large gate across the stairway to the deck (It was a large stairway) and she could come in and out of the house as she pleased. She played in the lake, and had a good time. The first few days were rough and I thought perhaps we should have left her at home. She's happy to be back.
For a long time after our trip was planned, I thought we might be crazy. Who goes away on vacation the week before school starts? It turns out that we weren't crazy at all. It was nice to spend what is normally a crazy, stressful week full of bickering and short fuses.. enjoying each other and having adventures. However, I think that next year we'll plan for a different week. My sister in law is getting married next September so we'll have that to deal with too. Who knows. Maybe the weather will be warmer!