Monday Musings | Belated Beach Trip Recap

We went on a family vacation this year.

Our typical criteria for a true vacation usually goes something like this:

  • Will you be staying with relatives?
  • Will you be cooking your own meals?
  • Will you be taking children?

If the answer is “YES” to any of the above, then it’s not a vacation; it’s a family trip (read more on this topic here, in a blog post I wish I would have written myself).

While it technically wasn’t a vacation in the truest spirit of the word, I still don’t hesitate to call it one because above all, vacations are supposed to be awesome. And, well…this was RIGHTEOUS.

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 preset

Even now, looking back on it three months later not only am I continually amazed that we pulled off a round-trip cross country excursion via the Swagger Wagon, but just how perfectly everything fell into place to make it one of our best times spent together as a family to date.


First there was the extended weekend stay in the Hagerstown area:

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 preset

Even though we’ve been through a number of times over the past few years, we as a family unit hadn’t spent a significant amount of time (a.k.a. more than 24 hours) in the city in which I was born and raised since 2011 (before Lola was even born). Even then, we didn’t get out much with three 18 month olds, a pregnant Missy, and the unforgiving winter weather keeping us indoors.

This time around, surprise family gatherings…

Vacation Pics 202

Vacation Pics 203

…Brother’s Pizza…

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 preset

…and a trip through childhood stomping grounds…

Vacation Pics 213

Processed with VSCOcam with k3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with 5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with k2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with k3 preset

…served as the perfect (re)introductions to the hub city.

Beach Bound

However, we were soon back in the family van for another, albeit much shorter, road trip to the beach.

My folks just bought a place in Ocean Pines, MD and we were anxious to properly break it in, plus meet up with the rest of the siblings that haven’t been able to see us in H-Town. The plan: cram six adults, four kids, and four dogs in a 900 SF beach house.

Processed with VSCOcam with k2 preset

As insane as that sounds, it actually…worked! With three bedrooms, an eat-in kitchen, sleeper sofa, and expansive back deck …

Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

…the perfect spot for crab feasts and porch drinking, I might add..

…we were all able to settle in without issue.

Plus my Dad slept in a (well-furnished) tent outside…but something tells me the 50-year Boy Scouts of America vet didn’t mind all that much.

Vacation Pics 33

Ocean Pines is only a ten minute car ride from downtown Ocean City, but it feels other-worldly compared to the hustle and chaos of the strip. It was a great place to return “home” to after a hot, busy day on the beach.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Which is where we spent a majority of our time, anyway!

Processed with VSCOcam with b2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with k2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with b3 preset


Vacation Pics 205

We all love the beach!

Family Pictures

As the week went on, we added four more to our crew. First, Uncle Addie arrived with then-girlfriend/now fiancé  (!!!) Rachel…

Vacation Pics 212

…then Uncle Bob with his girlfriend Rachel!

bob and ray with gals

It was our first time meeting them either of them, and the first time we’ve all been in the same place all at the same time.

They could not have been cooler and more “all-in” meeting our wild and crazy crew.

rachel and girls on beach

Naturally, it was also the perfect opportunity for updated family pictures…

Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

…which, as you know, is our end-of-the-beach family tradition unlike any other.

Fam at the beach

Vacation Pics 211

Especially when things get goofy.

Vacation Pics 36

Vacation Pics 208

Vacation Pics 209

Those socks though.

Yet all-too-soon, we were back in the car again and heading west. We stayed for an extra beach day in Ocean City on Saturday, which put us back in H-Town after midnight. Even so, we were up and out by 6:30 the next morning, anxious to get back on the road.

The girls were super road troopers, toughing out motion sickness and cabin fever for a marathon trip back to Iowa in a single day.

Processed with VSCOcam with k3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset


The only bad part is now that we know we can manage it, we’ll want to do it more often than my paid vacation days allow. I guess that’s a good problem to have 🙂

Most of the time these blog posts serve as a living time capsule for Missy and me. Even though it’s hard to recap such a great vacation via blog post, especially one that happened three months ago…I thank you for indulging me and I hope you still enjoyed the picture barrage!

This entry was posted in All by Tom Hardinge. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tom Hardinge

Loving husband to my wife Missy, loving father to my four daughters Sienna, Rowan, Jovie, and Lola. I'm a chronic over-packer who loves good coffee, good music, running, waffle tee's, fleece pants, and Jesus Christ!

One thought on “Monday Musings | Belated Beach Trip Recap

  1. Pingback: All the Things | living in pursuit

Comment & Discuss

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s