If you follow along on Instagram, you probably realized that the blog was quiet last week because I was on vacation. It felt strange to ignore this space for such a long time, but I decided that some time away from the blog would do me good. Also, I didn’t want to be sitting at the computer when I could be lounging in the pool!
This was our second annual family vacation to Hilton Head Island. Taking a yearly trip with my parents and my sister and her family is a relatively new tradition that started four years ago. We’ve been to New Orleans and South Beach, but we had so much fun renting a house last year in Hilton Head that we decided to do it again 365 days later.
Once again we stayed in Sea Pines, renting a gorgeous four-bedroom home that was a short 5-minute walk to the beach (once we realized we could cut through our neighbor’s yard). Levi and my 15-month-old nephew, Max, both loved digging in the sand at the beach and then splashing in our house’s perfectly-sized and perfectly-heated pool. We thought they might be old enough to share a room, but Max ended up in a small den off the kitchen, as he kept having a hard time staying asleep during his naps.
The benefit to returning to the same vacation spot year after year, I’m learning, is that it’s easier to relax when you don’t have to play tourist. You look forward to revisiting favorite restaurants and participating in familiar activities. For example, we knew we wanted to have dinner one night at Pomodori and get dessert as often as possible (no shame!) at Hilton Head Ice Cream. Each day we’d burn off the previous night’s ice cream calories by riding up and down Sea Pines on bikes rented from from Bicycle Billy’s.
That’s not to say that didn’t make any new discoveries on this trip! Carrie from Dream Green DIY was in Hilton Head the week before and suggested we visit Lawton Stables. Levi loved the small animal farm (hint: bring your own bowl or cup if you plan on feeding the animals) and enjoyed most of his second-ever pony ride.
Another new-to-us activity was having a picnic lunch after playing at the Harbor Town playground. We packed up a cooler with sandwiches and chips that my mom drove over with Asa so we could ride our bicycles, and we bought some cold Cheerwine from a convenience store to wash it all down.
On one bicycle ride, we stopped at Sea Pines Center to find a bathroom for Levi, who, mistakenly, left the house wearing big boy underwear. (We’re not 100% committed to potty training yet.) JB took him to the toilet, and while we were waiting, my mom and I wandered into Lowcountry Produce Market and Cafe. We were instantly charmed by the store’s decor and then by its wide array of handmade, gourmet, and artisan goods.
Before we hopped back on our bikes, we ordered iced coffees to go. They were so delicious that we returned to Lowcountry two more times during the week just for iced coffee. Sadly, the barista wasn’t there on our third visit, so the coffees on that occasion weren’t as tasty.
We had breakfast at Lowcountry Produce Market and Cafe on our last morning. I have to give Southern Coney credit for having better pancakes, but Lowcountry’s breakfast menu was excellent. Their sausage was some of the best ever, according to JB, and their freshly-made glazed yeast doughnuts were unbelievable — slightly crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. If we don’t make it for lunch or dinner, you can bet we’ll be back next year for an iced coffee and doughnut treat!
Our week in Hilton Head was as relaxing as it could be with six adults and three kids under three under one roof, but our journey back to Omaha was exhausting, to say the least. I’m thankful we had two days left of a three-day weekend to recover from our 11-hour day of travel on Saturday. I’m still playing catch up on email and blog comments from earlier this month, so if you’re waiting to hear from me, it’s coming!
We’ll hopefully return to Hilton Head Island again next year, but I’d love to know where you love to go on vacation with your family!
PS – Check out Instagram for more photos from our trip!
(all photos are mine, taken at Lowcountry Produce Market and Cafe in Sea Pines Center)
Going on vacation and not playing tourist sounds divine! I think it’s so wonderful that you’re able to do these trips with your family, and that Levi and Asa get to spend time with their cousin while you’re at it. My MIL is going to be delighted to hear that you’ve completely sold me on Hilton Head 🙂
We are taking our fourth annual family trip to South Haven, Michigan in July. After moving to the midwest from the east coast fifteen years ago, getting married, and becoming landlocked, (ahem), I longed for the waves of the Jersey Shore where I’d spent weeks every summer with my family growing up. I longed for that sameness, the familiarity of a routine in a home away from home. I told my husband we needed to find a vacation spot of our own and we did. When you find a place that fits, you just want to keep going back. Lake Michigan is not the Atlantic Ocean, but the quaint shore town of South Haven comes close enough to the Seaside or Lavallette of my youth. We are now making our own family memories with my little boys in Michigan, or as my three-year-old calls it “The Mission”!