I found a state park not far from Chattanooga and we rented a cabin there over the weekend. We got to the cabin Thursday afternoon (my husband was on call Wednesday night, so he did not get home till the morning). I was told that the cabin has two bedrooms, a kitchen and a living/dining room, but I was not expected to find out how nice and spacious it is. I looked at a full-sized kitchen, with a self-clean oven and microwave and large fridge and joked that our NY apartments were smaller than this. There was a screened porch with rocking chairs, a wood-burning fireplace, a fire ring and two grills outside. Moreover, there were woods everywhere. A perfect location to spend a couple of days.
|Learning to strike a match|
|long steps down into the canyon|
|gathering wood for the end of Shabbos|
Overall, it was a good outing. Afterwards I remarked to my husband how different it is now, going to a new place with two kids who can read all the signs on their own. I do not have to interest them, they look and read about whichever animal they choose. I could unschool like that!
We had lunch outside and then headed back to the cabin to get ready for Shabbos. I brought hot water urn and blech with us. For dinner we had Chinese take-out, with leftover hot dogs and roasted veggies. We played a few games of Connect Four, dominoes and Rummikub. One of the kids accidentally turned the light on in the bedroom, but they still managed to fall asleep and stay asleep.
On Shabbos morning everyone davened, then we had our first meal (brunch) and headed out for a walk. There was no eruv, and no city, so we had a limitation of not being able to carry anything with us and not walking too far. Nevertheless, we blazed a trail to connect to a marked trail on the other edge of the canyon. It was early, it was cold and quiet. The views were breathtaking. We walked for about half a mile, which took us down into the canyon. 2 yo managed all of this on foot.
Then we got back. For seudat shlishit (at 2) we had cold cuts, potatoes, veggies and leftover Chinese. Then 8 yo and my husband played a long game of Monopoly. It lasted till the end of Shabbos. 8 yo won. I managed to finish two books: Packing for Mars and Baby Catcher. According to 8 yo, I was interrupting the Monopoly game to read interesting excerpts. 6 yo read some, played with 2 yo and played with his stuffed toys. We went over the parsha.
When Shabbos was over, another fire was started in the fireplace and the kids had a melave malka of hummus and salami sandwiches. The whole scene was so idyllic: everyone sitting around the fireplace, rocking and snacking. The feeling was so relaxing.
|one last fire|
The best part of this whole vacation was its remoteness. We were on our own, being able to do our thing, not running on anyone's schedule, not being connected and tuned it to anyone. We were unplugged (except for a few pages my husband got. 8 yo remarked: "We only have one car, so daddy cannot go anywhere!'). There was a TV in the cabin and 8 yo asked to watch it, once. I demurred. The rest of the time we just, well, were. There was all this time: to sit around, to build a fire, to gaze into the fire, to read, to play, to think. There was no rushing.
|warming up with hot chocolate|