Summer vacation for nine

We started this summer something that we hope will become a tradition -- vacationing with two special families.  The women in the group all went to law school together and the guys, well, they survived the three of us going to law school together, which actually might have been the harder part.

More recently, within 11 months of each other, we all had baby boys.  The group included Bonnie and Joe and their son, Oliver, who live in Washington D.C; and Darcy, Ryan and Arlo, who live in Seattle near us.

Darcy, Arlo, and Ryan
Oliver, Joe, and Bonnie
We have been thinking about the joint-vacation idea for a while, but we planned our first trip together this summer to get the tradition rolling now that we all have kids.  We chose the Olympic Peninsula as our first destination -- partly because it required only one family to fly, and also because it fit with our goal to visit U.S. National Parks together.

Our plan was to rent a house in the Sequim area and spend time doing outdoor things like hiking in the Olympics and wandering the beach along the Straight of Juan de Fuca.  Had it not been for the epic and unprecedented thunder and lightening storm that hovered over Sequim for the first two days, we probably would have achieved our goals.

Early morning view of the coastline at low tide from the house
 As it turned out, we enjoyed sunshine the day we arrived (Thursday) and made a stop at a lavender farm for some lavender mint ice cream, photo ops with the lavender, and a spin through the farm.

That night thunder clouds rolled in and we found ourselves housebound until midday Saturday.   Although we poured libations, the weather did not abate. Luckily the house had plenty of space allowing us to comfortably hang out together, talk, drink, cook up a pot of chili, sleep, read, and unfortunately, also pass around a 48-hour bug.  Sneezing and stuffy noses aside, it was awesome.  Really.When the clouds cleared a bit, our main excursion took us to Dungeness Spit where we wandered and beach combed and wrangled three little boys.

On one of the days a few of us were feeling optimistic and had the energy to hike (i.e. those not currently under the spell of the cold) so we ventured out, stopping to see the newly removed lower Elwha dam site.  The river restoration was rather impressive.  We also made the drive up to Hurricane Ridge only to find ourselves completely socked in with fog and rain.  Needless to say, we didn't hike.

Elwha river restored at location of former lower dam
Although our activities didn't go as planned, we had a lovely time together. As for the little people: Oliver was the littlest fellow at 11 months old; Wyatt was in the middle at a year and a half; and Arlo was the oldest at 22 months old.  The boys got along great -- sharing toys and booster seats and books.  The adults thoroughly enjoyed the time together too with nightly after-kids-were-asleep talks that basically solved most of the world's problems.

We headed back to Seattle on Monday, enjoying great weather for an afternoon in Pt. Townsend to shop and eat lunch, and then a gorgeous ferry ride home.  After lunch, the highlight for us in Pt. Townsend was discovering a terrific writer's book shop, The Writer's Workshoppe, followed by terrific local raspberry ice cream and affogato. Home in Seattle, we enjoyed an evening together on Monday night before Bonnie, Joe and Oliver headed for the airport.

Our vacation gave all of us a much-needed break from everyday life and work, a chance to reconnect and catch up, and definitely inspired us to start planning for next year. Plus, I got to celebrate my birthday with dear friends, which made it all the more special.  (Thanks, Byron, for schlepping the lefse grill all the way to Sequim just to make me birthday crepes. They were delicious.)


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