The Great Xmas Road Trip

Stevens Point, WI -> Wilmington, NC -> Raleigh, NC -> Waynesville, NC -> Rehoboth Beach, DE -> Stevens Point, WI | December 18, 2014 – January 4, 2015 | We had quite the trip this Christmas. When we were deciding how to tackle the holidays this year coming from Wisconsin we realized it would be no easy feat. Fortunately Jon had off a month from the university and I had flexible time with the jobs I’ve been picking up. We were able to plan for just over two weeks off visiting and start the new year with friends. 

We left town on Thursday, December 18 pretty early in the morning. It was going to be about an eleven hour drive to our stop for the night Charleston, WV. The route to NC doesn’t have a lot of decent places to stop but we chose Charleston over Dayton, OH as it would meant less driving on Friday morning. I had noticed our drive was going to take us right by Indianapolis which meant we’d be passing by the Colts Stadium. A few years ago Jon and his brother had bought a brick for their family when the revamped Lucas Oil but no one had ever seen it in person. I thought this would be a good opportunity to try and find the brick and we’d probably want to stop by then anyway. Once we got to the stadium of course finding said brick was easier said then done. Their pro shop was open (IE a place to spend hours looking at Colts gear for Jon) and their staff gave me the number of the company who arranged the bricks. A few minutes later we had the location and found the Caldwell brick. After pictures of that and the stadium, we ventured back into the pro shop to see if their were any last xmas presents to buy before finally getting back on the road. 

After many many hours later we finally made it to Charleston. Our hotel was by the river and had we arrived during day light hours there would have been a nice view. We were starving and thanks to Yelp I found a Burrito and Brews place just around the corner. We got to eat Mexican (always one of our top choices) and taste some of the local beers. 

We were up early the next morning to head on to Raleigh. 5 more hours and we finally arrived at my parent’s place. We finally were done with driving for a little bit. That evening Jon had “Steaks and Stogies” with all the UNC college guys which of course I was the driver back and forth from. I just relaxed at home while he was out. 

The next day we both got a run in (much warmer of course in NC) and then headed to Wilmington for family christmas that weekend. We get everyone together at my Nana’s house for lots of food, family and presents. This year was no different except it was Jon’s first time. And now there are lots of kids – screaming and running and tearing presents apart – it was lot to handle for me, so I know he was out of his element. But it was really nice to see everyone and tell all about our adventures in Point. Sunday morning we went out to Wrightsville to get a run in by the beach (it was 50 degrees – practically warm out) and what a nice morning to run. Afterwards we headed to our second christmas down there (two sides of Dad’s family) over in Leland – really close to the house I grew up in! It was of course unseasonably warm which was awesome and we stuffed our faces for a second day. 

Over the new couple of days we had plans to meet up with lots of friends. First, we had lunch with Caitlin, JJ and their Kevins at Busy Bee. I had only been at night but their brunch food was delicious. And it was so nice to see everyone! We hadn’t all been together since our wedding (which was a whirlwind itself). We’re so isolated in WI that it is nice to be with friends and catch up on everything going on in each other’s lives. That evening we spent at Sawmill Taproom talking with Tim and Alison. Tuesday morning we ran a few errands and got Jon some nice free sweaters at Men’s Warehouse (thanks coupons). We met Kristi and Jimmy at Lime in Cary for a little Mexican grub and a lot of talking. Definitely miss having the bestie nearby!! We headed back to Sawmill again that night to meet up with Tim, Alison, Caitlin, Kevin and Tony. Such a fun night. On Christmas Eve we got up early to drive over to Durham to have hot chocolate and coffee with Colleen and Ryan. I’d never been in Parker & Otis before but it was so cute!! And we found more Cold Mountain Winter Ale (my new favorite winter warmer) so we had to grab some. We saw a lot of friends in three days but it was completely worth it – I miss everyone. 

The rest of Christmas Eve was filled with family (Mom’s side, food, presents and games. We had a Christmas lunch before opening our spoils. Then with lots of time before the evening church service we pulled out Rummikube and starting to play. Fun afternoon with everyone. Of course the evening was spent singing carols and hoping the christmas hired musicians wouldn’t mess up!!

Merry Christmas morning! We had breakfast and then opened our immediate family presents before we had to pack up the car and say goodbye. Was nice to be with my family for the week and was looking forward to spending the next week with the Waynesville clan. 

We arrived in Waynesville later that day to eat more, open more gifts and relax. Christmas Vacation is a tradition with Jon’s family so that was our nightcap. We didn’t go after xmas shopping really but did visit the Verizon store to get Jon’s new Iphone 6 set up. And while we were there we acquired a new tablet thanks to the Caldwells. The UNC bowl game was that afternoon so we hunkered down to watch and relax. And finally finished out the day at Pat & Mike’s with a soup fest. 

First time in many years that I wasn’t able to spend her birthday with Kristi but I sent messages and photos of love!! With Jon’s family we went to Biscuithead in Downtown Asheville for brunch – so delicious – and so filling! That afternoon I built a free wedding photo album on Shutterfly (was going to lose it on 12/31) and we had chips and guac (one of my xmas presents) for snacks. We watched Carolina basketball and then headed over to Christopher and Jordan’s to watch the famed The Interview. Was funnier than I thought and very interesting that it caused such an uproar. Sunday I got to play handbells again for the first time in 12 years at church. We had breakfast at Duvall’s before coming home to do lots of laundry and watch the Colts game. That evening was Pat & Mike’s anniversary so we headed to a Mexican restaurant for yummy food. And of course we capped off the night with more playoff football. 

Monday we started repacking our bags and cleaning up the room. We headed over to the Credit Union to add Jon to my accounts and close down one of his. We had more leftovers for lunch and I did a little reading that afternoon (Paris Wife!). Highland Brewery had partnered with the Arboretum to do Fest of Ale with the Winter lights show so we decided to head over there to see the fun holiday lights and taste a couple of brews. It was beautiful and while they didn’t have much beer selection we got our money’s worth. We decided to just grab pizza for dinner since it was getting late and everyone was hungry. Tuesday morning we got an early start on the road to Rehoboth Beach for our New Years. We had cinnamon rolls to take on the road (courtesy of Jon’s mom) and we stopped at Chickfila for lunch for me (have to have it just once while in town!) It took us about 9 hours but we finally made it to the beach.

Having finally eaten sushi and enjoyed it in California I thought let’s give it a try again and because we just needed something fresh after all the holiday eating. We headed to the Cultured Pearl for dinner – it did not disappoint. Service wasn’t great but the food was very tasty. And of course we head over to the Dogfish Brewpub for our evening drinks. They always have fun specials at the brewpub and this time was no different. PA Tuxedo smelled like spruce pine and tasted like christmas. Loved it. 

On NYE we got in a run on the Breakwater trail – it was so nice to run outside over the holidays knowing that when we came back to WI we wouldn’t be able to. After getting ready we grabbed a quick Dunkin breakfast and then headed around to the various stops to get merch. 🙂 First stop was by the Inn in Lewis. We needed to get more of their awesome coffee mugs – we had promised a pair to Jon’s dad for xmas and you can only get them in person! Next we headed to the Brewery and ended up meeting up with Cara and Eric. We had some samples, picked up some more beer to stash for later and got more soap! We went by the outlets after to see if I could find anything fun to wear that night. Then a quick nap before getting ready for that night. We had purchased tickets to the NYE Bash at the Brewpub and it did not disappoint. The food was delicious, we had fun punch cards for our drinks, everything was paired together and their was a champagne beer toast at midnight! We had a blast!

We had one more vacation day before heading back to WI, so despite being a little under the weather the next morning we headed to brunch at Victoria’s with Cara and Eric. Much needed and very good. It was like stepping into the past with the decor, but it had a wonderful view and the food was inexpensive and tasty. We said goodbye to our friends (again so great to see people this holiday!!) and then spent a little while walking around downtown Rehoboth. We had to find black eyed peas (new years tradition) but weren’t having much luck. So we finally went to Cracker Barrel to get those eats in. We went down to the beach and walked the boardwalk before ending up at the Green Turtle to watch the bowl games and relax. 

The next day we were up super early to get on the road. Our holiday was over but we still had 16 hours until home. We stopped in South Bend for the night and of course it snowed on us. That next day was sleeting and really hard to see as we drove but we finally made it back to WI in one piece. What a great holiday and a great trip. It was wonderful to see family, friends and enjoy some time off! Checkout the photo album below of all our holiday adventures.

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