Chestnut Bay is the Place to Be, Resort Livin' is the Life for Me

There's not much I like more than a good vacation. Of course, vacationing with three little kids isn't exactly a relaxing activity, but at least it's a change of scenery. The fact that they're not bored and constantly asking, "What can we do now?" is pretty sweet. For our one summer trip, we hit the road with our friends and their three girls and headed to Chestnut Bay Resort. My friend, Kerrie, is a trip planner extraordinaire and found this place in an ad. It looked right up our alley, so we decided to branch out and try something new. I must say, I wholeheartedly recommend the place.

We started the trip with a little stopover at Noccalula Falls. Naturally, since we'd planned a non-water outdoor activity, it was approximately 102 degrees, literally. There was sweat in places on my body that should just never be sweaty. We've already discussed my intense dislike of being hot and sweaty, so I'll skip all the theatrics. I tried to stay focused on the wonderful experience of riding a miniature train, steering clear of a smelly petting zoo, and viewing the trickling waterfall. It was actually fun, apart from the perspiring eyeylids and all. When our kids caught sight of a water fountain, you'd have thought they'd been stuck wandering in the Sahara for days. After all the sweltering outings we've taken this summer, you might think I would remember to carry water for us to drink. But that would lessen our appreciation for hot, germy, public sources of water such as this. I'd hate for that poor lone water fountain to go unappreciated.

Once we'd come to the brink of heat stroke, we left the park and headed to....where else? Sonic. You see, happy hour was due to start in a mere thirty minutes. Naturally, once we arrived, we had to wait the last 15 minutes until 2:00, thirsting to death in our matching white minivans, to save that extra $3.72. Cheap? I actually prefer thrifty. Nevermind that we were burning gasoline sitting there because there was absolutely no way we were turning off the a/c. Did I mention 102 degrees?

With refreshing beverages in hand, we completed the last leg of the trip. If you'd like to know how to get to Chestnut Bay Resort, just turn off in Gadsden, head into the middle of nowhere, turn at the 25th trailer on your right, go past the old rusted pick-up truck, and then drive a little farther. Then, smack dab in the middle of the contry, you'll come to a delightful little community of adorable houses, swimming pools, paddle boats, a playground, and, thankfully, a pizza place. As soon as we could unpack our bags and slather sunscreen on what had to be 12 or 13 kids, we headed to the pool.

While I absolutely loved the refreshingly cool water after a very hot day, going to the pool with three children of my own and three others whom I'm rather fond of and would like to see stay afloat is not exactly a calming experience. Maddie is a pretty good swimmer, but not one I want to have out of my sights for too long. Jack is just learning to swim underwater but hasn't mastered the art of coming up for air (which I'd say is an important aspect of swimming), yet he is no longer a fan of keeping his life jacket on. Luke is a daredevil with absolutely no swimming skills and a love for putting his face in the water and taking a gulp. Going swimming with these three is an exercise in counting to three. 1-2-3. Good, they're all okay. 1-2-3. All accounted for. 1-2- Oh, no. Searching, searching. 3. Whew. 1-2-3. You get the idea. Add to that lots of slippery wet rocks, two toddlers who like to run, and a super-fast waterslide and this whole swimming experience can be a mentally exhausting activity. Daddies are great for playing, but not so great for making sure all children are present and accounted for at all times. Thankfully, all of us survived every pool trip, and I even managed to save a few brain cells to use later on.

Some great perks of this place were the golf cart rides for lazy, pregnant people with small children, such as myself, and the fun activities they had planned for each day. Of course, our children's favorite activity was a new sport known as bunk bed jumping. Who needs sidewalk chalk, swimming pools, and canoes when you have two sets of bunk beds in the same small room? It sounded like bombs were being dropped constantly in their bedroom. But, being the good parents that we are, we'd only venture into the chaotic mess if there was screaming that lasted more than 45 seconds and sounded bloody. What's a vacation without letting your kids act like wild animals, scream their heads off, and hang from ceiling fans?

Unfortunately, we did not see on the fun activity schedule that wake-up time and bunk bed jumping started each morning between 5:45 and 6:00am. I think only the kids received that schedule. It was amazing how much easier it was for those who went to bed at 9pm to get up at the hiney crack of dawn than it was for those of us who chose to stay up until after midnight. I suppose if we'd been smart, we would have chosen an earlier bedtime. But there were some serious game-playing titles on the line here. It wouldn't have been very dedicated of us to head to bed with championships at stake. I don't want to brag or anything, so I won't mention the shellacking the guys took in Pictionary - two nights in a row...or the utter defeat we delivered to them in Canasta. All's fair in love and late-night board games.

A quick run-down of my favorite activities would include photography, swimming, paddle-boating, game-playing, eating blueberry pouches for dessert, sipping pina coladas (virgin, OF COURSE), NOT putting on make-up every morning...

playing cornhole (don't ask), snuggling with Luke in the bed, and napping every afternoon on the front porch. On my list of not-so-fun things would be applying sunscreen approximately 247 times to 5 bodies at a time, sweating profusely when not in the pool, bloody knees, temper tantrums and bad attitudes...

reminding Luke more times than I can count that he has to share toys, and the early mornings.

We did get some great photos for Katherine and Luke's rehearsal dinner photo montage, and we wondered how Jack and Caroline will survive their marriage when all they like to do is talk incessantly (not to each other, just talk no matter who is listening) except when they're glued to the tv.

We found out that Luke is quite fond of purple sun visors with hearts on them. Who can blame him when he looks so darn cute in them?

We discovered that Katherine loves being on a boat but is not too crazy about actually getting in the pool, no matter how hot the weather.

We also gained some very important life skills such as how to steer a paddle boat (which is not as easy as you'd might think) and how to peddle it with a two-year-old's legs wrapped around your legs. This could come in very handy if we're ever stranded on a remote island with lots of tiny children and only a paddle boat to get home in.

We mastered the art of how to cook and eat all day long while washing as few dishes as possible. You know you're lazy when you resort to eating off of pot lids with sporks.

Most of all, we made more fun memories and enjoyed God's amazing creation and the blessings of family and friendship. And we were reminded that our lives are pretty fabulous. When the downside of your vacation is being tired from too much fun and applying loads of sunscreen to deliciously cute kids, I'd say life is good.


  1. What an excellent recap of a wonderful weekend! I about lost it when I saw the pic of the blueberry pouch on the pot lid! Once again, you are a wonderful writer!
    Can't wait for our trip next summer-and there will be once more child to add to the sunscreen line-up!

  2. Looks like so much fun! The pics of Katherine and Luke holding hands are priceless - love them!

  3. Girl, you are hilarious! I love your commentary. I too loved the pic of Katherine and Luke holding hands. That will be great for their rehearsal dinner.

    And the picture of the pot lid and the spork. That is good stuff, and that just means you were having a really good vacation!


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