Monday, January 27, 2020

BEECH MOUNTAIN RESORT FAMILY GUIDE

Today I wanted to break down the wonderful Beech Mountain children's programs, because I couldn't find a ton of info out there when I was doing our trip research. Before I get into the details I just want to say once again...we LOVED Beech, the staff, the programs, the lessons, EVERYTHING. We didn't try Sugar, we plan to do that a bit next year, but since it was our first time, we wanted to lock in and get to know one place, vs acquainting ourselves with another location after becoming familiar with one the day prior. Make sense? The reason we chose Beech over Sugar was the fact that Sugar's nursery is contracted out through another company and Beech's is through Beech Mountain Resort. This tends to seal the deal for me, I often make our summer camp/resort vacation/etc. decisions based on who is responsible for our kids. That was truly our decision maker.

Let's start with the nursery!

Snowflakes childcare center was awesome. The director, Morgan, was so kind and called me personally the day prior to double check that she had our reservation correct. They do require reservations ($15/hr) as well as a packed lunch. We originally planned to ski the day prior so Annie's reservation was modified when we changed our plans earlier in the week, and it was super simple and quick. On our first day, she was there all day, we dropped her off at 8:30 and pulled her out at 3 to watch the kids finish their lessons. It's a little bit of a hike from the main parking lot where we needed to park in order to carry all of our gear, so you'll definitely need your little ones to be dressed in full winter gear for the walk in. Once she was all settled in the room, she stayed in the whole time. We packed her a sandwich, yogurt, and some popcorn, and then they also provided Teddy Grahams, Go-Gurt, Goldfish, and juice. Annie was the only reservation this day so she ruled the roost. The report I got was "Lots of Frozen, lots of snacks, and a solid nap." Morgan also texted me to let me know when Annabeth wanted to call to check in with me, and I was able to call when I could take a break on the mountain. All around, it was an amazing experience for her, I felt totally comfortable leaving her and enjoying a date day with John on the slopes, and Annie was so ready to go back the next day.

All of the info on their website can be found HERE.


TRAXX
Oh my, let me tell ya, if my kids could be homeschooled anywhere and by anyone of their choosing, it would be inside Traxx with their instructors. They LOVED their time at Traxx, and their instructors really had their attention the whole time. I've never seen anyone capable of getting my kids to focus as well as they did. 


We went the week following the Christmas/New Years holiday, and that was a wise decision, so it seems. Traxx has a 25 child limit, and they were maxed out the week before we arrived. My three happened to be 3 of the 4 students in Traxx the week we were there, and essentially, had their own instructors all day long. My boys stuck together with two instructors alternating, and Isabella was with another boy, but once her instructor believed she was ready to take the lift up, they brought in another instructor for the other student and she spent the second half of her day on the slopes with him. We actually rarely saw her after this point, because he had her up lifts that John and I...I...wasn't ready for ;)


Traxx provides students with their skis, helmets, snacks (fig newtons, lemonade, hot cocoa, chips), and lunch (burger, chicken, etc.), as well as their full day of instruction/breaks for $100. Literally. Worth. Every. Penny. Student's need to submit their lunch order prior to the day's start at 9, as well as bring their own goggles, and I believe their own bibs - we had our own so we didn't check. Their gear is kept in the Traxx building, so we didn't check theirs out and haul it around with us. 

Besides their instructors, they also have a room monitor (I don't know what to call her, lol?) who oversees helping them with their gear/snacks/etc. if needbe, and she is always in their classroom. I popped by once and didn't see Eli with his instructor and he happened to be inside with her having his goggles swapped out for a pair from lost and found because he broke his. They spend an hour getting acquainted in their room, two hours on the magic carpet with a ten minute break, then they have a one hour lunch break, and repeat the two hour block either on the magic carpet, or on the green freestyle slope if they're ready. Anything beyond that (i.e. Bella going somewhere else or going up earlier than lunchtime) is communicated very well via the classroom director if you ever need to check in. 


We respected their wishes (that are posted all over so you don't forget ;) ) to keep a distance and allow the instructors and students to stay focused, but occasionally if we crossed paths, their instructors would have them show us some skills, do an obstacle course with us, or just ski for a few minutes with us. I'm sure this was because they were the only ones, and is likely not the case on a busier week. By the end of their first day, all of my kids had been on the lift a few times with their instructors, and they were absolutely beaming.
Kids can be checked out at 3 and keep their gear up until 4:30, and also have a lift ticket for that time, so if you want an opportunity to ski with your kids but don't have a second day planned, it's a great little window of time to take advantage of without renting more gear! 




















Each kid had their own cubby, the parent check in area has all of the info you need, and behind the Traxx area is the Snow Camp area for 3-5 year olds. I can't wait to see Annie here next year! You can find more info on TRAXX HERE! Also, you can check out SNOW CAMP HERE.





 John and I also found the adult lessons VERY helpful, and we fully enjoyed the other amenities Beech had to offer while our kids were in their lessons - they offer ice skating, tubing, ski/snowboard lessons, a brewery, a restaurant, some small shops, etc.

Alright, this wraps up my winter series here on the blog, you can read post one HERE and post two HERE - back to the real beach, shall we??



Monday, January 20, 2020

WINTER VACATION 2020 || PART 2

Happy Monday! Last week I shared part 1 of our trip to Beech Mountain, and today, I'm sharing part 2. Next week I'll have the inside scoop on skiing Beech, everything from pictures of the childcare center, to food options, rental costs, etc., so if you plan to head there with your family, be sure to pop back in next week! 

Alrighty, here's where we left off:
 The drive up Beech Mountain is stunning.

The doritios are pretty great, too! We popped into the resort this evening to check out our gear (if you grab it after 4 you don't have to pay for the extra day, AND it saves you tons of time being fitted the next day) and have some snacks.

 We hit up Mast General Store every summer in Waynesville, so we really wanted to make the trek to the original Mast this particular evening.


 Then we drove a few minutes further into Boone for dinner at the Dan'l Boone Inn. It was SO GOOD.


 If you're anywhere near Boone I highy recommend this restaurant. It's set in Boone's first hospital, the decor is adorable, and it's all served family style. We only paid about $80 for our family of 6, and you can bring home anything you can wrap in a napkin ;)




The next morning, we were up BRIGHT AND EARLY to get the kids into their ski school and toddler programs on time. We figured it would take us quite some time to get everyone all geared up, and we were right. Once everyone was settled in, John and I signed up for a lesson, and we were first on the mountain. I definitely suggest traveling when kids are in public school. 



The week prior, ski school/lift tickets were maxed out, this week, there were a total of four kids enrolled in ski school, three of which were mine, and Annie had the nursery (reservations only) all to herself.



The kids loved their lessons, and by the time John and I looked out from lunch, they were already off the magic carpet and up the lift with their instructors.


We skied a little more and then picked our kids up from their programs at 3:30, then spent a little time in the play yard (practice area) with them until it was time to return their equipment. The kids equipment is a part of their ski school cost, so it had to be returned by a certain time to that specific location. If you're checking out standard equipment, you can do multi-day rentals, and keep it with you night to night.  


This kid DIDN'T STOP. Look at those rosy cheeks! He slept VERY well that night.


 Nachos, hot cookies, and a low key night of movies was definitely in order.

Up and at 'em and ready to roll!




John really enjoyed taking the kids up with him, I was way too nervous to handle myself AND a child on the actual trails, so I hung back with whomever wasn't with him at different times, and we practiced turns/stops and enjoyed mini races and obstacle courses (with either ski poles or cones at different points) in the magic carpet area.


See this picture? This is the last one from John's phone this day. Let's just say, we now have one of those "someone turned down the wrong course" stories to tell. I'll share more next week, but at one point Jesse said "Mommy, it was so scary and cool at the same time. I thought I was skiing and then I looked down and I was in the air, but then I landed and I was still skiing!" John, on the other hand came down, white as a ghost, and said "We're done!" lol!  



Oh, Beech Mountain, we LOVE YOU.


Fireplace, we also love you!


 Our last full day was slow and chill. We were all in recovery mode!


And carb loading mode.



Apparently, this is where my photos stop. We packed up the next day, hit the road, and again hit up as many Chick-fil-a's and gas station snacks as humanly possible. 

Thanks for tagging along, be sure to come back next week if you're interested in the logistics of ski school/packing/etc.!





Monday, January 13, 2020

WINTER VACATION 2020 || PART 1

Whew! We just got back from one of the most adventurous yet restful trips we've taken with our kiddos, and I'm excited to share here with you! Today, I'm sharing the first half of our trip, next week I'll share all about the skiing half of our trip, and then the following week, I have tons of info about Beech Mountain's children's programs, ski school, etc., as I looked for info everywhere before we left, and just couldn't find it. 

I have missed sharing personally like this, and I know that five years from now, I'll open up this post and tear up over how little my babies seem. So thankful to be back on the blogging journey with y'all! OK - on to part one of the trip!


 The obligatory "We're off!" group text with the grandparents. 


Is it even a road trip if it doesn't involve Chick-fil-a or gas station food? Our kids probably look forward to road trips solely for the "no rules" snacks we allow, I crack up watching them RUNNING around gas stations, we definitely have a large presence!



The kids always cheer when we go over this bridge because it marks the halfway point to one of our favorite places - Savannah, GA! We've been stopping in Savannah since Isabella was 8 months old, and it never disappoints.

 We stopped at an old family favorite - The Lady and Sons. It's super easy to find, there's parking all over, and we used to really enjoy the food. Our last two meals there haven't been the best, but it's fun nevertheless. If you're a Paula Deen food fan, The Creek House is better...just sayin' ;) 
We've always gone up the elevator to be seated, but this time we ended up on the ground level, which gave the kids a great view of the carriages passing by. We were also very happy to be in the company of another young family back in the corner, so rather than being 100% THE LOUDEST people in the restaurant (Hey, Annie!), we were only 50%, haha. That helps so much!

 I can only imagine how pretty this town is during the Holidays! This was our first trip there outside of summertime.



Lucky for us, there was a cupcake shop on our way back to our car, and since all food rules were out the window at this point, we let 'em at it!  
 
  
Technically, this is a drive we have done many times in one day, but we love to ease in to vacation when we can, so we left a day earlier than necessary and stopped for the night. 


Eleven at night but full of sugar and excitement. 


The next morning started off extra fun with a trip to the ER :) We woke up in Columbia, SC, and Jesse's neck just didn't look right to me. He had a peritonsillar abscess back in November and his glands/tonsils have been very reactive ever since. Poor bud has an upcoming surgery that he is unaware of right now. When he moved his head, talked, or swallowed, it looked like he had two marbles in his neck and I was worried that he was on the verge of another episode, so we called around and since it was Sunday, the only place he could be seen was at a local children's hospital ER. I didn't want to wait until we were up a mountain with snow on the way before we had him checked out, so since we were a day ahead of schedule, we went on in. Thankfully there was no wait, so we headed in, and I decided to have Eli checked out as well since he had a cough going (which I wasn't very concerned with but I thought we'd just go for it since we were already there). All was well, we got a "just in case" prescription, and the doctors really got the kids excited to ski. CAN I JUST SAY, whatever hospital this was (I can't remember lol) YOU ARE AMAZING. Jesse was seen by two doctors before he was even seen by a nurse or anyone from registration, they were SO kind (is everyone like that in SC??), and we were in and out by the time John and the girls found us a Starbucks. 


Now that Mom was relieved, we hit the road, stopped at Blowing Rock, and then got an early check in to our Air BnB.


God bless John and his long, selfie friendly arms!



 Once we had three kids we switched from hotels to VRBO/AirBnB and it's totally worth it just for the kitchen alone, but we always hold our breath when we walk in because we never truly know what to expect. This was hands-down the best house we've ever rented, super clean, beautiful view, etc., and we plan to rent the same one next year.

A quick stop for dinner at Come Back Shack...
...and a little hat hair action :)
Why is grocery shopping so much more fun on vacation?? We grabbed groceries, stopped at 1st Tracks for boots all around...

...and braved the cold to carry the bags in. At this point, John and I were missing the sunshine state lol!

 Popcorn by the fire, groceries put away, and all tuckered out and ready to get the ball rolling! 



The kids were up bright and early for smoothies with a view!


 Then we headed out to Hawksnest Snow Tubing for the kids first snow adventure! 
How cute are these puffy little marshmallows?? It was a crisp 28 or so this day, and we were getting a crash course in the gear/gloves/cold department. Moms of little ones, how long does it take you to put all of this on your kids every day? How are you not three hours late everywhere you go??








Hawksnest was TOO MUCH fun, worth every penny, and we left considering a second day later in the week. If anyone is headed there, FYI, there are photographers everywhere, and they grabbed some great shots of our kids. We bought 5 digital images at the kiosk afterward for around $30, and it was totally worth it to see their faces from that view!



We came home, thawed out with some cocoa and popcorn...



...and then made some veggie chili and brownies for a night of board games by the fire! All of my snow vacation dreams were coming true at this point ;)


The next day we planned to be our first day on the slopes, but we had so much wiggle room in our schedule that earlier in the week we decided to wait it out and enjoy a snow day with the kids. My younger three had never seen snow falling and we didn't want them to be with their instructors and apart from one another when they saw it for the first time.
 

 Bet ya cant find the Floridians ;) They were in and out ALL DAY. Out for ten mins, in for an hour, repeat, haha!


That afternoon we headed up to Beech to pick up our gear for the remainder of the week, and that's where I'm going to leave ya today! The first half of our trip was so restful and fun, but the second half was like a completely different vacation, and I can't wait to share more next week! 

Thanks for hanging out with me today, Happy Monday!




bgrnd