This summer we didn't originally have any plans for a vacation (after our gifted cruise, it didn't feel like a priority). But when our friends- and usual summer travel buddies- moved away at the beginning of July, we decided we did in fact need to plan something, even if it was just a four-day weekend something, before the summer was completely gone.
So we decided to meet at Rough Creek Lodge.
We got there in the late afternoon on Friday, and were immediately greeted by Angel and Cowboy, the grounds' free-roaming (retired) ponies. Henry ended up forming a special bond with the smaller one, Cowboy, which even impressed the staff, but more on that later... Our first day was mainly getting settled, trying out the pool, and having our first fancy dinner, then watching the sun set while making s'mores and hanging out on the back patio.
On the second day, right after breakfast, we figured out there was a falconry demonstration scheduled for that morning. It wasn't hard to get everyone in our group on board for that one, so we all played yard games until the birds came out and then headed down to the lake to see a Harris hawk and a Peregrine falcon do their thing. After that we did a little fishing, then spent the rest of the day at the pool, followed by our second fancy dinner (the kids ate at the Kid's Club party every night).
On our third day, the adults who woke up early took the kids who woke up early down to the dock to fish while the sleepers "slept in." We were fishing with tiny micro-hooks and little pieces of hot dog, mainly trying to catch bluegill... but Austen caught a bass! We were as surprised as he was. Once we were joined by the rest of our crew, the kiddos got to take turns having a boat ride around the lake, then we went back to the pool for the afternoon. Remember how I said Henry bonded with little Cowboy? That little pony followed him right up to our room door and would not leave. He would jiggle the doorknob with his mouth, and actually tried to follow him inside at one point. We had to leave for dinner out the back door, and that little guy stayed right in front of the front door with his face about two inches away, waiting for Henry to come back out.
After dinner we did our third round of s'mores and lawn games.
On our last day, we rented trail wagons and toured the 4-mile-long nature trail around part of the grounds, ending at Gunn Mountain for the panoramic photos I was coveting. While we were waiting for the trail wagons to be readied, the outdoor sport staff commented on Henry's friendship with Cowboy (who had found him again), adding that no one is usually able to get near him or touch him. Henry would practically hang on him, and that little horse loved him for it.
We drove around the grounds, did a little fossil hunting, and after everyone got their amazing-view-photos, we packed up and checked out.
We parted ways vowing that we'd maintain our summer trips together, even though the distance between our families has exponentially increased... because after all, when you can find common ground like this, what's a little driving between friends?