The thing is, we never really went on family vacations when I was a kid. My parents were solidly working class Black folk toiling in factories in Long Island; time and money was at a premium, so getting away for weeks at a time wasn’t really even a thought, much less an option. Vacation days? Well, they were for resting. Taking a two-hour drive to my uncle’s house in Philadelphia every few months was about as fancy a respite our family could muster. There was no such thing as an affordable family vacation.
Now that I’ve got kids of my own, I understand my parents’ stance on traveling. Our financial obligations can, at times, outpace our freelance writer/author budget, and really, when you’re shelling out cash for the things your family needs and, occasionally, a few of the things it wants, spending thousands of dollars on a getaway never quite makes it to the top of the list of “things to do as a family.” We saved up for a huge trip to Paris in 2010, road tripped to Savannah and Duck, N.C. , a couple times and summered for a glorious week at my friend and agent Victoria’s home in New York, but consistent family vacays have come few and far between of late.
Still, my daughters thirst for a travel adventure. Frankly, so do we. Rather than revel in our friends’ and family’s vacation pics and tales of cottage rentals and weeklong Caribbean getaways, we want to make some memories of our own. And we decided that by hook or crook, we are going to make it a go sometime over the next month or so, even if we have to drive there rather than fly, and we stay for only a few days, rather than a week.
Our mission: a getaway to somewhere reasonably local, beautiful and affordable.
Our destination: Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
Our kids’ reaction when we told them vacation is all the way on?
That’s right: we haven’t seen this level of excitement out of the girlpies in a hot minute, trust.
Totally Lila has been ticking off random facts about Kiawah Island: “Did you know it’s only 15 miles from Charleston?” and, “Did you know it’s named after the Kiawah Indians, who were living on the land when the English came?” and “Did you know its where the story of Porgy & Bess takes place?” and, “Mommy! There’s ten miles of beaches! We are so going swimming, I don’t care how cold it is!” and, “Dude! They have sea turtles. Sea turtles!“
Basically, their excitement is palpable. As is mine. Because, hello—beach. And history. And the sea island coast, which I’ve been fascinated by since my first viewing of Daughters of the Dust more than 20 years ago, when I was in college. Plus, we found a great place to stay: the Andell Inn, a boutique Residence Inn hotel.
A word about the hotel: this may well be the highlight of the trip. The Andell Inn is recently opened—the first custom-designed Residence Inn in the Sea Islands. From the looks of it, no expense was spared: it’s lush and luxurious, with a cabana porch, a saltwater pool overlooking the village lake, wraparound porches and lots of beautiful nooks and crannies to sit and enjoy the scenery. The main feature looks no less amazing: we secured a two-bedroom suite that includes a living room, a large workspace and a fully-equipped kitchen—a perfect space for our family of four. Oh, did I mention complimentary breakfast, internet and parking? And that there’s grocery delivery and laundry service? Yes. Yes, they’re doing that.
*insert Denene doing a Carlton happy dance of her own here*
We’re going to be loading up our car and headed for Kiawah Island sometime in November. Totally Lila, the budding photographer amongst us, is bringing her camera, Mari is packing our family poker set (and has informed us all to get our dimes together for game night), and you know I’ll be chronicling our journey here and on the MyBrownBaby Instagram page. We absolutely can not wait.
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This post was made possible by the Residence Inn Moms program in conjunction with Residence Inn by Marriott. Of course, all opinions are my own.
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.