Traveling to the Mountains With Children

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What is Christmas like with snow? I’d wondered this for most of my young life. Born and raised a Florida girl, wintertime usually brought slightly cooler weather with an occasional rain shower. I had never seen a snowflake meander to the ground. Tickling the nose and eyelashes. There was no need for woolen cap, muffler or mittens.

When I became a momma, we went up north during Christmas to visit family and for the first time, I saw it. Snow. Fluffy, icy white flakes dotted my black mittens and swirled all around.

After that we made a winter tradition of it—driving to the mountains of North Carolina in search of snow.

We’d spend time in the great outdoors, stopping to view the fog resting around the mountaintops, making them look like mysterious islands. Zipping down the side of a snowy hill with toboggan full of two laughing children and their daddy. Braving a snowball fight.

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AJSled

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Snow fight

The trip is so worth any trouble, but with each passing year, we’ve learned to economize and maximize our enjoyment.

Hit the Thrift Shops.

A majority of our winter attire, except for thermals (long underwear), has been bought second-hand. For frugal shoppers, this is the way to go. There’s not a whole lot of need for snow boots in Florida, so there’s a good chance you’ll find them at a consignment store. Families tend to donate them after only one use.

Pack light, but pack well.

For a week, the kids have only needed one small duffle bag for clothes and a backpack for fun activities, snacks and drinks. Two suitcases are enough for the adults and the rest of the winter gear can fit in one storage container.

Factor in Pit Stops.

Lots of them. Kids need to run around, use the restroom, get a breather from the stuffiness of a jam-packed car. We usually add at least two hours to our trip schedule for food and rest stops.

Check the weather.

We’ve had mountain trips where snow was scarcely found and one year where we got snowed in for a week. Checking the weather ahead of time, might help you plan the best days to travel.

Opt to Stay in a Cabin.

We’ve been pleasantly surprised to find rustic cabins with more than one room online, and they’re about the same price as a hotel. The kids sleep better, and mom and dad get more privacy. Plus, kitchens are included so you can cook your own food and save on dining out.

Be Ready for Real Adventure.

Talk about the fun things you’ll do, be it sledding, skiing, or hiking. Read books about the mountains. Favorites are My Side of the Mountain (for older kids), Blueberries for Sal, and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. Listen to audio books like The Chronicles of Narnia on the way.

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas this year, with a little planning, adventure might be right up the mountain.



 

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