This was the weekend of another family trip, kind of a pair of day trips that got melded into a weekend getaway. The occasion was a celebration of Kat’s birthday (29 years young tomorrow!), and the destination was the Plymouth/Carver area of Massachusetts for some beach shenanigans and adventures at King Richard’s Faire.
Which went okay. King Richard’s Faire was, ultimately, a wash. We got there around 10:30 and were thrilled to get front row-ish seats for the tiger show, but around the time the show started, so did the rain. Within a few minutes, it went from spitting to a downpour, and the awesomeness of seeing big cats jump around the stage and show off their majesty was rapidly overpowered by the misery of palming handfuls of water out of our faces.
Sam dressed up as a pirate but had no interest in the fair whatsoever because of the rain. He and Kyle went on a swinging boat ride, but after that, the whines set in and our attempts to keep Sam entertained despite the storm were mostly futile. He felt better once a few performers teased smiles out of him, and even better after he had a large pretzel and ice cream (look, you don’t go to the faire and eat healthy, ok), but the realization that we weren’t going to drop $300 on a shoulder dragon hit him kind of hard towards the end of the day.
Kat had initially planned an elaborate costume for this excursion, all feathers and corsets and the like. She wanted to portray the Raven Queen from Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder lore, but after we found out the weather would be iffy at best, she pared the costume down to just a feathery mantle and a gorgeous wrap that looked like wings. She looked awesome (though she won’t let me post the pictures; I have them on my phone, so I have proof) but also got drenched and learned that the black feathers of her mantle weren’t actually black feathers–they were rooster feathers dyed black, and the dye wasn’t set enough to not trickle down her arms during the downpours. That said, she got a gorgeous tooled leather collar as a birthday gift for herself, so all wasn’t lost there.
Kyle spent the entire time with a soggy Sam because I can’t carry anything that weighs more than 10 lbs (doctor’s orders; that along with pelvic rest make me basically the most pathetic wife ever). That said, Kyle was also sad that we didn’t have $300 to spend on a shoulder dragon.
As for me, I managed to acquire a barometric pressure headache at around 3:00 in the morning before anyone woke up. The right side of my head felt like it was cracking open like an egg, and I ultimately shuffled off to the hanging swing chair building to rest both my pelvic muscles (which scream at me if I walk for more than 10 minutes or do physically strenuous things like rolling over in bed) and my head. To say I was disappointed is the understatement of the year; I LOVE King Richard’s Faire. I love exploring the shops, watching the shows, and overall just exploring. But my god, I was so miserable, I couldn’t even keep my head up.
And that headache lasted for two more days, until the stupid tropical rainstorm that caused it finally shuffled out to sea.
(I tried SO many remedies to calm things down, but ultimately, with a barometric pressure headache, you just have to weep and soldier through)
But that was just Sunday. Saturday, which we spent in Plymouth, was a fantastic day.
We went to Plymouth last summer, just on a fun day trip to Plimoth Plantation and to wander around on the beach for a bit; it wasn’t a bad day, though it was agonizingly hot. The beach was crowded, as beaches tend to be at the absolute peak of summer grossness, too crowded for us to get much farther down the shore than a tiny sliver of sand right beside the parking lot. This was meh in and of itself, but poor Sam had the worst time of it–being all of two years old, he was terrified of both the sand and the waves and remained either firmly planted in one place or attached to either me or Kyle like a lamprey.
So my expectations for a beach day on Saturday weren’t terribly high, especially as it’s October, and though the weather was nice, it was a little cool for the beach.
We started our jaunt at the Cabby Shack (if you’re in Plymouth, I recommend them very highly, though be forewarned that the cheese in the mac and cheese is basically queso–not bad, but a surprise), where we feasted on the thickest clam chowdah in the world, fried clam strips, and coconut shrimp. Sam was game to get his picture taken with one of Plymouth’s infamous lobsters…
…and once we’d done that, we headed back to the same beach we’d visited the year before. Again, my expectations weren’t particularly high; Plymouth beach isn’t a bad beach, but I always prefer my autumnal beach jaunts to take place on rockier coastlines or somewhere on Cape Cod that’s removed enough from streets and bustle that all you can hear are crashing waves and seagulls.
(maybe I’m a beach snob)
(but not as bad as Kat is, though in her defense, she spent most of her life living in Santa Barbara)
Once we’d parked, Kat headed off to explore and Kyle and I escorted Sam down to the water’s edge. Things were already a little different–Sam eagerly kicked off his flip flops and ran through the sand, not at all wigged out by the different textures beneath his feet. He hesitated just a moment when confronted with ridiculously cold North Atlantic seawater (look, you don’t go swimming at New England beaches, unless you like turning into a popsicle) but a beat later, he was splashing through the waves and laughing gleefully as he found rock after rock to toss into the water with Kyle.
And they had a blast. Kyle isn’t a big beach person–his beach experiences mostly come from the Gulf Coast of Texas, and in his own words, those beaches “aren’t the best” (he’s very polite). Even when he’s not out of the car and splashing in the water, he’s expressed that the vastness of the sea and sky make him skittish (to which I always say, “You’re from Texas? Where you have nothing but sky?”), so when it comes to beaches, he’s reluctant, to say the least.
But on Saturday, he and Sam dove in together. He tried to teach Sam how to skip rocks (that went about as well as you’d expect), and then they got to work trying to build a sandcastle. Kyle led Sam into the waves (pretty tame at this beach; nothing that went above Sam’s knees), and they both had an impressively great time frolicking about, as if neither had felt anything but love for a beach in their lives. Sam loved the beach so much that, at one point, he scooped up a handful of seawater in joy and tried to drink it as I squawked, “No, don’t do that!”
Well. It was a learning experience. And it didn’t ruin the day for him; he spat the water out and then went right back to playing happily, jumping up and down in the water and screeching, “Yay beach!” as loudly as he could.
Kat, meanwhile, returned to us with a handful of seashells (always her gift to me when we hit the beach) and a $20 bill (she called it her birthday gift from the ocean and used it to buy that tooled leather collar on Sunday).
Once we were all beached out, we packed up the car again, de-sanded ourselves, and headed back to the hotel. Most of Plymouth’s hotels are quaint little B&Bs or fancy spas, so our choices were either squeeze into a way-too-fancy room at a spa or B&B or the Hilton. Of the two, the Hilton seemed the better option, and we had a nice room on the second floor, just a quick walk from the pool and jacuzzi.
Yes, pool. An indoor pool, at that. Nothing terribly deep (the deep end was 4 feet even, the shallow about 3’9”), nothing too fancy, but we all wanted to get some swimming in, and Kyle and I wanted to give Sam a chance to try a swimming pool again, this time accompanied by our guiding hands.
He was reluctant to step into the pool, to say the least, but Kyle was right there holding onto him the entire time, and I was nearby (in a super cute suit, I might add; thank you, ModCloth, for still having cute plus-sized bathing suits despite your turn towards the awful lately). Gradually, Sam’s fear of the water began to disappear. He still didn’t want to try floating on his own (and every time we tried to sneak it in, he screamed, “I want to get out!”), but he liked “swimming” between me and Kyle and splashing about and playing overall. I couldn’t hold him as much because, again, lifting over 10 lbs (I gave myself some leeway because water makes things buoyant and that helps with lifting), but I held his hands and guided him around the pool and helped him get over his fear of putting his hair in the water.
So it went really well! Sam likes playing in pools now, though he’s still not quite independent in the water, but we’re getting there. Overall, Saturday was a day of redeeming water adventures, and I’m happy about that.
We ended the day with a trip to a local IHOP, an IHOP that was… surprisingly really nice inside. Most IHOPs have that really casual “yeah, we’re IHOP, don’t expect much” feel to them, but this one was decorated like some sort of fancy independent restaurant, with exposed industrial ceilings and the kind of shabby chic decor that would make it feel totally normal on any given HGTV renovation show. The food remained IHOP-y, but the fanciness and the fact that we were the only ones there turned it into this strange sort of liminal space, and I’m still not sure that it was a real experience.
And it was a good weekend. A wet weekend, a weekend that ended with us eating McDonald’s food instead of turkey legs at King Richard’s Faire and driving home at 2 p.m. instead of 5 p.m. like we’d expected, but a good weekend nonetheless. And best of all, Sam is no longer afraid of large bodies of water. Hallelujah.