Markel Family Summer Vacation–Wrap-Up

By now you’ve probably realized that our family finally took our first real vacation this summer.

This all started in the late spring, when I was telling Ryan that I really needed to see the ocean. I had never seen it before, and it was really bothering me. So, he challenged me to pick a place, and we’d go.

I looked at several locations (including some on the Gulf of Mexico, until I was informed that didn’t really count as the ocean), and almost settled on Savannah, Georgia, before it occurred to me that I’d always wanted to go to Charleston, and…it’s on the ocean!

Why Charleston? In addition to the ocean, I wanted a place with a lot of history, which Charleston has in abundance, from the Revolutionary War period on, and a place with beautiful architecture, which, again, Charleston has no shortage of, from her churches, to Rainbow Row, to The Battery. Once I realized Charleston fit the bill, I began planning our trip, which was both fun and intimidating.

Honestly, I spent most of the summer figuring we wouldn’t actually go through with it. I thought we’d either come to our senses about spending the money, or our minivan would rebel, and need repairs costing time and thousands of dollars or something, so I didn’t really get excited about the trip until about a week before we left. It was only then that I allowed myself to indulge in my “We’re going to see the ocean!” dance! I was also a little apprehensive about leaving home, since I never do that, but I got over it.

The trip planning really came together, and the timing worked out for us to fit in a few non-Charleston stops along the way. Here’s a summary of our days on the road:

The trip wasn’t perfect. As a matter of fact, almost every bad thing I had imagined ending up happening, from a bed bug sighting in our hotel room the first night to car trouble along the way, not once, but twice. No one got sick in the car or eaten by a shark, though, so that was something! Anyway, in the end, I realized that it didn’t have to be perfect, because the troubles are part of the memories, and will eventually became a part of our family legends, along with all of the amazing parts of the trip, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Turner Field

I don’t know if it’s obvious, but we’re a baseball family. So of course, when planning our vacation, we had to figure out a way to visit a ballpark we had never been to before. Going to Atlanta was barely out of the way to Charleston, so we decided that we’d take in a Braves game at Turner Field while we were on the road!


Our seats were OK…we were more interested in seeing the whole park than where we were sitting, which is why we went for the super-cheap outfield seats, instead of our preferred spot behind home plate or along the baselines. We were shocked at how few fans were at the ballpark!


The best part of visiting a new ballpark (for me at least) is seeing what is unique to that location. In Atlanta, this includes a lot of Delta sponsorship, Waffle House, and references to Hank Aaron everywhere!

And the giant drum that leads the infamous Tomahawk Chop!


There were plenty of opportunities for family photos, as well:

We also enjoyed walking around “Monument Grove:”

And seeing the different views from different places in the ballpark:



And one last tribute to Hank Aaron in the parking lot:


I don’t think I’d ever care to go back to Atlanta (the traffic was a nightmare!), but I’m glad to say I’ve been to yet another Major League ballpark!

Markel Family Summer Vacation–Day Three

We were up (not) bright and early on day three of our summer vacation to head to Atlanta for a Braves game. Going through Chattanooga, I discovered that I’m terrified of driving through mountains, even small ones, especially when there are runaway truck ramps on the side of the road!


I also learned that the traffic in Atlanta is horrendous, the name “Hotlanta” is well-deserved, and there is an appalling lack of Braves fans at Turner Field. It was still fun seeing a new ball park, however, and Chickadee loved that the Chick-fil-A cow did the Tomahawk Chop with the crowd!


After the game, it was time to get back in the car, and head to our featured destination, Charleston, SC. It seemed like we’d never get there, but we finally arrived at our hotel, and even had time for a quick swim in the hotel pool before crashing!