I had hoped to make this more photos than words, as photos are much more interesting than anything I have to say, but photos will have to wait. I haven't been able to download them all yet, and the ones I have got are not very good/interesting. That does not reflect our week accurately at all!
We spent the first phase of our trip in Akron visiting the Wilsons. Let me just say that they are totally worth the 7+hour trip it takes to get there. (Many are surprised at how long it takes us, but combine children who view every rest area & toilet as a field trip with a driver who follows the speed limit uber-faithfully, and it take some time). We always have fun with them, we are always encouraged by them, and we always learn from them. Fun came in the form of the several hikes we took and playing in the yard, encouragement came in our chats and the opportunity to worship with them at church, and the learning pretty much happens all the time. Two things that stand out for me are how to mediate sibling disputes by teaching them to appeal appropriately to the authority (ie, mom and dad), and the need for the kids to absorb some of their book collection into their bedrooms. The day after we got home, we picked up 2 bookshelves from yard sales. Thanks, wonderful Wilson family! :)
Phase 2 of the Gayner Family Getaway moved us about halfway back east and landing in the Deep Creek area. We stayed in a cabin at Herrington Manor State Park, and it was a perfect fit for what we wanted. Normally, we're campers, but the 6-month-pregnant lady was looking for a little more comfort (weak, I know), and this cabin was excellent. It actually had more than enough beds for all of us, electricity, a proper kitchen and bathroom - no traipsing to the shower block in the middle of the night! That alone is worth it. Also, when you stay in one of the Herrington Manor/Swallow Falls sites, you get an hour's free canoeing, which just happened to be the highlight of the trip for everyone. We hiked, we boated, we played at the beach, we sunburned, we campfired and we s'mored.
In short, we vacationed, and it was just wonderful.