Our “Green” Vacation

My husband and I just returned from a week’s vacation with our two small children, ages 3 and 5. We decided to take the kids to a small island off the coast of New England and since we made our plans so last minute, we could not get our car on the ferry and renting a car on the island was too expensive. So we decided to be bold and go car-less.

Luckily, we did get a rental house only a few blocks from the beach so we knew we could walk to the beach, but the whole “walk to town” promise made sense only for two strong adults without children or bags. But when we got off the ferry and tried to walk to the house from town with our children, who needed hand holding, plus all of the luggage, well, let’s just say, we had quite a surprise!

Once we got settled we had to ask ourselves, what will we do? How will we get groceries and get to town if we want ice cream? And we really wanted ice cream! So we put our heads together and decided to rent one bike with a basket on the front for my husband (who loves to bike). It would have been impossible for us all to have bikes because our kids were too young to ride along with us. This way, he could have his long daily bike rides, but also pick up any goods we needed at the store. It was sort of cute seeing him come home every afternoon with a basket full of fresh fruits and veggies from the farm stands. However, if we did have children who were a little bit older, there was this option of adding a tandem seat to the bike my husband rented. We saw many people doing this and it looked really fun for the child in the back (some of them have the seat in the front). The kid just has to hold on and pedal but the adult is really powering the ride and keeping the bike upright.

A tandem bike-you could also attach a tandem seat to any regular bike 

Next, we decided to rent two jogging strollers. We tried to get one double, but the bike rental place was out of them and it turned out to be the better choice anyway to have two singles because we could navigate the sidewalks much easier and each adult could push one child at a time and have one on one talk time with them as we strolled. This made the walks back to town a breeze as we could handle the 10 minutes fine, but the kids would have been tired if we had tried to get them to walk back and forth. It also gave us a built in cart to carry home anything we might have purchased on our strolls.

Lastly, we found a bus schedule which allowed us to check out other areas of the island that would have been too far to walk to. We found beaches and towns that were interesting and fun, and even the rides there and back gave us views of beautiful landscapes. The bus was only a dollar per adult so this proved to be an economical choice of travel as well and it ran quite frequently.

In the end we didn’t miss having the car one bit and we felt better because we got more exercise as a result and saved money on the car ferry and any gas we would have had to buy, not to mention parking. We know we would have probably driven to many of the places we walked to, and this forced us to take the “green” route. I highly recommend, even if you aren’t going to an island, checking out alternative forms of transportation on your next trip.

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Rachael Ray