On Columbus Day weekend my family and friends participated in what is probably my favorite tradition of all time: French Creekend! For 17 years, we have all rented out the cabins at French Creek State Park in Pennsylvania and spent the weekend together. It’s a time to relax, eat, drink, and be merry, and I absolutely LOVE it.
Over the years we’ve added more people to our tradition. Now that I have my own family, we have started to get our own cabin for us and our friends. This is something I look forward to every year but this year I was extra excited. I knew it would be fun and interesting as our first year as a family of 4, and after a stressful start to the school year I was more than ready for a relaxing weekend away in the woods, unplugged from technology!
We arrived on Thursday evening after work. My dad, sister, and friend Christy also came that day. The kids were so excited to see them and surprisingly, little Kevin remembered a lot about our trip there last year (he has an amazing memory!). Since we were tired, my cabin went to bed early to rest up for the weekend ahead when more people would be arriving.
On Friday morning we took our time getting up and moving. We drank coffee, read some books, played with the kids, and just hung out.
One of the things I really wanted to do while we were there was go for a run with my hubby. We never get to do that anymore since we have two kids and nobody close by who can really watch them. With lots of willing friends and family around at French Creek we decided to take advantage and headed out.
I love running in the park during the fall because it’s absolutely beautiful, but MAN. It is hilly! I did 4 miles with Kevin and then he headed back to be with the kids. I continued on for 4 more miles and was super proud when I was done. It felt like an accomplishment!
After showers and more relaxation, we decided to take some family pictures.
The rest of the day was spent walking around the park, eating delicious food, and waiting for the next set of friends to arrive that evening- DJ and Laura.
The next morning we were up and moving pretty early thanks to little ones who don’t sleep in! Thankfully we brought all of our friends earplugs 🙂 Our friends Sandy and Brian came for the day and after hanging out with them for a little while we all headed out for a hike.
We wanted to hike to the fire tower, but we got a little (or a lot) lost along the way. Oops! Oh well. We still had fun, and little Kev made it pretty much the entire way walking by himself! I was so impressed.
After our hike (almost 3 miles up and then downhill!) we needed a little lunch break and the kids (and big kids) needed naps 🙂 Afterwards we went outside again. The weather was just too nice to not spend the day outdoors. We went for another walk – this time to two more sentimental places.
The first place was to our special trees that we have been carving in for a long time now. Christy and I started carving in our tree back in 2002!
Kevin and his guys started carving in their tree a few years ago, and we also started one for little Kevin when he was born. We had to make sure to update all of them for 2015.
After that was done we met up with my dad and his whole group to walk to the lake.
There is a special rock that we always go to visit right by the water, and a few years ago we started taking photos there. It started with just Christy and myself, and it’s fun to see how our group grows each year.
Since my dad was there with his really nice camera, we also made sure to get some other group shots.
We hung out for a few more minutes in the beautiful autumn weather and then headed back home to start the fire and make dinner.
After cooking our dinner on the fire (which was actually successful for the first year, yay!) and having s’mores, we all toasted to our last night at French Creek together and had a good old fashioned fun night once the kids went to bed… 🙂
It was such a great weekend and I’m already looking forward to next time. I feel lucky to have family and friends who love to keep up with traditions. I hope we are still coming here when we’re in our 50s like my dad and his friends! Until next time, French Creek… I will miss you!
Past posts about French Creek