Happy Friday, friends! School is almost out and we are getting into vacation mode around these parts. Delilah has one week left at her pre-school and she is getting ready to celebrate her last week with water balloons, jumpy jumps, snow cones, face paint and a sweet field trip to the Butterfly Exhibit. It feels surreal that our baby is graduating from pre-k. This school has been her second home away from home since she was a wee fourteen weeks old. I still remember the day we dropped our bright eyed babe off at daycare for the first time. I was an emotional mess and was pretty sure I couldn’t make it through. Now I look back and I am so happy that she has had the opportunity to meet such wonderful people and friends, some of which will be attending her elementary school with her in the Fall. She is so well rounded and balanced and has learned so many things from everyone around her. They have all helped shape her strong personality and for that I am so grateful. Lilah is elated that summer is here and is ready to start her kindergarten experience with amazing teachers, pupils and a super fabulous principal.
This is the first summer that she will be home everyday with her mama and baby brother and we are determined to make it one to remember. We have grand plans to head down to the beach for a few days, relax poolside with friends and hang in the back yard with sprinklers and popsicles. If you are in the same boat and are looking to make this summer one for the books we have the perfect family spot that will WOW both parents and kiddos. We just got back from a memorable trip to Jamaica where the hubby and I were able to enjoy ourselves while the kiddos had a blast doing arts and crafts, treasure hunts, water sports and tie dying. Are you wondering how it is even possible to have adult time amongst two babies who are on the go all day? Are you wondering how we were able to kayak, snorkel and drink fruity cocktails by ourselves and then meet the babes for a delicious meal on the water? Let me tell ya, The Franklyn D. Resort was a quaint and rustic oasis that allowed the hubby and I a real vacation without having to miss the babies. The answer to your question is a fabulous NANNY service! Not just any nanny service, but the kindest most attentive nanny service that you could only imagine is included in your all inclusive stay at The Franklyn D. Resort, winning!
This was our first trip to Jamaica and we had high expectations of crystal blue water, soft sand beaches, brightly colored flowers and lush gardens, all of which did not disappoint. The Franklyn D. Resort is located in Runaway Bay a little over an hour by bus from the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. With small children we are a bit picky when it comes to vacay spots due to the tavel time in the air. I don’t know about you but a fussy baby on a plane gives me nightmares and the lesser amount of travel time to our destination is always a good thing, in our opinion. A non-stop flight from BWI was a feasible three hours making travel time not so bad and easily achievable, even with a teething Sawyer. In fact, we were quite lucky. Sawyer took his morning nap for two thirds of the flight duration and Lilah was well occupied with a few Barbies and coloring books.
After landing at Sangster we grabbed our luggage and boarded a large and very clean Charter bus that, get this, encouraged the hubby and I to sip on rum punches while we took in all the sights on the way to Runaway Bay. I can totally understand the name for Runaway Bay as I thought to myself how lovely it would be to just runaway with our little family and live on this beautiful part of this Caribbean Island. The name is spot on for this laid back piece of sunny heaven. After making a couple stops to drop off other passengers at their resorts we pulled into our gated family haven, The Franklyn D. Resport & Spa.
Our initial reaction to this resort was small, colorful, rustic, quaint, not fancy, but the views….oh, the views were spectacular! We were greeted by welcoming desk clerks who made us feel immediatly at home and genuinely happy to be of service to our family while we got settled into our Jamaican adventure. They graciously took our bags, gave us some water and led us on a tour of the tropical grounds. We were in awe of the ocean views from the Honeycomb Shore restaurant, the central hub of this resort. We quickly noticed the other patrons that were enjoying this resort, some adults lounging poolside with cocktails, others playing with their children and nanny’s on the beach and others taking part in the entertainment at the newly renovated bar area. They all looked happy, relaxed and content enjoying this family orientated atmosphere.
After our tour we were led back to our two bedroom beach front suite that had one amazing view of palms trees, blue skies and crystal blue water. We were on the second floor, making the view of the ocean all the more enchanting. Beneath our balconies, yes there was two, were colorful hammocks a top soft sand that made for the perfect reading nook. The room had two good sized bedrooms, one boasting a queen sized bed, updated television with small sofa and bathroom. The other, perfect for children, included two colorful twin beds, small sitting sofa, updated television, and another full bathroom for the kiddos to share. This room also comfortably fit a crib for Sawyer that was dressed with fresh linens and awaiting Sawyer’s first vacay nap. The main level was spacious and very clean with an L-shaped sofa, another twin bed, that Lilah often napped on mind-day, kitchen equipped with microwave and refrigerator, half bath and updated television. Off the main level were two spacious balconies that overlooked the colorful grounds, ocean, Sea Grape Spa and beach. The living quarters were perfection for our family and made settling into a routine easy peasy.
After unpacking we let the kiddos have some time to explore their new home for the week and then we were off to the Honeycomb Shore Restaurant for lunch and cocktail. This open-air dining room was stunning and gave the best vacay vibes with its international cuisine and colorful aesthetics. While eating a delicious meal the views of the ocean and authentic piers had the hubby and I in a very serene state and that’s when it hit us…..it was going to be a good week, a really gooooodddd week.
Moments after we finished our lunch and strolled the pier we saw a sweet woman walking towards us with the most honest smile. She introduced herself as Charlene and let us know she would be our nanny for the week. She greeted the children with a nurturing and heartwarming grin and bona fide hug. Ms. Charlene talked with Delilah for a while and then showed us around the resort a bit more, highlighting all of the fun spaces for the kids to play and where and when certain activities would be held for the children. Delilah’s face lit up like fireworks. The joy in her eyes and the excitement on her face was undeniable. She was so happy to have special activities that she could participate in without fear Sawyer may delay her plans. She had a new best friend, Ms. Charlene, and she was ready to tie dye and play in the Yellow Bird Kids Club until her little heart was ready for a rest, most days around 2 pm.
I have to say I am the parent who worries….a lot. I mean, I worry about strangers, crossing the street without looking, not eating the fruits and veggies, wandering off and all that jazz. I was concerned upon arrival that I may decide not to use a nanny service in fear the children wouldn’t be looked after the way the hubby and I watch them, feed them and love them. The first day with the nanny I found myself still a little anxious, nervous and apprehensive, this was new to me and I wasn’t sure I could relax. What if Sawyer has a melt down? What if Delilah doesn’t have enough sunscreen? I was constantly checking up on them only to find the children being entertained and watched very well. I went over how crazy I am about sunscreen to which Ms. Charlene noted she had already applied three times, scalp and all! Okay, I was impressed….she totally got me and I felt at ease. I walked back to the bar, sat next to the hubby, ordered a dirty banana and relaxed. The nannies we good, they cared and they were going to take exceptional care of Delilah and Sawyer…I felt it. The vacation started right then.
At the end of the day, 4:30 pm, Ms. Charlene delivered our children to us healthy, well fed and with huge grins of happiness. She went over everything they had eaten, played with, crafted and friends they had made at the pool and Yellow Bird Kids Club. Delilah told me over and over how much fun she had and how Ms. Charlene was so patient, loving and kind to them. This kid tells me everything, another quality that I love about her…there are no secrets! She had the best time with her nanny and Sawyer looked happily content with a belly full of watermelon and mac and cheese. Before Ms. Charlene left for the evening she tidied up our room, made our beds, cleaned the bathrooms and gave us fresh towels, snacks and water for our fridge. She even washed and cleaned Sawyer’s bottles….I looked at the hubby, and said, is this for real? I don’t even have to clean bottles? I was on cloud nine. The nannies, the beach, time with my husband, no bottle washing….can you say best vacay ever? It was time to get showered and go to dinner as a family. The first time in along time that we both felt rested and had a little tan.
The next morning Ms. Charlene knocked on our door at 8:30 AM. The beauty of this nanny service is that it’s included from 8:30-4:30 pm for your entire stay. They take a break from 12:30-1:30 and that is when the hubby and I would take the children for lunch, usually to The Honeycomb Shore Restaurant to spend some time with them before they retreated back with their new friends for some fun on the kids beach. Delilah couldn’t get back to her nanny soon enough. She was having so much fun enjoying her vacation that she didn’t have time to chat with mom and dad. She had things to do and friends to see, I got it! We were boring, exactly what the hubby and I wanted to be that week, relaxed, rested and boring. The nanny’s will also stay passed 4:30 for a mere $9 an hour….yes friends, $9 dollars and hour if you wish to have dinner and drinks with your spouse alone.
We opted for dinners alone on three different evenings and guess who was the most excited about this? You got it, our big girl who was ready to party the night away with her nanny. Delilah was ecstatic when Ms. Charlene got to take her and Sawyer to the Kids Dinner. Every night they have a separate kids area that is the sweetest little nook with colorful napkins, silver ware and all the yummy dishes that the children love to nosh on, macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers, peanut butter sandwiches, fresh fruit and the list goes on. After the kiddos are finished mingling and eating their meals they all head on over to the ice cream tree house for their favorite sprinkled scoop before taking part in the kids entertainment for the evening. Some evenings were movie nights, a treasure hunt, talent shows, bracelet making and Lilah’s favorite, the rain disco.
Franklyn D. Resort also has an option to add an additional nanny for your family for an affordable $25 per day. If you have multiple children that would benefit from more eyes while they partake in all of the fun activities, adding another nanny is a good way to go, especially if you have children with a large age difference who may be into different things. Ms. Charlene handled them both like a champ and very easily managed their needs together; however, with Sawyer being five years younger we thought Delilah may benefit if she had some undivided attention that wouldn’t be interrupted by Sawyer taking a bottle or needing to be strolled on the pier for a nap. We decided to add to our family for the week and that is when we met Ms. Shawn. Ms. Shawn made a seamless vacation even more seamless and she too was fantastic with our children. Delilah had uninterrupted big kid time in the pool and Sawyer had his breezy stroll by the water. The hubby and I ordered another drink and just like that we were having a real vacation…..all four of us.
While the babies were enjoying the resort with their incredible nannies the hubby and I were also taking in the breathtaking views and extra curricular’s that Franklyn D. Resort has to offer. We snorkeled a little ways from the beach with Captain Harry, who navigated the glass bottom boat to a location that was loaded with bright colored fish and coral. Captain Harry was awesome, and the longest tenured employee at FDR. He helped us put on our snorkels properly, thank goodness because the last time we snorkeled it didn’t go so well and I was determined to see some pretty fish this time around. Thanks to Captain Harry, it happened, we snorkeled successfully and had a blast.
We also spent an afternoon at The Blue Hole, a tourist spot with scenic tropical waterfalls and multiple swimming holes. This exursion was spectacular! To be honest, it made us feel like total badasses climbing over the rocks and running streams through tropical foliage. We made the decision to bring Delilah to this excursion and I will say she was a little scared and opted to not climb or swim. I ended up staying back with her while we watched her brave daddy do all the adventurous jumps and waterfall climbing. If I had to put an age on this excursion I would suggest The Blue Hole for ages 8 and up…unless your babe is fearless.
Kayaking was another fun activity that we did together while the babies had some fun in the pool with their nannies. This was our first time kayaking and it was so fun and such a workout. You can hop right in the kayak from the kids beach and take it down the shoreline for a gorgeous scenic experience- highly recommend! Amongst the fruity cocktails, bar games and mingling with our new friends, we enjoyed relaxing by the beach and a fantastic experience at The Sea Grape Spa. In the evening we often met up with our new friends for dinner at the various resturants and to watch the entertainment. The entertainment was wide-ranging, keeping the guests engaged. We honestly could not tell you our favorite performance as they were all high energy and riveting. From fire limbo to authentic Jamaican dancers, we were always entertained and encouraged to participate in the activities. I opted to shake it on the dance floor with “Big Mama” and it was thrilling and actually a tad liberating. The event coordinators did a fabulous job of interacting with the guests and making them feel comfortable. You know the event coordinator is amazing when the hubby sings karaoke….yes, that happened and more than once! My vacation was made.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Frank Rantz, the owner of The Franklyn D. Resort, who you can often find talking with the patrons during the day. It was a breath of fresh air to see him so present and approachable with his staff and visitors. Our conversation with him was enlightening and very much inspiring as he talked about his background and journey which led him to build FDR from the ground up.
After a week of happiness at FDR it was time to retreat back to our home base, Maryland. We had met some amazing new people, watched our little ones enjoy this island to the fullest and savored some much needed one on one time together in the Jamaican sun. We had an amazing experience at this family friendly resort and are looking forward to our next trip to FDR in the near future. If you are like us, wanting to travel with your kiddos but yearning for adult time as well, The Franklyn D. Resort is a must-have this season. Scroll down to view some of our favorite photos from our trip. Click here to view the rest of our camera roll. Have a fabulous Friday, everyone! Click here to view our travel story.
To Ms. Charlene and Ms. Shawn, we miss you and we thank you!