We went on another driving vacation. This time we took the van versus the pickup and camper. And we were gone for 10 days versus our 10-week adventure to Alaska two summers ago.
The decision to stay in hotels rather than campgrounds was finally made the night before our departure. It just came down to limited planning time. End of the school-year activities, getting the garden planted, the lawn mowed and a host of other activities and commitments resulted in going with more expensive accommodations. But it made for easier driving and packing with more elbow room and a DVD player for movies.
The reason for the trip? Emma’s high school graduation gift. She requested a trip to the East Coast rather than the typical graduation party. I had a slight problem with that idea at first. I thought we should celebrate with family and friends at an organized party. Then, I got over it. Less work for me. More fun for all six of us.
Here are some of my observations from our trip:
- Driving around the countryside, seeing rural farms, well-kept yards and homes on country roads — not the interstate — is one of my favorite things to do while on vacation. I love to just look at the scenery and find my “dream” home. I saw plenty of good possibilities, all with large front porches and blooming rhododendron and azalea bushes in the yard. The resort we stayed at in the Berkshire Mountains in western Massachusetts provided lots of opportunities for seeing the countryside when we went for drives in rural Massachusetts as well as upstate New York and Vermont.
- I am blessed to be able to do all of this scenery “gawking” because Marv enjoys driving. Once again, he did 95 percent of the wheel time on this trip.
- I’m also lucky he likes navigating using the GPS on his phone. I enjoy looking at the atlas to see the big picture, but I’m not particularly good at reading maps.
- Lots of snacks, electronic devices that are charged, DVD movies brought from home, and playing the license plate or ABC game all help alleviate boredom while in the vehicle.
- “Real” food, a large swimming pool, board games and more than one TV (Luke is not into the Food Network like the girls are) all help keep the kids happy after we’re checked into our accommodation.
- I hope I can offer hospitality like the kind extended to us by the two cousins we stayed with. We had let both of Marv’s cousins know that we were traveling East but didn’t make any definite plans. The Meyers have a rich history of celebrating family, and at times that means dropping in unannounced. I didn’t grow up like that, so when his relatives do that to us, I get a little irritated.
Upon connecting with Carolyn in New York and Janice in Connecticut, we were welcomed with big hugs, guided tours, home-cooked meals and beds to sleep in. Most of all though, they made us feel like our visit was way more important than anything else they might have had planned for the day. Yep, I definitely can learn a thing or two in the “Welcome Wagon” department from both of them — and their families — when it comes to offering hospitality.
And, like all vacations, they’re fun to go on, but it’s nice to be home. Enjoy home. Enjoy summer. Enjoy one another.
Rita Meyer is married and the mother of four children age 18 and under. She and her family are members of St. John the Baptist Parish in Meire Grove. Email her at email@example.com.