“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver
June crept up on me very quietly, and it is finally sinking in that my oldest has only three days remaining as a kindergartener! It feels like just days ago I put her on her first school bus. But now she is a seasoned rider, hopping on and off and asking me to “stand back a ways, Mom, that’s what other kids’ moms do”.
With all of this transition going on, not to mention a busy spring with my work, our house projects, Hawaii trip, preparing for a summer of Kids Club, camps, swimming, and soccer, (and yes, squeezing in some fun enjoying our amazing warm weather), I find myself WAY behind in my duties as family travel agent and cruise director!
Our whole family loves to travel. The hubby and I used to do a lot of it pre-kid, and though we slowed down a bit during the “baby years” we seem to have come out on the other side unscathed! We’ve been lucky enough to take our girls on a variety of fun trips, some in the city (Chicago last summer), some far more remote (a small town, Haines, in Alaska two summers ago for my brother’s wedding), and some very kid-centric (Disney, World & Land). But, that leaves the question: where to next?
First, my husband and I had to decide will it be city or country? The thrill of the great wide open a la the Grisowolds, possibly visiting a National Park? Or, perhaps the bustle of a great city like Manhattan, letting our girls enjoy a hotel pool, museums, and Central Park? I realized that at ages four and six-years-old the big city might be a bit ambitious. Not to mention, with timing likely to be late summer at this point, it will also be ungodly hot and sticky – and all three of us girls are like wilting flowers when the thermometer reads over 80 degrees! Yes, this also means no trips south of the Mason-Dixon line. Florida, Texas, and Arizona are best left for winter break in this family.
I’ve just begun my research but am getting excited just reading about all of these great vacation spots:
Seattle/Vancouver/Whistler – A nice mix of activity and quiet, we’d fly into Seattle, maybe spend a day or two, then off to Vancouver, and maybe take a passenger train to Whistler. The girls would love the train ride and we could relax rather than drive. Once in Whistler it would be a more relaxed schedule by the lake or pool, wandering the town, walking the trails, canoeing, and taking in the amazing scenery! And of course, a big plus, great food in all three stops. I like this option because none of us has been to Whistler.
San Francisco/Yosemite – Spend a couple of days in SF, then drive out to Yosemite and stay in a resort near the park. Unfortunately, at this late date one of the best spots, the historic Ahwahnee is fully booked – people in the know reserve almost a year in advance to secure a room at this hotel IN the park. But, there are still openings in a few lodges and resorts just outside. The reason this one is my second choice is because of the crowd-factor. I know Yosemite is one of the top summer vacation spots so we may want to forgo and try it another time in spring or fall instead.
Those are the leads right now, but I’m also still doing more digging on Yellowstone National Park, and Mackinac Island or Madeline Island in Michigan (I’ve heard good things about both, and they seem like very “old school Americana” restful vacation spots). Since this is a family vacation, the operative word being “family” I think our girls will have the most fun on a trip where there is actually less to do and more time spent relaxing and playing together. Those seem to have been some the keys to past successful trips and the ones where we ALL come back feeling reconnected and refreshed from our adventures together. If any of you readers have suggestions on places or on activities, lodging, etc., for the cities I’m looking into I’d love to hear it, thanks!