Best Vacation Memories/What's Your Dream Vacation Now

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Best Vacation Memories/What's Your Dream Vacation Now

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Jul 1, 2009, 2:31 pm

Mckait said "Start new topics!" and I obey.

Did you have a particularly memorable vacation experience as a child?

What's been your favorite vacation so far?

What would be your dream vacation?

Please post.

Jul 1, 2009, 2:55 pm

In the summer of 1960, when I was eight, we drove around Lake Michigan, counterclockwise, starting from Chicago where we lived. I still remember a wooden shoe store in Holland, Michigan, and my two-year-old sister getting sick from too many potato chips in the car. The highlight was Mackinac Island, which is perched right at the top of the lake. No cars were allowed; everyone used bicycles or horses. We only spent one day there. I have wanted to go back ever since, so I guess a stay at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island would have to be (one of) my dream vacation(s).

Jul 1, 2009, 3:05 pm

Phaedra, we did the same thing about 1962. I was about 7. It was the height of cherry season and cherry pie is one of my favorite foots. I ate it at every opportunity and at the end of two weeks, I couldn't say, "cherry pie." It was the only time I've had enough cherry pie.

Jul 1, 2009, 5:34 pm

That sound fun, phaedra :)

Nice topic aruba !

To be honest, I am not much of a traveler. I went to Wales once.. for nearly three weeks. I guess that I can say that it is the farthest I have ever been, and I had some interesting experiences. I went to visit a woman I met on another site.
She seemed very interesting and nice and intelligent.

She was ... except when it cam to rearing her daughter, the spawn of satan.
There is way too much to tell you here.. but let me say just a few things..

she refused to bathe the entire time I was there ( nearly three weeks, I left early) She refused to leave her mothers side, even to go to school. She kept taking off all of her clothes and dancing around stark naked. She was a nasty little thing to the one and only friend she had. She refused to at anything at all except pasta and gravy, and only at 10 pm. The rest of the day she ate from the "candy drawer".

I spent a lot of time traveling on my own, to get away from her..
paid for my lodging with meals I bought and cooked each day..

and that is just a few of the highlights.. ( did I mention she took a riding crop to her mom? and mom allowed it ?)

Editado: Jul 1, 2009, 6:00 pm

I like the choice of topic -- I was thinking of something along the same lines, travel, what you've enjoyed (maybe a worst vacation story, too), what you'd like to do. But, can we work some books into it if they're relevant?

I can't say I ever had a vacation as a child. My father didn't believe in such frivolity; he worked practically 24/7/365, except for occasional pauses to eat (quickly) and sleep. We never traveled until I went to check out colleges, and I think he hated every minute of the trip. Maybe that's why I love to travel so much! :-)

I'd have to give some thought to the favorite vacation and the dream vacation, though.

It wasn't a dream or my favorite, but we did have a nice vacation this past Christmas. We drove down to Florida to visit my in-laws at their condo (we get along great) and the weather was superb. We left our son with his grandparents so we could spend a night in Key West (a fabulous place). Driving the Overseas Highway is an incredible experience. We stopped at Bahia Honda State Park to view the old bridge, and at the Florida Keys Memorial (hurricane of 1935) in Islamorada. I had just read Hemingway's Hurricane, so that was fitting.

On the way home to PA, we spent two nights in a nice-but-inexpensive oceanfront room in Daytona Beach Shores. The Daytona highlights: 1) I went on a "ghost tour" of Daytona Beach with Dusty Smith, and bought three of her books Haunted Daytona Beach, Haunted Deland, and Paranormal Investigator.

2) I actually got to drive on the beach, where they used to run the stock car races before they built the speedway. It was the most absolutely gorgeous morning. Book connection: Daytona: from the birth of speed...

A quick stop in South Carolina, and then we were home. Not a dream, probably not my favorite, but a nice trip with good memories!

(The touchstone is not working properly for Paranormal Investigator. I tried to edit and fix it, and the whole touchstone thing froze up "loading," so I gave up.)

Jul 1, 2009, 5:59 pm

I am trying to think of a dream vacation too.
A cabin on a lake, near a mountain. Internet service and shower a must.
My dog has to come.

Seriously, my best time away from home is when I go to visit my kids.

I loved the days I spent in Galisteo NM with Giva...

Jul 1, 2009, 6:02 pm

>4 mckait: Your story sounds like it qualifies for my suggested "worst vacation" topic! Oh, my, my!

Jul 1, 2009, 6:03 pm

Interesting concept this "vacation" thingy. Maybe I should try it some time.

Jul 1, 2009, 6:05 pm

>2 PhaedraB: & 3 That drive around the lake sounds wonderful! Did you see lighthouses? There are many of them on the Great Lakes, and lighthouse photography is one of my hobbies. I'd love to do that drive!

Jul 1, 2009, 6:10 pm

tymfos... you have a point. I wrote all of the STUFF down on the trip home. I have a journal that tells where we went.. and what I did and then the rest of it is all about the child.. and more.

Jul 1, 2009, 6:11 pm

Well it was 1962, after all, so I'm not sure if we saw lighthouses on that trip. But my husband and I used to sail up the Michigan side of Lake Michigan in the summers. We were quite familiar with lighthouses and other land (?) marks.

Jul 1, 2009, 6:25 pm

>9 tymfos: No, I really don't remember any lighthouses.

I hate to say it, but in spite of having lived on a Great Lake and in North Carolina, I have never fallen into the Cult of the Lighthouse. I know it exists, I know many people participate in it, but I just don't get it.

(Unlike, of course, any of my little obsessions, which are all perfectly sensible and understandable. ;-)

Jul 2, 2009, 3:05 pm

My most memorable vacation was not necessarily the best. We never took vacations when we were young (no money!), but in 1976, my parent decided to drive to South Dakota (from St. Louis) in a pickup truck with a camper shell & 6 children. It was definitely the trip from hell. When we had planned a night in a hotel, we got there in the middle of a convention where there were no rooms, and ended up sleeping in the truck in a parking lot. We went to the Badlands and at least 3 of us got car-sick. We decided to camp out one night, set up our tents, then went to the greyhound races. When we came back, it had stormed and everything we had set out was soaked through. Again, we slept in the truck. It was so awful, but when we talk about vacations now, it gets the bulk of the conversations.

Jul 2, 2009, 3:09 pm

(I hate making these posts too long, I'm afraid no one will read them). My favorite vacation was the one the boys & I took the summer their dad left. He was a fairly rigid sort of person, so we decided to take a spontaneous vacation. We drove through Arkansas, visiting every little podunk tourist trap we could find, stopping when we wanted to, getting lost and realizing we were capable of finding our own way back. We went to Dogpatch, and toured "Civil War Caves" and had just about the most relaxed vacation ever.

Jul 3, 2009, 9:19 am

My dad never grasped the concept of camping in comfort so as a kid our camping trips were not my favourite thing, but I must say they were memorable. One night in particular stands out as the banks of the Narrabri overflowed into our tent and we were forced to pack up in the dark with sopping sleeping bags and a tent trying to fly away in the wind and rain. Luckily, my opinion of camping changed once I took a few trips with my husband's family, who were experienced campers and knew how to pack a few mod cons. Our own children say they look back on the family camping trips as some of their happiest childhood experiences but I have to say that these days I'm quite happy to settle into a motel bed for the night.

Jul 3, 2009, 8:37 pm

I've been thinking about the "dream vacation" idea. I think maybe my dream vacation (truly a "dream" because I'll probably never get it) would be to visit the British Isles.

I'd like to tour London and take in all the famous places. I'd like to see Lands End. I'd like to visit Manchester, where my paternal grandfather's family originated, and travel through Ireland and visit the origins of my paternal grandmother's family. Yes, you read that right -- my Dad came from a mixed Irish Catholic and English Protestant marriage, in an era when that just wasn't DONE! (Any wonder I'm always fighting for something or other?)

Jul 4, 2009, 6:58 am

Ahh tymfos, you and I should really get together for a chat!! My grandparents had the same mixed marriage and the story goes that the horses were let loose from the sulky in an attempt to prevent the wedding, so it's no wonder my grandmother looked as if she was attending a funeral in the photos instead of her wedding. However, it would seem that there are many skeletons in the family closet and I would love to visit Ireland one day and learn more about the country from which my great grandparents originated.

Jul 4, 2009, 7:02 am

....don't forget Stonehenge.. I would not mind seeing that!

Jul 4, 2009, 10:28 am

Yes, definitely Stonehenge.

Jul 4, 2009, 11:32 am

> 17 imager, the story about the horses on your grandparents' wedding day is awesome! I have no such tales to relate (though I've heard a lot about my Dad getting pulled over by a policeman for speeding to his and Mom's wedding!)

But the desire to see the "home country" is there. I've heard that it's got gorgeous countryside. (There's a reason they call Ireland the "Emerald Isle.")

Jul 4, 2009, 3:06 pm

Stonehenge is awesome!! I will forever be grateful that my family visited it before they fenced it off; we were able to go inside and go all over it. Unfortunately, the monument has suffered considerable damage from less considerate tourists, so these days you can only view it from a distance. :-(

Jul 4, 2009, 3:26 pm

so I have heard, SC, a shame . Still....

Jul 4, 2009, 3:41 pm

Oh, of course, still worth going!

Jul 5, 2009, 10:10 pm

When I was young, vacations often meant driving from suburban Maryland to visit my father's parents in Lowell, Mass., which back then took most of a day to drive. My three sisters and I would amuse ourselves by trying to "collect" license plates from all the states. Other than that, we'd occasionally go to Ocean City.

I think my favorite vacation was the cruise we took last May for our 30th anniversary. We went up the inside passage of Alaska in one of the small boats that can get into the bays and arms where the larger boats can't go. We saw whales, wolves, sea lions, calving glaciers, all sorts of cool stuff.

My dream vacation would be Ireland. I'd like to see where my family came from and explore the whole place. Of course while there we might as well spend some time in England, run over to the continent for a couple of months,...

Editado: Jul 6, 2009, 1:54 am

When I was a kid, at least one week of vacation was usually spent at the Jersey shore - Lavallette - convenient, since we ~lived~ in NJ. I've got a story about me on the boardwalk during a hurricane, but other than the fact that I was not quite two years old (and alone), it'd take too much of your time to relate. I liked the shore, mostly, but it got kind of monotonous.

I also recall spending a week at a great-aunt's house in Rifton, NY. Dad took us fishing under the bridge of the NY Thruway. Nearby was a covered wooden bridge. My great-aunt did an oil painting of that bridge, and I've now got it hanging in my bedroom. Stuck in one corner of it is a photo of my mother with the covered bridge in the background. I mostly remember that vacation for two reasons. One is that one of my brothers accidentally whacked me in the forehead with a baseball bat. The other is another long, involved story.

As I teen, I used to spend summer vacation with a cousin and his family on the Delaware River, in a town called Calicoon - about 30 miles west of the original Woodstock festival. We did a lot of canoeing, and it's where we had our last Family Reunion.

My first wife and I took a 'vacation' (from both of us being unemployed) by doing a 7-week bicycle trip from northern NY to Pensacola, Fla. Now, that was an experience!!!

I took my now-wife (MrsHouseLibrary) on a 3-week vacation in '05 to the northeast - places I used to live, where I went to college (the Adirondacks), the place in Calicoon (where the oldest daughter now lives permanently), and 2 whole weeks in NYC.

In '07, MrsHouseLibrary did a 1-week cruise to Alaska, and tacked an extra day on the end so we could go through bookstores in Seattle.

I can't seem to pick a 'favorite'. Definitely not the one involving the baseball bat, though...

ETA: I don't have any place that I'd really lose any sleep over if I never got to see it. I don't get excited over the idea of traveling.

Jul 6, 2009, 6:22 am

{{WHL}} I have been missing you around the forums.. So happy to see you here.

All I can say about your bicycle trip is ouch.

Jul 6, 2009, 2:02 pm

We took a 2-week vacation every summer from the time I was about 5 until I turned 13. We always went to Lake Isabella in Kern County California and camped and fished. We had an Army-Navy Surplus tent that slept the 5 of us comfortably with sleeping bags and cots, a Coleman stove, Coleman ice chest, and Coleman lantern, and that was pretty much it for amenities. We fished from the crack of dawn until about 10 am, hung around the camp, then went back fishing from about 4 until it too got dark to fish. Then back to the camp, dinner, and bed. Dad and the three kids loved it; I think, in hindsight, that my mother pretty much hated it. But at the time we didn't know that.

We also took the train when I was about 6 from California to Iowa to visit my grandmother (mother's mother) for a week or so. I loved that visit.

Dream vacation now? To go to all 4 Tennis Grand Slams and have Centre Court or the equivalent seating the whole time or to be able to see any match I want on any court. To stay in a very very nice hotel close to the venue, have access to all the shopping, restaurants, and touristy things available.

Or, alternate dream vacation is to go to every county in every state and every country in the world necessary to continue my genealogical research. To have unlimited time and $$ to do this.

Jul 6, 2009, 3:44 pm

After having been on a cruise (three of them) Caribbean, The Med -- Spain to Turkey, and Alaska, it earns top spot on my vacation desire list. I do enjoy the wandering journey format too (getting in the car and just driving and making it up as you go along). That is a vacation that is better by yourself or with one other person. It also can be limited by time and cash.

Editado: Jul 6, 2009, 3:50 pm

I can't think of any one vacation I've had that's my "favorite," but (as per the thread's actual title) I can name some "best vacation memories."

A lot of them are in the Adirondacks. (We vacation there a lot; my husband has family a few hours away, and we usually leave our son for a visit with the grandparents for a few days of "alone together" time.): Climbing Blue Mountain and FINALLY reaching the summit; Big Tupper Lake at sunset; dinner at the restaurant at Stillwater with hummingbirds hovering nearby (you travel 10 miles on a dirt road to get there); time spent at the Big Moose Inn; the Adirondack Scenic Railroad.

One night, we took a moonlight bluegrass cruise on Raquette Lake. The music was fun. Then we went out on the upper deck and looked at the stars. It was an absolutely clear night, and in the non-light-polluted skies of the Adirondacks, you could actually see the Milky Way. I've never seen stars like that, before or since. Awesome!

Jul 8, 2009, 9:25 am

tloeffler (13): The tie that binds! Hard things that you survive together. Our family has that same binding tie. The pickup with the camper shell, bunches of kids (having caravaned with cousins and grandparents), even the rain and the badlands! Our trip, however, did not end at South Dakota, but at "Gaudry's Trailer Park" (Great job brain - you give me that, but not my car keys?) on some lake in Canada, which destination was picked by the men in the family for the fishing possibilities. And which, though as ugly a place as could be imagined, DID have the distinction of actual shower rooms! The date of our trip is unforgettable - July 1969 - as we were also glued to the radio listening for news of the moon landing.

And as karenmarie said (27): "I think, in hindsight, that my mother pretty much hated it. But at the time we didn't know that."

Editado: Jul 8, 2009, 9:59 am

tymfos (9) reminded me of another memorable vacation. Growing up, some of my favorite reads were about Maine, starting with Blueberries for Sal. Since we couldn't afford a honeymoon at the time of our actual marriage, we saved up and planned for a vacation in Maine a couple of years later. We hail from Nebraska, but were living in upstate New York during this planned-for time. I recall, during a phone conversation with my mother, telling her that we were going to Maine for vacation that summer. "Oh, that sounds like fun." Then she asked to talk to my husband. Which conversation apparently went something like: "I've always wanted to go to Maine. Can I come, too?" "Sure!" But, HE thought she was just making conversation. And SHE was as serious as she could be. So, she CAME!

And we did have a lovely vacation, driving up highway 1, picnicking at lobster pounds every single day, stopping at the lighthouses.

I always wanted to go again, especially now that the age of the internet makes planning so much better. Alas, 27 years later, and it is still only a dream. My father, however, says that we created a monster. For Mama goes back every chance she gets! Once, she talked my father into going with her, but that became a camping along the way trip (Oklahoma to Maine!), with cooking at the campsite every day. So after that, she coaxed different daughters and her quilting friends to do the trip with her - no cooking required!

eta: when posting in FF, my touchstones never load...

Jul 8, 2009, 10:29 am

Inside Passage cruise! My favorite, too, Jim53 (24), but our memories of it have a sad dimension. Our cruise was in celebration of our 20th anniversary. We had been planning to drive, counting the costs of gas, food, hotels. One day hubby came home and said, "what about a cruise, instead?". My mind having been tainted by "Love Boat" tv, I was SO disheartened. I did NOT want a cruise. But the bottom line showed that it would be less than half the cost of our previous plans, AND no cooking. I was reluctantly persuaded.

We 'sailed' from Vancouver on September 10, 2001, and woke up in our room the next morning to the news of the World Trade Center. It was surreal - our eyes taking in the pristine beauty which surrounded us, and our ears the ugly truth of what was going on in the world. There must have been ripple effects to some of our fellow passengers. I recall one couple coming back on board, telling how their helicopter flight-seeing tour was commanded out of the sky: "Either you GET down, or we'll SHOOT you down". We had planned no expensive side trips, so did not lose out in that way.

We definitely noticed the difference on the flight home from Anchorage, though. We were the only passengers on the plane! My husband asked the crew why the plane was empty. "People are afraid to fly." Hubby says, "That doesn't make any sense. With all the extra diligence, this is probably the safest few days anyone will ever fly in this country." So the steward tells us we can sit anywhere. Hubby says, "first class?" Steward: "anywhere else."

Jul 8, 2009, 11:17 am

For our parents' 50th wedding anniversary, we 'kids' sent them on an Inside Passage cruise. But, ya know, they're gettin' old, so somebody REALLY should go along to help out. ;-) Hubby said, "as the oldest child, you should go, and take a sister with you to split the cost." So, we did.

A highlight of this cruise was taking a whale watching tour with Captain Jack on his boat, the SCANIA, based out of Juneau. I mention him by name, because, if you ever get a chance to go, THIS is the man to go with. (And I talked with many 'captains' from several ports.) I felt so sorry for the cruise line passengers who'd signed up for a whale watching tour, packed like sardines in their boat. While our party of four had the freedom of the SCANIA, walking about outside, or seated comfortably in the cabin, enjoying the delicious smoked salmon spread and champagne. At one point, one of the whales came up right beside me, close enough to touch, had I not been too startled to avail myself of the opportunity!

Jim53 (24), did you do your whole inside passage cruise in the small boat, or was it a side trip taken from one of the big ship ports? I would love to hear more about your trip! (Yeah, hoping to go back again...)

Jul 8, 2009, 12:00 pm

countrylife, we spent the whole cruise on the small ship. We got onto one that came when they were moving the ships north for the season, so we got a couple of extra days. It was run by Cruise West, who make a big deal of how different it is from the big ships. It's also a good bit pricier, but this is what we really wanted for our anniversary and our first cruise ever. We got to go into Glacier Bay, Tracy Arm, and some other places where I guess the huge ships can't go. We were the second youngest couple on board, which I guess would be the case on many cruises. There were some folks who went on CW cruises every year and sounded like salespeople spouting the party line. Maybe they were trying to convince themselves. I haven't drunk that particular kool-aid, although we really, really enjoyed the cruise.

I'm so sorry to hear about your experience in 2001!

Jul 8, 2009, 12:18 pm

Tymfos, if you decide to go on a trip around the Great Lakes, be sure to consider stopping at St. Joseph, Michigan (website: It's my hometown and SO beautiful. Silver Beach was voted recently as one of the best in the world by a major travel magazine, and right next to it is my favorite beach, Lion's Park (but go to Silver if you want to swim). There are nice, free concerts on the weekend, quaint shops to visit, and great restaurants. We are located right across the lake from Chicago (about 2 hours away).

My husband and I already had our dream vacation for our 20th anniversary. We went to Negril, Jamaica (Couples Swept Away). Everything was PERFECT! We were upgraded at no charge to just a few steps from the water. The food and entertainment were unbeatable.

Jul 8, 2009, 4:17 pm

.>31 countrylife: countrylife, I do hope you get another trip to Maine. It's another place with lots of good vacation memories for me. We've been there a few times -- like you, we did Highway 1, the lobster, and the lighthouses (but no Mom with us).

> 35 itbgc, I visited the St. Joseph website. In addition to all the lovely things you mentioned, I see they have winery tours and a Chocolate Cafe, too. (The chocolate might be enough to win my husband over to make a visit there ;-)

Jul 8, 2009, 8:27 pm

When I was a kid, we visited relatives in the US every two years. We stayed on my grandmother's farm in Louisiana where we got to ride horses, fish in the pond, milk a cow, swim in a creek, and see TV. There was no TV in Aruba then. I remember watching Bonanza and The Dick van Dyke show. Then we visited my father's brothers and sisters in western NY. We rented a cottage on Cuba Lake, where we found the water icy cold. We were thrilled that sometimes the nights were cool enough that you could see your breath--quite a novelty.

My most unique vacation was a one week bus tour of Malaysia on a bus driven by a mad Chinese driver. My boyfriend (now husband) was visiting me in Singapore, where my family was then living, and we saw an ad in the paper for a bus tour, one week all inclusive for $60, so we signed up. All the other tourists (and guide) were Chinese and no one other than ourselves spoke English. We somehow communicated, and visited every Buddhist temple in Malaysia from Malacca to Penang (and a few Buddhist monastaries).

My dream vacation would be a tour of the world's great art museums to see all my favorite art in person.

Jul 13, 2009, 2:33 pm

Vacation memories… we didn’t tend take ‘family vacations’ when I was a child, although getting sent off (via train) to stay with the grandparents for the summer was pretty good.

Some of my best vacation memories are from trips taken to various parts of Britain with my sister, and in particular doing, um, somewhat unusual things - like climbing Glastonbury Tor before dawn, small folk-harp on shoulder, to play in the dawn; crawling into a chambered cairn on Orkney, same small harp slung under me, to straighten up and play inside the 4,000 year old cairn; wandering around the Calanais stone circle in the twilight and rain, with some kind of night-birds crying overhead; climbing the Dunadd hill-fort *twice* in one day, because we missed the Pictish boar-carving the first time…. That sort of thing. ;-)

I’m *very* glad I did some of those climbing-up-this-or-that adventures in my forties, 'cause I’m not at *all* sure the anatomy is up for it now. (sigh)

We’re planning on going to Ireland in the fall – have to see what I can get into there.

Jul 13, 2009, 2:34 pm

Aruba, your Malaysian tour reminds me of riding the local buses on St. Thomas, complete with bags of squawking chickens in the luggage rack, and a woman holding a small pink piglet like a baby.

Jul 13, 2009, 5:16 pm

wow, some great trips recounted here!