Summer vacations. What families (especially kids) look forward to all year. Days filled with no routine, junk food, fun excursions, outdoor activities, and lots of cable. Here are a few of our staff's favorite family vacation memories (complete with some throwback photos!) for you to enjoy.
My Dad took us on summer adventures while my Mom was working. Every summer he'd take us somewhere special - sometimes just the two of us. One year he took me to New York city. He took me to Vidal Sassoon to get my hair cut and I thought I was so fancy. Then we went to FAO Schwarz and got me a stuffed dog that I LOVED - it now lives in my daughter's room. That special time that the two of us shared in the Big Apple inspired me to do the same with my kids. I've taken both of my sons on solo trips to my favorite city in the world, and look forward to taking my daughter in the near future.
The summer of 2016’s vacation was one for the record books for the Kramers. After 14 years of nothing more than a weekend away because of work responsibilities at Lake Mary Life, we joined college friends who travelled from Connecticut to meet us in Sausalito, California for ten whole days. Situated halfway between San Francisco and the California wine country, each day was better than the day before. Temperatures in the 60s, ferry rides into San Fran, and several wine tours that we had purchased at the previous year’s Arts Alive in Seminole auction, made this a summer to remember. The highlight of the trip came on July 4. As we were being seated at a popular seafood restaurant, our hostess said, “This is your lucky day!” We were bewildered by the comment until we saw that we were being seated in a room with huge windows overlooking the bay. We drank wine, dined on lobster, and enjoyed the most fantastic display of fireworks that any of us had ever seen.
Every summer my mom would take time off work and take my younger brother and I to Blue Springs State Park. We would snorkel, rent tubes, and swim in the freezing cold water. But the best was renting canoes and having a blast making hilarious memories while paddling the St. John's River. We also spent a lot of time camping, boating, and fishing in the summer - which is probably where I get my love for the outdoors to this day.
For seven summers straight, beginning in 1996, my sister Joan and I piled all five – and later six – of our kids into her LandCruiser for an epic road trip. Destinations included various stops along the east coast from Rhode Island to Florida: Hilton Head, Providence, Cape Cod, Vero Beach, Asheville, Savannah, and Tybee Island. A meager shoestring budget didn't stop us from digging in wherever the wind blew, stopping when interest struck. All the chaos ensued in a 25-year-old pop-up camper we restored enough to have the bare minimum of comfort. Our kids thought we were living like kings. Memories have endured through their adulthood and are frequently revived during subsequent family get-togethers. In fact, several recounted these amazing summers with their cousins in their college essays as important life lessons. (Photo: Our summer visit to Hilton Head circa 1996)
My grandparents used to own a timeshare in St. Augustine, so every year my family of six and my aunt’s family of five used to pile into the small, two-bedroom condo for a week at the beach. During the day, we lived in our bathing suits and bounced between swimming and relaxing at the beach/pool and coming indoors to watch old movies or Wimbledon while dripping wet in front of the TV. At night, us kids would be lining the floor in sleeping bags, looking forward to whatever grand breakfast my dad had in mind for the morning.
My favorite childhood memories are going to Cape Cod. We started when I was little and would bring our pop-up camper and then moved on to rental houses. We would start the car ride from Connecticut with my sister and I would dividing up the change my parents had saved up all year coin by coin. We would make our first stop in a town called Sandwich where we would spend some of our change at a "penny" candy store. Of course that was when some candy really was a penny! Then we would head on to our campground called Maple Park and set up at site 1H. The most coveted spot! They had hayrides where the kids would dress up as Indians and "attack" the hayride wagons. We would spend the week going to be the beach, swimming in the lake, and hanging out with the families that would come year after year.
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