As spring inches its way toward summer, that restless feeling starts to settle in…the need to feel the freedom that only comes from soaking up some summer sun.
This summer, you could stay home and make day trips to attractions and activities in your own area, but what if you just want to get away? Getting away from it all forces us to slow down, sometimes for the first time in a long time, and allows us to focus on what really matters.
Last summer was a crazy, hectic summer at my house. We had family events, house guests and crazy overloaded work schedules. Before summer totally passed us by, we needed to get away…to just escape.
We also wanted our summer get-away to be simple and relatively inexpensive. So, we took a road trip—and it turned out to be one of the best family vacations we have ever had.
Given our eastern Canadian starting point, our road trip took us to northeastern Maine.
Just a few hours of driving (and a few pit stops) and we were there. For an entire week, we lived in a cottage beside a lake and learned its rhythms. We went swimming and canoeing in the lake, and hiking at nearby Acadia National Park (which is a bargain at only $20 for a one-week pass). We also took a day trip to Freeport for outlet shopping.
All of the activity was great, but the things that really stuck with us were the simple things:
Like going to sleep listening to crickets chirping outside the windows.
Like waking to the sound of loons on the lake.
Like watching the sun rise early one morning while an eagle flew overhead and a flock of ducks swam and quacked nearby.
Like watching the kids catch frogs.
Like having bonfires every night and making s’mores.
Like eating lobster fresh from the sea earlier that day.
Like talking and laughing as a family.
Like not having internet or cable. Gasp. (You may not be able to conceive of being unplugged for an entire week. Or you may be like me, needing a break from other people’s expectation that you will be constantly connected. No computer, no e-mail, no cell phone signal—unless I stood on one side of the picnic table and pointed my phone northeast.)
Trust me on this.
While there is much to be said for elaborate vacations to exciting destinations, sometimes the best vacations can be had within a few hours’ drive of home.
If it’s been a while, or if you’ve never taken a summer road trip, make this your year. If you have absolutely no idea where you could go, then think about how far you would like to drive and pick a direction. Chances are, you’ll find somewhere to pitch your tent, park your trailer, or rent the perfect vacation spot.
What really matters, after all, is just spending time with the people you love and enjoying the beauty of summer.
That’s what it’s all about.
Terri Tremblett is a writer and editor who also works in finance and dabbles in various artistic pursuits. She is a foodie and health detective who has not yet mastered the art of walking by a book store without going in. Her education did not end when she finished university, as her life regularly proves.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel