It’s been a busy summer for the Chicks. We’ve been to writing conferences, family reunions, book jail, and camping! All of this traveling has made us reminisce about our all-time fave vacations. Travel with us down memory lane.
St.John in the U.S. Virgin Islands when I was ten, at the Caneel Bay Plantation resort (it’s still there, and looks exactly the same). We took a creaky plane I’d never step foot on now, where the luggage went in the back and the passengers held onto a rope. The staff brought in live conch shells from the ocean outside our room and strung them on clothesline in the sun to extract the crazy alien creatures, which were then served as conch soup in the dining room. Checkers in the shade, steel drums at night, endless bottles of rum (the place used to be a sugar plantation), and our breakfast waiter Gregoire always peeled oranges just for me at the table. (I’ve cast him as the Hibiscus Pointe sous chef in The Ladies Smythe & Westin.) And oh yeah–some clueless guy waded onto a reef, stepped on a spiny sea urchin, jumped up in pain, and came down on another one with the other foot. He almost drowned. I was probably taking notes for a future murder mystery plot. I need to sell more books, because I’d kill to go back!!! (GoFundMe page in 3-2-1…)
My favorite childhood vacation memories aren’t about the destination, but rather the journey. I remember driving to my aunt’s timeshare in the Poconos. It felt like forever. It probably was less time than it sometimes takes me to get to work. I remember road trips to visit my mom’s family in Michigan. She’d pack the car so tight with food and toys that we literally couldn’t move in the back seat. We were squished but we sure weren’t hungry! Perhaps my favorite road trips were with my grandparents. They’d always drive us to family reunions in Virginia and, sometimes, Indiana. And we would always stop at Shoney’s. Always! For 10-year-old me, that was probably the main reason to go on the trip. I haven’t been to one in years, but every time I hear the name, I can’t help but smile.
When I was a kid, my parents would put us to bed in our clothes and then we’d leave on our family vacations – which were always driving vacations – at three in the morning so my dad could beat the traffic wherever we were going. I adored those early morning departures as a kid. I’ll never forget watching the sun rise over the Pennsylvania Turnpike on our way to Williamsburg, VA. My mother, an Italian immigrant, loved visiting historical sites in America, and instilled that passion in me. Williamsburg was like my version of Disneyland, but my favorite memory from that trip was when I pretended to be sick because I needed a break from my family. They all went off touring and left me to wander the hotel by myself at the tender age of eight or nine. Yes, people did that back in the day. I can still see the vending machines I played with and the pool I swam in – all without any adult supervision. That day gave a sense of blindly confident independence that annoys people like my husband to this day.
When I was a kid, family vacations entailed driving to an adjoining state in a station wagon, so my love of travel didn’t kick in until much later. So what’s my favorite vacation? I can’t choose! I do have a soft spot for road trips, and since my parents never had much patience for tacky tourist attractions, I kind of love them. The Wigwam Motel, the Weeki Wachee mermaids, the World’s Largest Skillet, the Cabazon Dinosaurs—these are all things that I’ve checked off my bucket list. So when I was driving in Canada and saw a sign that said simply, “Goats on the Roof” with an arrow directing me to turn left, you can bet I did! I wasn’t disappointed, either. About two dozen goats were grazing up over our heads on the sodded roof, welcoming us to come in and buy souvenir tee shirts. Upon re-reading what I’ve just written, it occurs to me that I am easily amused.
Readers, drop us a note in the comments below! What was your favorite vacation?
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