JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I just got back from our family's summer vacation. Living in Maine, we don't go far; up the coast to Pemaquid, where, thanks to the generosity of our friends Dan Hunter and Mary Anne Moison, we stay at a former salt water farm overlooking Pemaquid Harbor.
There's no cell phone reception and extremely limited internet access, so our time there starts to resemble family get-togethers of a generation ago (if families a generation ago marathoned AMISH MAFIA.) We walk to the beach, to the local Point of Interest (Colonial Pemaquid), to the breakfast cafe, to the seafood restaurant. We go kayaking and read on the front porch and play croquet and Trivial Pursuit and endless card games. The only time we need to get back into the car is when making a food and supplies run to Reilly's, a general store with wood plank floors and a screen door than bangs when customers walk in and out.
My kids say they love these trips - at home we sometimes have to chivvy them to spend time together, but here they happily spend hours every day playing, laughing and joking with each other. My hope is these family holidays will be a well-loved memory for them as they become adults, and something they will recreate with their own families (or with us, when they bring the grandkids back to Maine!) (Someday.) (In the distant future.)
How about you, Reds? Did you/do you take family vacations? Do you have any vivid memories of trips you took with your parents?
ROSEMARY HARRIS: Alas I am an orphan and childless to boot. When I was young we were so poor that my mother had to draw swimsuits on us. But I do like kayaking and Trivial Pursuit so maybe Julia will let me come on her family vacation next year.
Seriously (sort of) we have over time brought Bruce's sons to Africa, Jost van Dyke, Alaska and Yosemite. We keep trying but then we are reminded of what one of them said once when we pointed out the rather spectacular wildebeest migration - "Yeah, Dad. Scenery."
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Julia, that sound so idyllic! I want to come, too! (Or maybe you could introduce us to your friends???)
JULIA: I know. We have great friends.
DEBORAH: The summer vacations of my childhood mostly consisted of long car trips to different parts of the country, and often to Mexico, which I loved. Then in my teens, my parents owned a house north of Hot Springs, Arkansas. It was a big golf/retirement community, but there were lakes and swimming and canoeing, lots of just sitting on the deck and reading, nature walks through the piney woods. Sometimes we'd drive up to Lake Quachita (pronounced wash-ee-taw), the largest lake in Arkansas, and eat right-out-of-the-lake catfish at a little place on the shore. My dad loved cards, and if there were at least four willing people, there was always a game of 42.
Our problem now with summer vacations (besides time) is that we like to take the dogs, and it's hard to find rental cabins that will take two big pups. And it's also hard to find somewhere less than several days drive where we can get away from the heat.
HALLIE EPHRON: I'm on one of those vacations right now, using the wifi at the "lodge" on Peaks Island, a short ferry ride from Portland Maine. The weather is gorgeous and I am sitting in a tower room (windows 3/4 of the way around, circular walls) looking out on Casco Bay. Tonight we'll buy lobsters from the lobster shack on a dock at the ferry landing (they haul your lobsters up from traps in the water). Beach, walks, bikes, ping pong... what more do you need?
RHYS BOWEN: Julia and Hallie. That sounds like my idea of vacation. My daughter and family go with friends to a lake in the Sierras every year and have exactly the same experience--swimming,boating all down time. When our kids were young John was with an airline so we went to exotic places--New Zealand, Barbados, Grand Cayman. We stayed at nice hotels but the only problem was we couldn't afford to feed the kids at hotel prices. So there was a lot of peanut butter and jelly in the room!
|Hank and Nina on a bear somewhere, PARTICIPATING|
In Washington DC, though, we had the grand tour, and I was captivated by the FBI. My annoyed mother told me years later I complained the whole time...but then called all my friends when I got home and told them it was wonderful.
We had a house in Acapulco, for years, where we all went, and that was sunny and gorgeous and terrific. (The site of my world's worst sunburn.) My parents would play gin rummy, with us kids as the prizes. We were big on Monopoly and Scrabble--for which my sister Nina and I would create new "rules" for the little kids so we would win.
Now, we go to Nevis and Truro. I remember we HAVE done that. Now I just work.
LUCY BURDETTE: Hank, after THE WRONG GIRL comes out, you must take a vacation! PARTICIPATE PARTICIPATE!
I have fabulous memories of childhood vacations. We frequently went either to the Jersey Shore or later, Hatteras, NC, with our family and my mother's sister's family. So weeks and weeks baking in oil on the beach, then giant card parties, cocktail parties with stuffed clams for the grown-ups, and mobs playing kick the can after supper. The adults were serious about this game, occasionally dressing up in weird costumes and sidling up to the can as if they were strangers. Then BOOM! The can was kicked and the prisoners released...
JULIA: Lucy, that makes me remember the huge games of "Murder" my kids would get up when we had summer get-togethers with other families. The adults drinking beer or gin on the porch and the children running around in the dark with flashlights. I never did actually get the rules of "Murder," which is kind of ironic, considering.
How about you, dear readers? What are your favorite vacation memories? I'll have an Advance Reader Copy of THROUGH THE EVIL DAYS for one lucky commenter!