I started a tradition with our eldest grandson three years ago.  I had told all three of my grandsons that we would take them on their own special vacation, to a place of their choice  once they passed their ten year mark.  Our first grandson chose San Francisco and we have great memories of our visit to the waterfront, the Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Woods and Yosemite.  Ten seemed to be the right age and we tested that again in early August when we took our middle grandson, pictured above, to his chosen state of Oregon.

It is interesting that the brothers both chose the west coast, however Luke had a clear plan when choosing Oregon.  He wanted to spend at least one day visiting the University of Oregon in Eugene where his Dad, my son, went to college.

Starting from our home base in Portland we enjoyed the city and a stop at the original Nike Store for some KD’s.  Basketball fans will know what the initials refer to.

Our week included a great day at U of O where we found my son’s brick in the walkway on campus. If you have never had the opportunity to visit the campus and you find yourself in the area, it is worth the detour. We shall see if Luke’s current plan to attend college at his Dad’s Alma Mater materializes.

We then traveled to Washington to see Mt. St. Helen’s. Near the volcano we made a long climb down into Ape Cave where the temperature was 42 degrees.  It was 85 degrees up above.  We saw a lot of the Columbia River Gorge  including Multnomah, Bridal Veil and Latourell Falls.  The sights were spectacular and Luke enjoyed taking pictures with Grampy’s adult camera and hiking the trails to get as close to the waterfalls as possible.

One of the unexpected highlights of the trip was finding a 50’s style Drive-In Movie Theater about 45 minutes from Portland.  We had a great time eating dinner in the car and giving Luke his first experience at a Drive-In.  As luck would have it our return flight was cancelled a day early so we headed for the Drive-In again and planned our bonus day excursion to the amazing Oregon Zoo in Portland. That’s where I lost my brand new prescription sunglasses, maybe in the monkey area.

Multi-generational travel with the entire family is very popular but there is something extra special about traveling with a grandchild.  A break from siblings and parents can be good for everyone.  With the advent of Face Time it is so easy for the child to stay connected to home and check in daily to share their adventures.  Luke proved to be a great traveler,  not minding the long flight and always eager each day to scout out something new.

I feel so lucky to be able to offer this to each grandson and get that very special alone time with them to focus on their interests and help build that sense of wonder and curiosity that comes with travel to new places.

When we got back to PA Luke seemed a little more confident and excited to share his new stories with his family.  His older brother took me aside and said he thinks we shouldn’t stop these special trips at age ten, but maybe 15 should be the next milestone for a second solo trip.  By the way, he will be 15 in one and a half years!  I think he is on to something.  If a 15 year old boy is still willing to go with his grandparents on a trip I say we should make that happen.  In the meantime, our third grandson who will be ten in about two years is up next.  We are curious to find out where he will want to go.

Have you traveled solo with your grandchild or are you thinking about it?  I highly recommend it.  If you have any questions about the San Francisco and Portland areas for kids please get in touch.  I would be happy to share more of our itinerary details.  I would also love to hear about your Grandtravel adventures!

Until next time, Peace and Love,






Aging Gracefully

Aging Gracefully

Now that I am older this subject comes up regularly.  If you hang out with women my age you will hear, “Oh, she’s growing old gracefully.”  Or, “I plan on growing old gracefully.”   Then that compliment someone gives me on occasion, “you are aging well.”  What the heck does it mean?

I looked up the definition of graceful:  displaying grace in form or action; pleasing or attractive in line, proportion or movement; elegant

I think I might be in trouble.  I don’t think I have ever been graceful. When I was in the 8th grade I decided to take ballet lessons.  I can’t remember why.  Maybe a couple of my friends were in the class and it offered me a night out of the house?  Anyway, by the third class the dance teacher took me aside and said, “I think you might want to consider an activity other than ballet.”  I was not graceful in 8th grade.

This “ungracefullness” has carried me though six decades, now pushing into seven.  How is it that I will ever be able to age gracefully?

Women are living longer. That gives me some hope as I may have a good amount of time yet to learn to be graceful!

For me there will be no plastic surgery or alteration of body parts. That seems like cheating.  The one cheat I still allow myself is some hair color. My gray is uneven and not that beautiful shiny silver you see on some women. I am not sure how long I will continue this routine, maybe until just before it looks ridiculous.

The best I can do is to eat right, exercise regularly and take good care of my skin. Oh, and try and be more graceful!

Food. What we put in our bodies definitely has an impact internally and externally. Eat organic, clean food as often as possible. For me that means no chemicals, pesticides or GMO’s in any of our foods. No antibiotics or homones in meat or dairy. The problem with me is portion control. Working on that.

Exercise. I have never been athletic in any sense of the word (remember ballet?). However, I have read everything related to the benefits of regular exercise and am sold on the need for it and how it can help you “age gracefully.” I just joined a local gym determined to try and revive my familial-cursed metabolism once and for all.

Skin. I have never used soap, but rather plant/vegetable based facial cleansers and body washes. I don’t spend too much time in the sun and wear a little makeup with sunscreen in it. I try to get a professional facial at least twice a year and I use lots of organic moisturizers. While my skin is in pretty good shape, I have totally given up on my neck.  I have decided my neck is graceful enough. Women in my age category will understand this comment.

Aging gracefully.  It is so much more than how we look at a certain age. It is so much more than appearing younger than our actual age. It is about our relevance. About our wisdom and opinions and spiritual understanding. It is about staying in the game and playing our finest game. It is about ignoring the biological changes in the mirror, maybe learning to embrace them.

Aging, gracefully or not, is a great achievement.