Grandtravel

Grandtravel

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,

Melissa

 

 

 

 

There is Something About Vermont

There is Something About Vermont

I have lived in a number of states and climates throughout my lifetime. I have been fortunate to have visited all but two states in the U.S. and several different countries. That said, I feel justified from an experience standpoint to say “there is something about Vermont.”  Those of you who know me have often heard me say I wished I was still there.

My family moved to Vermont when I was entering 10th grade.  I wasn’t happy about it then as you may imagine. Coming from a more urban area it was an adjustment. Walking into a new high school, (Go Rutland Raiders!), not knowing anyone, registered about a 7.5 on my anxiety scale.  Luckily I have the kind of personality that allows me to walk up to strangers and introduce myself.  Luckier was the fact that the first people I approached were kind and curious about the new kid.  It did not take me long at all to form friendships and get introduced to my new town.

At some point during this introduction I looked up.  I can’t remember the exact moment but I stopped thinking about what 15 year old girls think about and I noticed something. I saw the staggering beauty of the mountains that formed a circle around the town.  It was foliage season and the colors were spectacular.  The air seemed cleaner than what I had been used to and there was a slowness that existed around me that felt comforting.  It was like my breathing became slower there.  I actually recognized that at age 15, so there must have been something special going on.

Life went on, as it does, and I left Vermont for other places but came back twice and not because my family was there.  The second time I returned they had already moved away themselves.  I came back because I could breathe better.  I say that as a state of mind, not that I have breathing issues! It always felt safe and was a place where I could collect my thoughts and figure out my plan.  The combination of the natural beauty, the people and the simplistic way of life still suits me well.

Why then didn’t I stay?  Lack of opportunity for me back then was the real kicker.  I had two children I was going to have to put through college someday and the prospects of advancing my career were limited.  Add to that long, hard winters.  I was not financially equipped at the time to have the appropriate vehicle to live where I was living. Being semi-off the grid (only wood heat) in a drafty old farmhouse at the top of the mountain is a challenge in both winter and mud season.

Each year it took 9 cords of wood to heat the house using two woodstoves and I became adept at helping to split and cut wood. It was hard living but it was glorious.  Our view, all the way to the New Hampshire White Mountains, was breathtaking in every season. The kids could cross country ski out the door for as many miles as they wanted to.  The four room school house they attended had some of the best teachers they would ever have. My friends were the best.  There were locals and those who had come from all over the country because they too had felt that special something. I felt pretty rich then even though I had no money.

But it wasn’t to be forever given my nagging desire to grow and expand my future opportunities.

My last exodus from the Green Mountain state was 33 years ago. Seems I have lived a couple of lives since then.  I still go back, not nearly as often as I would like, and still dream of having a little house there that I can escape to.

Each time I go, as soon as I cross the border into Vermont, I take a deep breath and feel the same calmness wash over me that I felt 51 years ago when I was a sophmore in high school. It’s pretty magical and I have met others who say they have that same experience.

I get to have the feeling again this week as I drive north, entering into Vermont on Wednesday.  This time I will bring my work with me as I will be filming a woman in Lamoille Valley for the Beyond Sixty Project.  I can’t wait to get up there with the crew and hang out on Lake Elmore for a couple of days and take in the winter scenery.  Anticipating the feeling I will get is already making me smile.

I hope you have a place you can go to that gives you peace and calm.  Sure is worth the journey. If you haven’t tried Vermont I highly recommend it!

Love and Peace,

Melissa