My extended family is currently planning our 2013 family reunion, and that's got me thinking of some past favorite vacation spots. When I was a teenager, we went to the Grand Tetons near Jackson Hole and loved it so much that we went to the same place twice in a row! Back then we either camped in tents, RVs, or rented hole-in-the-wall cabins that didn't have kitchens or indoor plumbing; now that most of us are adults, I think we have graduated to Jackson Hole hotels :) Now that is a swanky rustic lodge! We loved Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons because there truly is something for everyone there. There's hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and exploring the national park in the Grand Tetons; while in nearby Jackson Hole, there's plenty of fine dining, spas, and culture. Not to mention it's about the prettiest place in America!
We traveled a lot when I was a kid; like, a lot. I grew up in North Carolina and most of our family lived in Utah or California, so every other summer we would drive cross country for our family reunion. Now, a 2000 mile car trip with five kids might not sound like it was fun for anyone, but the drive to the reunion was often as fun as the reunion itself! We took our time, meandering all over the country to see landmarks (once we followed the actual Mormon Trail), and made lots of side trips to break up the long drive. Some of our favorites were Chimney Rock and Independence Rock. But probably our most memorable side trip was to a rustic hotel somewhere in Colorado. We usually stayed in places like the Hampton Inn (my dad was a AAA member and he used to get the little booklets of hotels that they sent out before the internet), but one night we chose this small, family-run hotel instead. It was a beautiful rustic lodge. The lobby had a spiral staircase and a huge stuffed grizzly bear (my youngest brother Jeff was terrified of it), and there was a cozy library with a fireplace, plenty of books, and a variety of board games. Instead of holing up in our room watching Nick at Night (we didn't have cable at home, so this was the highlight of our yearly trips), we actually spent the evening playing Clue in the library. I remember thinking this lodge was exactly like the manor in Clue! There was even a big standard poodle that belonged to the owner and wandered around visiting guests. After a week of budget hotels, it was so nice to be in a rustic, homey environment, if only for one night!
So, back to our 2013 reunion: After spending years camping/renting cabins in Utah or Wyoming, we are branching out and renting beach houses at Stinson Beach, CA, and spending a few days in San Francisco as well! I am so excited to be doing something new.
Where does your family like to vacation?