Summer Vacations have always been a big part of our family life. When we were young, we generally had family come to stay at some point over the course of the summer and while they didn’t always stay with us, they might as well have. My aunt up the street was generally the landing point for family who came to visit. Whether one couple or an entire brood. She was a gem in terms of hosting. It just came naturally to her. Being the first daughter of my grandmother, she was spoiled by her older sisters and brother. And she then treated her younger siblings the same way. As an adult, she did the same for all of her company, most, of course, were also her siblings.
However, with them literally only being a block away from us, we visited, and we visited frequently. We gathered on the night they arrived, and again the night before they went back home. And we visited almost daily while they were here – for tea, dinner, card games, etc.
As well as constant company, my parents took holidays every summer and every other summer, we flew out to New Brunswick to visit friends my mum knew from her time as a nurse. We went for two weeks, and part of that time, we spent traveling with them to Prince Edward Island.
And for the last week of summer vacation, we were fortunate enough to be able to have the use of a cottage in Southampton that belonged to neighbours who were also good friends of mum and dad. This generally involved extended family with cousins joining us for the week and often one or more of my aunts joining for part or all of the week as well. We spent our days at the beach or walking into town and our evenings playing cards or rummoli. As teens, we also went bowling and to the drive-in theatre while at the cottage. So many fond memories of our holidays together.
My mother passed away when my daughter was only 4 and my son not yet born. I realized that once we are gone, there are only the memories that are left, so my husband and I decided to start making some memories with our kids and a big part of that transpired to taking big road trips every summer. We camped as we traveled and tried to build in unique opportunities where we could – sleeping in a covered wagon at the Charles Ingalls homestead in South Dakota, driving the racetrack at Watkins Glen. We took in local festivals if we could and spent time learning about the places where we were visiting.
These vacations provide a number of family stories for us to share, document and preserve for future generations so that hopefully, they too, will choose to make summer vacations an important part of their family’s lives.