I breathed in the salt-infused air from our hotel on Cape Cod Bay, bidding farewell to summer from North Truro, a couple of miles outside of Provincetown. The glorious week with our extended family went by all too quickly.
Although we don’t live in New York, we’ve been in a decidedly New York State of mind this summer. After a glorious stay in Lake Placid, it was time for our annual visit to Ithaca, the place my aunt and uncle have called home for decades. My mom has taken the girls there every year since they were toddlers. For the past couple of years I’ve joined them. This year, for the first time in a very long time, my husband also came for a few days.
Last summer, I wrote about quenching one’s thirst for wanderlust locally – and the importance of reminding ourselves that we don’t necessarily have to travel thousands of miles to feel like we’ve been transported far away from home.
This summer, in keeping with our avoid-air-travel-at-all-costs vacation theme, our trips won’t take us more than a few hours by car from our humble abode. We’ve finally realized that while the world offers much beauty to discover, sometimes it’s nice to explore the treasures in our backyards – which I’ve broadly defined as destinations within a 4-6 hour driving radius from our house.
For six days, my family and I happily succumbed to the Walt Disney World brainwashing machine. Actually, the inculcation started well before we arrived at Disney – it began the day I booked, continued with email and snail mail missives in the weeks leading up to the trip and didn’t end until we stepped off the Magical Express bus (not to be confused with the Hogwarts Express train) at the Orlando airport to catch our flight home.
As fun as our voluntary subjugation was, however, the best part of the vacation for me had nothing to do with Disney or Goofy or Winnie the Pooh or princesses and everything to do with an impromptu self-imposed social media ban. More on that later. First, some reflections on the land of Mickey.
My brother and I are 2 1/2 years apart. I’m the oldest. I’ve always been the most serious. The worrier. The good kid who never got into any trouble. The thinks-too-much-about-everything sister. My brother has always been the happy-go-lucky sibling. The most relaxed. The kid everyone liked. The kid who did a lot of dumb things but somehow rarely got caught.
I suppose, then, it’s no surprise that he eventually ended up in laid-back Austin and I ended up living a few miles from eternally amped-up New York City. Our personalities match the places we call home.
Our family loves to travel. Everyone except Sophie, that is. For her, the ideal voyage is the trip from her bedroom to the kitchen downstairs. I, on the other hand, live for travel. In fact, I believe I suffer a moderate to severe case of travel addiction. As soon as we return from a vacation, I feel an uncontrollable urge to plan the next one. It sometimes feels like an illness.
The last part of our trip was devoted to the Utah desert in all its glory. As I mentioned in my last post, it was as hot as Hades in Moab. So we did what all of the locals and tourists do. We woke up early every morning, much to Sophie’s chagrin. Comments like, “Mom! Why are you doing this to me?” “Why are you torturing me? ” “This is not a vacation!” were inevitably accompanied by cold hard stares, harumpfs and groans.
Where are all the cars? We’ve driven hundreds of miles since leaving Las Vegas eight days ago. Yet despite the fact that summer is the busiest time of year for the national parks we’ve visited, the lack of traffic on the roads is astounding. Actually, my use of the word “traffic” here is entirely misleading. Because there is NO traffic, at least not in the “Cross-Bronx-Expressway-is-a-parking-lot-with-bumper-to-bumper-traffic-again-They-should-just-bomb-this-road-into-oblivion” way. We arrived in Moab today and it has the first traffic lights we’ve seen since Las Vegas on July 6. I am not lying.
In a mere three hours, we went from this:
After discovering the High Line in Manhattan with our French cousins a couple of weeks ago, I was eager to introduce the girls and my husband to this oasis in the city. We woke up to a beautiful morning – the perfect day for a little adventure.