I'm not sure I ever had to write an actual essay on "What I Did On My Summer Vacation." That's a good thing because summers didn't usually include a vacation when I was growing up. Our summer break and travel was used to visit family. My parents would try to throw a few fun things in here and there but the purpose of our travel wasn't to relax and have fun- it was to spend time with family so it never felt like a "real" vacation.
In 2008, we took our first real summer vacation. In 2009, I wanted to repeat that trip. But it wasn't meant to be. So we took a long weekend in Cincinnati instead. Spent some time with my family and then had a hotel and did touristy things like go to the Cincinnati Zoo and the Museum Center.
In 2009, we opted to stay local and visit some fun spots in Indiana. We went to Holiday World and visited some other spots in southern Indiana (Lincoln State Park, for example). We also took a weekend in Fort Wayne.
This year, I think we're going to stick with Indiana again. I'll be honest- I would truly love it if we could go to Sesame Place. But gas prices don't make it feel like a good idea, honestly. The drive requires an overnight stay halfway there- it's 600 miles away from home. Right now, the idea of all the planning is exhausting to me.
I was excited to attend an Indiana Tourism Media Marketplace yesterday. I attended this event last year and loved learning so much about the state I've called home for over a decade.
Here are the things I'm excited to consider for summer fun in 2011:
I am leaning towards a trip to Indiana Dunes. I always hear great things about the Dunes and the idea of a beach in land locked Indiana is just too incredible to pass up. How have I been here this long and never been there? A couple of days relaxing in the sun on the beach... kids splashing in the waves... building sand castles... it just sounds awesome. And there are all kinds of non-beach things in the area that I want to check out, too. I love all of the minor league baseball in Indiana. We have our own Indianapolis Indians, we took in a Fort Wayne Tin Caps game last summer, and now it's on my list to see a Gary SouthShore RailCats game! I think my kids would love a visit at Broken Wagon Bison Ranch. And I know they'd enjoy Albanese Confectionary and some fun at BellaBoo's.
About 90 minutes away is Shipshewana, IN and loads of Amish Country. We can take a horse and buggy tour, visit Amish Acres, visit Black Pine Animal Sanctuary or Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park, and maybe take a ride on the Dixie Stern-Wheeler. I'd also love some outdoor time to explore the various Quilt Gardens.
If I get really ambitious, I'd enjoy coming home a different route so we could sepnd a day and night in Fort Wayne again. Last year, we had a great time at that Tin Caps baseball game and at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. We also loved discovering the Firefighter's Museum and Fort Wayne Museum of Art. This year, I want to make sure to visit the downtown public library as I hear their children's section is pretty special and we never made it to the Botantical Conservatory.
Looking at it all laid out, I think we could plan a week long getaway if we're going to cover everything and still have some down time on the beach!
I'm also excited to spend some time closer to home doing some cycling on the Ride Hendricks County routes. And I when Christy and I do that Girlfriend Ride I wrote about yesterday, I want to spend some time exploring Bloomington and Nashville and Columbus. There's fun stuff to do as a grown up and also fun family stuff... but I'll have to plan that trip another day!
That all sounds awesome!!
I love the idea of staycations, but I never get around to doing the local stuff.
Sounds like you're going to have another fun summer!
I felt the same way you did about childhood summer vacations. But then I realized that we did have one vacation place--Chautauqua Institute, in western NY state. Friends of ours owned a rental house there, and let us stay for free when it wasn't booked. It wasn't far, it wasn't long, but it was enough to disconnect from home for a few days.
There's something to be said for at least taking a long weekend to stay away, even if away is only an hour's drive. You can't hear the doorbell ring, or see the undone chores piling up!
With our budget being tight, "fancy" vacations have not really been an option. But it's amazing how, with a little effort, you can find so many fun things to do locally. I'm a huge fan of local (or vaguely local) vacations!
Albanese Candy Factory is pretty yummy, though the "tour" leaves a little to be desired. I'm hoping to go through all my stuff from the Media Marketplace this weekend and plan out some trips for us this summer, too.
Be careful, you might just need a vacation from your vacation.
Don't forget Groupons and restaurant.com!
Oh! I went to the Travel Media Marketplace Conference!
How funny--I might have seen you there! I was the one in the fantastic pair of heels. Ha! :)
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