Since my fondest memories growing up were from our summer family vacations, I wanted to make sure our own kids had happy vacation memories as well. And obviously, Montreat was one of the vacation spots we frequented.
Here, I introduced our kids to many of the fun activities I did growing up.
But beyond Montreat, we wanted to give our kids other fun adventures as well.
When our kids were young, we took many family vacations with my wife’s parents (Grandmother and Granddaddy). Since Granddaddy was retired from Holiday Inns, we would often get great deals on hotel rooms as we traveled (a real plus for a young family with not a lot of extra cash). It gave my wife’s parents a chance to spend more time with their grandchildren and gave us an extra set of adults to watch after the kids.
Along with their grandparents, we visited many sites of historical significance…
…and it was at Grandfather mountain that I let our son get too far away from me for a photo opportunity, an act for which my wife will probably never forgive me.
We also wanted to expose our kids to American cultural locations and so took them to Washington, DC, Williamsburg (referred to by our kids as Williamsburger), and Monticello.
And interspersed among these trips would be an occasional stop in Montreat and the Asheville area.
When our kids were older, we took them to Six Flags both in Atlanta and in St. Louis.
We researched taking them to Disney World but from all we read, it seemed like we would be on a tight schedule to get in all the activities we wanted to do and when you are on vacation, you are not supposed to be on a tight schedule.
At Six Flags, there were always plenty of fun rides to take in, so much so that even as young adults, they wanted to go to the Six Flags north of San Francisco when our daughter was in graduate school at Berkeley.
When our kids were in high school, we were able to take vacations by plane to far off places like San Francisco.
And we managed to get to Hawaii one year, a beautiful place that everyone should go to.
Our last trip before our kids started heading off to college was a European vacation to Amsterdam. This trip coincided with me teaching there (a working vacation for me).
It gave us our first chance to expose all our kids to foreign cultures and was the start of other international travel our kids took once they entered college.
Even as an adult, our daughter joined my wife and me for a vacation in Seattle one year. My daughter and I planned all of the daily activities so for my wife, it was almost like she was the child with no responsibility, just along for all of the fun.
With all of these trips, my hope is that all three of our children have fond memories of these vacations, just as I have fond memories of my own family vacations growing up. By looking at many of the smiles captured in these vacation photos, I can assume they will.
But now that our kids are starting their own families, my hope is that my wife and I, as grandparents, will be able to tag along on some of their vacations as our grandchildren begin to create their own fond vacation memories.