Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Waxing Nostalgic about My Childhood Vacations

Today would have been my father's 95th birthday. I was thinking of him and about the mini vacation my husband and I went on this past weekend. That led to my waxing nostalgic about childhood vacations. Unfortunately, I don't have photos of our vacations. Dad recorded the trips on 8 mm movie film that wasn't kept. So I've used some generic pictures.

When my three brothers and I were young, the factory Dad worked at always closed for two weeks in August. So we always vacationed in August, and Boy Scout leader Dad was, we always camped. We also always had a station wagon. Dad and the boys slept in a four-person tent, and Mom and I slept in car with the backseat folded forward. When it rained, we had the better accommodations.

Also, no matter where we went, our vacations included an educational element. Dad wasn't highly educated, but he had a love of learning. (I followed his lead and did the same with our family vacations.) I don't remember all our vacations, but here are some I do.

North Pole, NY. Where we live now, the Adirondack Mountains are only an hour and a half away, up Interstate 87. When we went as children, it was a seven+ hour trip from Western NY, where we lived, on state, county, and local roads. The drive included our playing a continuous game of punch bug, whenever we spotted a Volkswagen bug. This trip, we got to go on a nature hike with a forest ranger at the state campground we stayed at, and hiked Ausable Chasm with our parents. And, of course, we visited Santa's Workshop. I remember seeing live reindeer.

Watkins Glen, NY. We hiked the glen which I remember for the waterfalls you could walk behind. The trip also included a tour of the Corning Glass Museum. We saw glass blowers at work, and I got a little glass ballerina necklace.

Cooperstown, NY. We visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame and, of course, the Farmers Museum and the Fenimore Museum.

Circleville, Ohio.
We had cousins who lived here, and every few years visiting them was our vacation destination. One year, we visited burial mounds built by early native Americans near Circleville.

Manhattan, Kansas. We had other cousins who lived here. The summer I was 15, we drove out to visit them. (My husband and I also visited my aunt and uncle in Kansas on our "honeymoon" cross-country trip to go to college in Los Angeles. But that's a whole other blog.) My uncle took us on a tour of the Tuttle Creek dam works near their home. We also went to a spot purported to be the dead center of the US. And we had our first Mexican food at a small Mexican restaurant my aunt and uncle liked.

Detroit, Michigan. I took my last summer vacation with my parents and brothers the summer before I turned 20. Dad had seen the Detroit carworks as a child and wanted to see them again and show us. As part of this trip, we visited my father's elderly aunt who lived a ways outside Detroit--with no advance notice, even though he hadn't seen her in years. I remember my mother fretting about this. Dad knocked on is aunt's front door. She opened the door and shouted Herbie (his childhood knickname) and welcomed us all in as if she'd been expecting us.

Do you have any childhood vacation memories? Please share.

For My Future Releases

Follow me on BookBub
Sign up for my Readers Newsletter 
Visit my Website 
Twitter: @JeanCGordon


  1. It sounds like you had some great vacations as a child!
    Ours almost always were visits to family, but a couple of times we went to Victoria BC. My sister and I were teenagers so we explored the city on our own. We didn't have any money to do anything, so we just walked around. It's a beautiful place.

  2. I went to Florida and the one memory I have that stands out was finding an alligator in the pool.

  3. Jean,
    What lovely and fun childhood memories. Many of the places you mentioned--Cooperstown, Watkins Glen, and North Pole, NY, are my old stomping grounds, as I lived in upstate NY for many years.

  4. Jean, I loved hearing about your family vacations. Mostly we went to see my grandparents who lived in Rapid City, SD, so we always went for a picnic in the Black Hills and visited Mt. Rushmore. The one time we did something different was the year we went to Yellowstone National Park and then visited relatives in Colorado.

  5. Jean, thank you for sharing these wonderful memories. I especially love the one about dropping in unannounced, on your great-aunt. My parents planned our vacations around visiting family too. The biggest was a train journey from our home in Indiana to Southern California. But I was very young, and only "remember" via photographs.