Summer Fever

Considering our limited budget, my husband and I have had some pretty cool vacations in our 30 years together. In the fall of 1999 we went to Vermont and New York City to see the fall foliage. We took a carriage ride to Tavern on the Green in Central Park and had lunch. On the day of my 40th birthday I got to get a pair of modest pearl earrings at Tiffany’s on 5th Avenue, (the turquoise blue box, white ribbon – the whole nine yards treatment); a kiss on top of the Empire State Building and desert at the Windows on the World at the World Trade Center two years before it was destroyed by terrorists. In Vermont we rode across covered bridges in the crisp fall air, marveling at the gorgeous trees that turned colors you just don’t see in Southern California. We visited a maple syrup farm, the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and came home with some wonderful memories and the longing to go back every time crisp fall weather rolls around.

The Little Inn on Pleasant Bay, Cape Cod
Three years ago we drove up the Eastern Seaboard where I got to see Cape Cod for the first time for one entire day and 2 nights. We got there at the height of Hydrangea season where they were all in bloom. We got to stay at a lovely B&B called The Little Inn on Pleasant Bay in Orleans.  It is one of the last homes on the “underground railroad” that hid slaves before they took ship to escape to Canada. It was owned and run by two British sisters and was quintessential Cape Cod! It had climbing roses all over the place and the d├ęcor was all ocean/sea related. It was just a bummer that a threatening storm (that never materialized) ruined our one and only chance to have a clam bake on the dunes.

I took this photo
When our budgets were more limited, we took local trips to Napa Valley (only an 8 hour drive) and stayed at B&B’s in late fall (when our anniversary falls). Napa is gorgeous in the fall. All the grape vines turn to colors of russet, gold, amber and burgundy and is as close to the Northeast in terms of fall foliage as you can get in California.  Even though I’m not a wine drinker you can’t beat the place for restaurants, shopping and quiet beauty.

Then of course there is glorious Hawaii. We’ve only been there twice. Once on our honeymoon (to the Garden island of Kauai) and then again in 2002 (Maui) to renew 
our vows when we took along our daughter. We took a bicycle ride down the Haleakala volcano; drove the treacherous road to Hana, (where the locals neither yield nor stop for other traffic and drive enormous SUV’s that barely fit on the narrow road); swam in a few of the seven sacred pools (getting eaten alive by mosquitoes at the same time) and hiked up its trail; careful to avoid the stinking cow patties, stinking, rotting guava and oh yes, low-hanging tree branches. My poor husband didn't fare so lucky on that last one. By the time I opened my mouth to warn him he had already smacked into it full force with his forehead. On our last night there, we ate dinner at our hotel and two local Hawaiian women came to our table, offering to play music for us. They were delighted when we asked them about several Hawaiian songs that came out of the late 1950’s; not expecting us “Mainlanders” to be familiar with anything besides “Blue Hawaii” or “Tiny Bubbles”.  So on our last night, they serenaded us with “The Magic Isle” (which is what Maui is referred to).  Every time I hear that song now I weep. If you ever want some great Hawaiian music, just look up Alfred Apaca on iTunes and you will find yourself transported across the sea, swaying on a hammock under a palm tree with the warm trade-winds wafting over you even if you are only in your own backyard.

With the loss of my job in 2008, vacations came to a screeching halt. Now that I am gainfully employed again, my husband and I were able to plan a small anniversary get-away to Las Vegas (a 4 hour drive) this November. He hates Las Vegas but did it out of love for me.  At least it won’t be 112 degrees at midnight like it is during the summer months. We often joke that Las Vegas is where old people move so they will know what hell is like before they get there.  We don’t gamble but the restaurants, shopping and shows there are phenomenal. We will get to see our first live magic show with David Copperfield (who I first saw as a gawky teenager a long time ago on the Mike Douglas show); ogle the gorgeous hotels, shop and eat.  My husband often likes to quote Obi Wan Kenobi from the first Star Wars episode when referring to Las Vegas: “You’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy; we must be cautious!”

What have been some of your favorite vacation memories? Where would you go if money and time were no object and what would you like to do?


  1. Brad and I have also had limited budgets. We were able to combine a business trip in Missouri with a vacation. We travelled to the Norris, TN where we visited the Appalachian Museum then spent the next week in what was my future father-in-laws house at the top of a mountain in Dayton, TN. He encouraged us to visit Fall Creek Falls. We also turned our daughter's dance competition (2 days) into a 10 day NY vacation. We visited the Empire State Building, saw our first Broadway musical, visited museums and then visited Ground Zero. This was 10 months after 9/11.
    Since we live in Florida some of our favorite places to visit are Key West, the Everglades, St. Augustine and of course all of the wonderful beaches. We take mini weekend vacations to Tampa and stay and visit zoos and aquariums. We are lucky that we live in and near so much natural beauty and history for such a low price. It has been years but we plan a small trip back to Disney World with grandkids this year.

  2. I just love your books. God has truely blessed you Wanda. God bless you and your family.
    Love in christ.
    Lori heinss