Multi-generational vacations ~
Getting back to the basics and unpluggingMany of our vacation rental guests are multi-generational families. Grandparents, parents and their children (grand-kids). The grandparents visited our mountains when they were young and later brought their children. Then, those children grew up and are bringing their children. What a great way to spend time with grandma and grandpa. Reflecting and sharing memories from long ago. Sharing old and finding new places. Memories that truly last a lifetime and are passed down through the generations.
So, unplug and get outdoors. A great hike to a waterfall, swimming in a lake, rafting, kayaking, teaching a child to fish or canoe, or simply exploring the woods. Whether the grandchildren are small or now teens/adults, it's never too late to do this. Getting the mind to relax and take in things you can actually see and feel, not photos and videos someone else has posted online.
Now, I know the thought of traveling with family isn't stress free for everyone. But the secret is separation and letting go of the need to control or plan activities for everyone. You don't have to do everything together. While its great to hike together as a family, go horseback riding, take a scenic drive and picnic, there are some days that a few may want to hike and others just want to sit on the porch, read and gaze at the mountains. You might need to escape for a few hours and take a walk/hike as a couple. The guys may want to go fishing and exploring, while the girls get in some shopping and antiquing. Some like a good museum, and others are bored stiff. It's okay. At night you can come together and cook out. Or plan breakfast together in the mornings. Sharing what you did the day before over coffee.
So, maybe this has you thinking about how great this could be... the next step is choosing the right spot for your multi-generational escape. Not only do I recommend vacation rentals because we own them, but we rent homes when we travel ourselves. They work so well for many reasons. With the above recommendation on separation in mind, you should find a home that has enough bedrooms for each couple/child, etc. What's important is that each couple, singles, or the kids have their own space to escape. You can get up when you want and go to sleep when you want without waiting for the others. You can go to bed early and read a book, because you choose to.
Discuss with your family their needs and wants, thinking logistically about sleeping arrangements. Are your parents active, or will they just want to enjoy relaxing, simply listening to the birds, gazing at the mountains. What activities will your children enjoy, and what things can you do together in the area you decide to visit.
To give you an idea on how well a home can work, I'll use one of our vacation rentals, The Cottage. It's not a huge house but it has separate spaces and sleeps 8. The lower level is great for the kids or grown teens. Their own TV, their own bath, their own beds. You can be upstairs and not listening to cartoons and irritating children's programs. Or, if your children are grown, this is a terrific spot for grandma and grandpa to escape, go to bed early, watch whatever TV programs they choose at night and at the volume they might need. My father was hard of hearing and had the TV blaring, which was very difficult for the rest of us to sit and have a conversation when he was watching TV. The lower level was perfect.
We sometimes have inquiries for many more than our home can sleep. People say, "we can sleep on the floor", the kids can "crawl in bed with us", etc. What kind of vacation would that be? We don't approve more people than our bedrooms sleep in our vacation rentals. For many reasons, but one of which is, we know what works, and we know if you are going to spend money on a vacation, make sure you don't go home more stressed than when you left!
Now that both my parents have passed, I cherish those memories of travel together. We went many places, including Hawaii and The Grand Canyon. They loved the Western North Carolina mountains. I don't pass a stream or lake without thinking of the times my Dad and I stood fishing.
Life is short, so get out and spend it with those you love. Make new memories, re-live the old ones.
Pam Pringle, Timber Frame Rentals