Vacations Are Over Rated, Right?

In our family, we have two family vacations that we take every summer, come hell or high water or even pregnancy.  Every June we vacation with my husband’s family to the Jersey shore.  We even got engaged there, which brings the grand total to 14 consecutive years of family beach vacations.  My kids particularly look forward to the time with their cousins, whom they don’t get to see very often.

The other trip is Maine.  My mom’s family lives in Maine, and I was born there.  For 36 summers, I’ve spent at least a week in Maine.  Growing up, my family trekked back to Maine every. single. year.  We never missed a year, not even the year of the gas crisis in the 1980s, as my mom is fond of reminding me.  Even during college, when many kids start to boycott family vacations, I happily went along.  When I got married, we never missed a beat.  As it turns out, my husband enjoys the family trips to Maine as much as I do, and we have gone up every. single. year.

Until this year.

Given various circumstances, we decided that it’s in our family’s best interest not to go to Maine this summer.  Instead, we will visit my parents at their home in Virginia, and hopefully meet my new nephew who is due to arrive in July.

It’s weird. Going to Maine is such a part of the fabric of our family life that I find myself making subconscious plans and then realizing we’re not going. My husband finds himself doing the same. But the trip to the beach is looming, and we have enough plans to keep us plenty busy this summer.

But then, in a freakish turn of events, we found out yesterday that the house we rent at the beach, the one where we’ve stayed for the last 6-8 years, the one my inlaws reserve in like November, caught fire and is out of commission for part of this summer.  We’re out of a vacation property — two weeks before the vacation.  Because of other life circumstances, we aren’t going to scramble to find another place.  It looks like our beach vacation has been called off.

The worst was breaking it to my kids.  My 6-year-old dissolved into a heap o’ tears at the news.  My son took it a little more in stride.  My husband, well, we’re just in disbelief.  No Maine, and now no beach.  It’s actually quite comical if you don’t really care about missing BOTH of your annual vacations in the same year.

So now we’re trying to decide what to do.  We could go to Maine earlier in the summer.  Or we could rent our own beach house.  Or we could find something else to do entirely, since we don’t usually have enough vacation time to consider other options.  But when you get used to having two paid-for vacations every summer, you don’t exactly have a vacation budget. One thing’s for sure, I don’t care to spend every day of the summer at the pool.  Mama needs a break.

Hey, there’s always camping.

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35 Responses

  1. What a bummer! I am sorry to hear of this. I know I would probably dissolve into a puddle of tears myself.

    By the way, yes, Mama does need a break.

    And no, camping doesn’t cut it. 🙁

  2. Okay, first, I just have to say… I always thought people like you were made up for movies. I had no idea there were really nice families that got together and rented “The Beach House” out for their real life annual vacation. I’m jealous!

    But now… I’m kind of excited for you! It seems that fate has handed you a blank canvas. I can’t wait to hear what you and your family dream up as your adventure this summer!

  3. I vote no for camping. We went camping right after we were married and I am surprised that TK4 is still married to me… I like flush toilets and running water. Thankyouverymuch.

    We are going down the shore for two weeks starting August 8th – we go down every year with my parents, gram, aunt, uncle and cousins. The shore holds a special place in our hearts too – TK4 and I met in Avalon and had our first date down the shore and every year go back there for lunch or dinner. I vote that you take a week to go down the shore yourselves. I know for a fact that the place that we rent still has some weeks open – we rent from someone that goes to church with my gram. A summer without going down the shore is like a summer without sun or hot dogs. It just isn’t done!

  4. Wow, that kinda sucks. Especially if you have no vacation budget. I know my mom’s beach house is still available for rent some weeks, I’m looking forward to spending just a couple days there soon. I looooove the beach.

  5. I would cry too. I love camping, but I wouldn’t call it a vacation. Not until the kids are old enough to do ALL the work. We are used to no vacations, but I still feel your pain. Now is a chance to try something new and different though. I’m sure you can find some websites with great ideas right in your state or nearby states. Good luck!

  6. I hate it when plans fall apart!

    This will probably be your most memorable family holiday as THE YEAR WE DID THINGS DIFFERENTLY!

    I know a cottage in Ireland you could borrow!

  7. Go to Maine. Its one of those traditions that you’ll regret missing out on, even for one year.
    As far as camping goes, its fine, but you’ll definitely need a real vacation after a camping trip.
    Go to Maine, can you really go a year without popovers and seeing family?

  8. we found our beach house on home away.com — its worth a shot, right?

    we took a ‘just family’ vacation last year — as in just our little 5 person family. and it was so fun! it was little – just a long weekend in dc – but our kids talk about it constantly! maybe a new tradition is brewing!!

    ooo – or snag a great last minute deal on a cruise or something. (but don’t tell your husband you got that idea from me, okay?)

  9. I wish we had annual vacations… maybe one of these days!

    I say check out going to Colorado. We rented a cabin there for a week in August one year and it was awesome! Cheaper than a hotel, up in the mountains, much cooler than where we live in the Midwest and all kinds of things to do – a bunch of them free or cheap if you look around enough!

  10. Sorry this happened–yuck!! Definitely search and see what houses or packages might be available–there may be cancellations that need to be filled. Fingers crossed!

    Or plan a few smaller scale, shorter trips (though you probably wouldn’t be able to see all the Fam at once). Sigh.

    Camping would be beautiful in Maine!

  11. That’s really a shame! But actually you probably could find a shore house for a steal if you still wanted to go. Houses that are still open and not rented will be available at rock bottom prices. Since I am no fan of camping, I get on the phone with a realtor tomorrow and see what kind of deal I could make 🙂

  12. Do NOT succumb to camping. You don’t seem like much of a camping girl, and, let’s face it, camping is WAY more work than staying home. Plus it’s hot. And stinky. That would not be a vacation at all.

    But, hey, go camping if you want to.

  13. I say if you can make it work, make the trip to Maine! I bet there are still plenty of affordable options up here given tourism has slowed everywhere. (I say “up here” because I live in Maine now–a transplant from Virginia–and I LOVE IT.)
    So yes, if you come earlier, the water is still stinkin’ cold (evidenced in my post today), but the scenery and seafood will be unbeatable.
    So come on up….it is” vacationland” after all!

  14. That’s too bad. We may go on a mini-vacation with my parents, but it won’t be to Maine. I understand why you’re disappointed.

  15. Aww mann… bummer. Always is when family vacations get run down. Tsk.

    Hope you guys come up with an alternative plan sometime soon!

    Sharing your pain across the seas,

  16. What terrible news! I had a place where I vacationed every summer growing up and we make an obligatory trip there still every summer, even if just to visit while we’re staying at a nearby beach. Summer just wouldn’t be the same without it! Good luck coming up with a plan.

  17. Do something completely different but within a reasonable budget. Think of this year as a break in tradition and get back to regular vacations next yer.

  18. no. I’m sorry, but vacations are definitely NOT overrated. I feel kinda bad about my “What I’ve Learned” post now. Sorry.

    And camping = LOTS of work for the grown ups = no vacation for the grown ups. I camped in the summer once. With Cub Scouts, in 2004. WAY too hot in the summer.

    There’s GOT to be something, somewhere, somehow? Don’t give up!

  19. Bummer! It will seem really weird not to have you guys up here for a vacation!!!!!! No Lobster Pound?????!!!!!! I may have to send pictures to entice you!

    I really didn’t need a new mixer, I have the size larger that I LOVE but I HAD to have the yellow one to go with the new kitchen…….frivolous, maybe. Happy woman, definitely! :o)

  20. Wow, it is definitely going to feel weird not to be going to your normal places! I’ll bet there’s room for some sort of mini-road trip or family vacation somehow. Vacations where you meet up with either his family or your side of the family are great, but maybe this is a hint front somewhere that you guys need to forge your *own* vacations and your own memories with just your kids. Sit down and plot out places within 1.5 days drive of your house and plan a big road trip.

  21. Camping? I have to say…you don’t necessarily strike me as the camping type. (Says another not-really-a-camping type person!) I’m sorry to hear that your vacation plans aren’t working out – how disappointing and frustrating!

    I was so proud that we’d saved up money to pay for our vacation this summer . . . and then we had something else come up. So, unfortunately (PLEASE don’t yell at me!), a good part of it is now on the credit card. *sigh* The one I’d planned on paying off this month. We’ll go and we’ll have a great time, but it would have been so much sweeter to have it paid for in advance . . . instead of the three months afterward. 🙁

  22. I would be in tears too!! (although can I say how envious i am of 2 paid-for vacations every year? how fun!!!)

    Camping can be lots of fun, depending on how you do it. We combined it with a road trip last summer to go from FL to the Grand Canyon. We quickly learned that it was very do-able if we stayed in (mostly KOA) cabins, instead of having to set up & break down the tent every day.

    I survived by making sure we made our own breakfasts & lunches, but we only made dinner a few times over the course of 3 weeks!

  23. That stinks. I hate when vacation plans fall through. It does make for some tough choices. I would go in July to meet the new nephew, babies are always a good break when you can hand them back.

  24. Well…. maybe this is the opportunity that you have been needing to snap out of the ‘same old vacation’ routine.

    The kids would love the beach, so you might want to try another beach… then my kids always love theme parks…. you might try something like that!

    Just have fun with the family – even if you take day trips….

  25. Oh my! I think I would lose it without our beach vacation. We are heading to Wildwood on the 21st of this month, and it’s what gets me through the whole winter. So sorry to hear that both your usual vacations got changed.

    Have a great Thursday!

  26. Oh that stinks! My aunt always rents her house here at the beach. It’s like 125 a night and has a full kitchen, four bedrooms, a den, and is about 2 miles inland from the beach. I hope you all find something to do for summer vacation!!

  27. Oh, I do hope you can figure something out. The family vacation is just such a wonderful tradition. We’ve already gone on our little one for this year since we are moving soon and being pregnant and all I wanted to get it in before I got too big and it got too hot!!

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