How much can you pack into a ten-day afk (away from keyboard) time? And still feel relaxed? I’m a little impressed with how this past vacation turned out thanks to a bit of planning, but mostly a lot of good weather luck and thanks to amazing people.

July 21 my mother-in-law turned 90. It was a big event for our family. My sisters-in-law planned a big bash that kept getting bigger and bigger. A casual celebration dinner at the church with 30-50 people and paper tablecloths turned into 75 adults, lots of kids, semi-formal wear, caterers, linen tablecloths and people traveling in from far-away states to celebrate.

If anyone of you know my mother-in-law, you will get that if anyone deserves to be “princess for the day” it’s her.

We knew about this a year ago so I had taken about ten days off work to spend time with family who might or might not travel in from the west. A few weeks before the celebration I learned that one of my closest friends was visiting relatives in Canada and traveling right past the exit to Mom’s place a week before the party so Chris and I packed up and planned a visit to the homestead a bit early and work for a few days there before taking time off.

Chris took the time to organize his art from years past.

I haven’t seen Jan in person in a couple of years, but she is an integral part of my life. She’s the one who made the quilt I use as a theme for my blog. And the one I was with when Covid hit. We talk on the phone regularly so when we met for an hour of walking and talking, it was like we had never been apart. Four of her seven kids joined us (along with her husband), and Jan finally got to meet my daughter-in-law and two of my grandkids. It was such a gift of a day.

On Wednesday I shut my work computer off and put it away. A foreign concept for me, but I was ready! Thursday morning our son from Utah (and spouse) showed up after their 30+ hr drive. As more relatives trickled in, Chris and I headed to our favorite beach for some camping. Why have a bed when you can sleep in a tent hearing the waves from the lake and looking at the amazing stars? Not everyone agrees, but Chris and I found it to be bliss.

The kids and grands randomly showed up for beach time and resting in the great outdoors. Here’s a pic of our grandson “helping out” as his parents tried to get the baby to sleep. haha. At one point I drove to the airport to pick up the third son, and my ducklings were all back in the nest. Happy mama and dad! Some family members were missing but were there in our hearts. It was bliss.

The party went well. Mom was happy and got to see her brother (who drove up from Florida), as well as lots of relatives and friends. It was amazing to see all the love in the room.

The next day was a great day for recovery. We stayed at the campsite, relaxing and reading and hanging out with our kids until more friends from college popped in for a visit. Another couple we haven’t seen in a few years. Talk about a reunion week!

Now the original thought was that we would stick in the area and relax and catch up with friends that week. However, a week or so prior one of my favorite people in the world let me know she was in the United States. Yup, you know her. Lise – my cousin from Denmark. She was asking if there was any chance at all we could join her in North Carolina where she was visiting my aunt (her mom).

I had told her it wouldn’t really work out due to the party and an impending appointment we had at home. It was sad, but life, you know? While we were camping, I had time to really look at my calendar and realized I read it wrong. The appointment was a week later! And the kids were already gone or heading back to Utah shortly so it was fine to not stick around. At Chris’ suggestion we packed up camp and headed out on the road for a quick trip to NC — a 13-hr drive away.

The weather was great and the traffic not horrid. We stopped halfway on the way down to spend a night in a hotel — deciding to not exhaust ourselves. We got there Tuesday afternoon and knew we had to leave by Thursday night in order to get home before weekend traffic hit. The goal was to drive through the night to avoid pileups and to be able to spend a few days recovering from all the revelry before heading back into work.

I think the hardest part of the trip was seeing the exits for other relatives in PA and in South Carolina. We were soooo close to being able to visit more people (including close friends who were less than an hour away), but there wasn’t much time. And Denmark is the area we’re least likely to visit regularly so there it was. This was a visit focused on North Carolina.

We spent Tuesday afternoon sitting on the porch and yakking. Bliss!!!! Many of you know Aunt Anne. And you know what a gift she has with words. And what a gift she has with food. We talked, we laughed, we ate. I know that when she is in the kitchen, you show respect by not trying to help, and you don’t talk with her. But I did sneak a picture of her prowess in making southern culinary fare — shrimp and grits 🙂 Delicious!

I didn’t get pictures, but we spent the evening yakking on the front porch (with a bonus phone call with John $) and playing games with the famous Logan. I think a lot of you know them as well from Aunt Anne’s blog.

Wednesday found us catching up with life. Plumbing was fixed, a piano was tuned. I sorted through hundreds of pics from Mom Pollock’s party, Chris and Lise caught up on work stuff, etc. Not a rough life when you do that while sitting on a porch together, looking at a beautiful garden and listening to waterfalls.

After all that we hit a lovely Mexican restaurant then came back home. Chris helped Aunt Anne fix a fountain and later we watched one of my favorite movies — Stranger Than Fiction. It seemed fitting for a couple of writers and was fun to share with the family.

Thursday was the day of amazing treats. Lise had talked with a relative who invited us to their home. Woodside, also known as the James Pinckney Henderson House, is a historic house near Lincolnton, North Carolina. It only added one hour to our trip, and this was not the average home. Woodside is filled with magic. From the magic of music to actual magic shows. The day was filled with wonderment.

If you love cool places, there are a few links you might appreciate that does this place more justice than my writing. Aunt Anne wrote about it in 2019 with some great pics. And a blogger I don’t know also shared some pictures. There’s even a ghost story on video pertaining to the place (and it shows some of the magic we saw on Thursday).

We learned about interesting history, saw incredible woodwork — desks with secret compartments, cabinets that were actually organs, and visited a peaceful Oriental garden with giant wind-chimes. We even saw an old fashioned carriage and ate with doves right behind us!

Right before we hit the road to head home to Massachusetts, everyone shared stories from foreign lands and enjoyed playing interesting instruments.

It really was an amazing vacation. We rolled into our parking lot at home around 6:30 am and slept for a few hrs. Locals told us they were tired of the rain, but our travels had us mostly in sunny places. And it stayed sunny for a few days after we got back.

We rested Friday, lazing by the pool — then hiked in our backyard Saturday and Sunday. It’s not often we get to ride the lift down on our slopes. But that’s what we did this time. Hiked up and rode down.

What a glorious vacation. Now we are back to work, but the memories will be with us always. And what a perfect way to end our time off. Hope you enjoy it as well.

8 responses to “Vacation”

    • The trip was an unexpected gift. Thanks for opening your doors to us. Love you!

  1. Thank you so very much for coming – you made my trip even better than I could have hoped for!
    And I’m so glad everything work out the way it did. What an amazing 10 days you had, with friends and relatives from all over! Loved all the photos and videos 🥰

  2. What a great vacation! I would love to have all my kids in one place! It may happen on Labor Day…but not in such a beautiful location! Happy times 😀

    • I was 10 days away from the _work_ computer. Not the play one 🙂 or my phone… although we were on quite shaky cell reception and my time on screens was not a lot for me… It felt really good.

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