School’s out for the summer! Like most kids, I couldn’t wait for the last day of school when I was growing up. There was so much to look forward to – lazy days in the sun and a huge pile of Nancy Drew mysteries to read while sitting in the old red rocker on the back porch. But what I looked forward to most was our family summer vacation. We always went somewhere exciting.
What’s your favorite summer vacation memory? For me, it’s a trip to a dude ranch in Colorado with my parents and three siblings when I was 15 years old. The beautiful family resort where we stayed was nestled in a secluded valley, high in the Rocky Mountains. But, it sure was a long drive to get there, so there was a little bit of sibling skirmishing going on, and a whole lot of “are we there yet?” My parents had one of those station wagons with a third seat that faced out the back window. We would fight over who got to sit in that seat and make faces at the people in the cars behind us.
The scenery at the ranch was absolutely stunning and my sister and I immediately developed serious crushes on all the good-looking cowboys! The most terrifying part of the trip was a horseback trail ride to the top of a mountain for a “sunrise breakfast.” The only way to get there was on very narrow trails called “switchbacks” that weave back and forth on the mountainside until you reach the top. I think I kept my eyes closed the whole way there. I was so relieved when we reached our destination! (But I didn’t really enjoy the breakfast, because all I could think about was the trip back down the mountain.) Other than that, it was the best vacation, ever – square dances, huge steak dinners, open-fire barbecues under the stars – and a whole lot of new friends.
Now that I live in Michigan (and have for many years now), I’ve spent many summer vacations in this very beautiful state – riding bikes on Mackinac Island, staying at cottages on Lake Huron, camping in Traverse City and playing golf all over the west side of the state.
I’m not sure where I will spend my summer vacation this year, but after interviewing the director of Genesee County Parks & Recreation Commission, Amy McMillan, I discovered there is a plethora of recreational opportunities right here close to home. I didn’t know that Genesee County has the largest county park system in Michigan, with 11,000 acres of gorgeous countryside! Some of the places I intend to visit include Stepping Stone Falls and Picnic Area – I might even take the grandkids to hike the scenic trails and camp at one of the Genesee County’s many camping facilities. I’m also looking forward to the kick-off of all the summer festivals that make this area such a great place to live.
No matter what we decide to do or where we go, I’m excited that summer is finally here!