Monday, August 26, 2013


Labor Day is here, the unofficial end to summer.  As I glanced into the rear view mirror at summer, it occurred to me that we had one of the best family vacations we have had in years.

We were headed to Hilton Head, South Carolina, but it truly wasn't the destination that made it so satisfying. It was because we reclaimed the break, the getaway, the meaning (for us) of what is a family vacation. And we did it in three simple steps. 

We took the long view of "vacation".  Most years, we'd rush home from work on Friday, pack all evening and leave late Friday night or dawn on Saturday.  We'd drive and drive to get "somewhere" so that we can "begin" vacation.  This year, we actually took Saturday at home, to get things organized and packed, then relaxed Saturday evening and watched a movie.  Our friends said, "you're losing a day of vacation"...but we were actually earning the real meaning of vacation, to escape and unwind from our daily life.  I can't begin to tell you how hard it was not to go ahead and hit the road, to just get going.  The change is attitude wasn't simple or easy psychologically but it was so worth when we finally got under way on Sunday.  The commitment to enjoying this trip was the first step in a journey that was so fulfilling.

Our change in what we wanted out of this vacation carried into a number of areas, but one of the most telling was our driving.  After taking the Interstate (64 & 75), we opted to get off and take the Cumberland Gap Parkway to Gatlinburg, our first stop on our vacation journey.  The distance we traveled and the time it took would embarrass most hard core vacationers. At the risk of sounding cliche-ish, the journey, not the destination, really was our reward.  The fun we had stopping in Corbin for a pic at the birthplace of KFC, visiting a gas station/flea market for deep fried peanuts in the shell to the majesty that is found off the interstate in the area of Clinch River put more "distance' between us and home than clicking off more mile markers in the middle of Tennessee.    
Deanna and I both were amazed to find that as soon as we exited the interstate and started the Cumberland Gap Parkway, both our boys - ages 21 and 12 - put down their electronic devices and started commenting on the sights.  This was totally unprompted from us, and is not a guarantee for your families.  However, the scenery and the history,  Daniel Boone, settlers, Native Americans, became our topics of discussion.  The boys wondered what it was like to try to cross this terrain on foot or horseback, which little town along the route would be the best place to retreat to in the Zombie Apocalypse - it was Pineville, Ky by the way (I can give you our 10 point reasoning for proclaiming it near Zombie proof, just email us at  The point being that if there is scenery, there is discussion.  As soon as we made it over to I-40 and headed toward Gatlinburg, the numbness and whine of 70 mile an hour driving soon had them back to their gameboy and computer. 

The most startling part of realizing this was a great vacation, is that we are only two days into it..TWO DAYS. Coming on Wednesday, I'll finish our summer vacation timeline with the discusson "condo or hotel" for your family time.  Life is out there, go enjoy the adventure!

(to see the complete picture album go to our facebook page, please click the like button: )

Written by & pictures by
George Lindsey 

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like our road trip last summer! We re-routed so we could drive the (we were in a convertible)--definitely not the most direct route to Lancaster, PA (our first "official" stop). We found this place, the natural bridge in VA, and our absolute favorite hotel of the entire 3,000 mile trip in Harrisonburg, VA: One thing that I did frequently was use the phone app "around me" and go to "nearby" to see what we might be missing. A detour was no big deal and we had so much fun finding out about different areas of the northeast. Glad you all had such a great trip!