Romantic vacations are great. Lounging by the pool, dancing, moonlit walks on the beach, sleeping in, room service, fancy dinners and carriage rides in the park. Just the two of you blocking out the rest of the world. Chad and I have been to Maui, St. Thomas, the Bahamas, Manhattan, San Francisco, Vegas, etc. They are like bonus honeymoons!
Family vacations are also great. We did many fun family vacations with our kids were young. A 3 week RV trip to South Dakota, Panama City Beach, Disney World twice, The Wisconsin Dells, Alaska, The Outer Banks, The Smoky Mountains. It was great to have the kids undivided attention, explore new areas, play board games and make those memories together.
But there is something special about a GROUP vacation!! We did a few group vacations with a few other families before the bulk of our kids hit middle school/high school. Then with so many kids in the group with conflicting schedules, not to mention many changes in the adult lives too, the vacations stopped.
They were never far from my mind though. As the unofficial “planner” in our group, I saw a chance to resurrect them last year. By now the youngest kids in the vacation group were older high schoolers. I found a place on Drummond Island that had enough cabins for our group and I sent out an email to my friends, not sure if anyone else would even be interested anymore. They must have needed the vacation as much as I did…because within a few weeks we were all booked! We had an awesome time. Some nights we did potluck dinners, almost every night we gathered around the bonfire. We were able to catch up with each other over the course of the week instead of just the normal few hours we share here and there in our everyday lives. A group vacation kind of combines the romantic and the family trips. As a group we don’t all do everything together. Sometimes a couple will go off on their own, or our now mostly adult kids will come up with an activity on their own. Sometimes the guys go out fishing while the women go to town. Whatever you want to do, chances are you can find someone else in the group to go with you if you want company. Everyone has their own idea of what a vacation means. For some it means getting to sleep in. For my husband it is a chance to visit other cabins in the morning and share a cup of coffee. For me, I like finding a quiet, shady spot to read. I usually finish 2-3 books that week! I also bring my camera everywhere I go! For my family, we try to balance resting and relaxing with offsite fun. So we spend about half the week around the cabin napping/reading/fishing/visiting friends and the other half off exploring and sightseeing. Other families may want to be on-the-go more, or not go anywhere at all! And it all works out. Drummond Island actually worked so well that we did it again this year, and already have next year’s trip booked.
2018 Drummond Island, Mi (I wrote a blog post about it, check the archives)
2019 Au Train, outside of Munising, Mi. (will write a separate post about that)
2020 will be northern lower Michigan.
Our vacation group changes a little year to year. Sometimes a family can’t come, or a new one wants to join. Some adult kids are able to make it, while others aren’t. (I actually love that all of our kids have known each other their whole lives and actually keep in touch and maintain those friendships.)
I treasure the friends that are able to make it, and miss the ones who aren’t. It isn’t easy to commit to a week a whole year out so I really appreciate the fact that these friends do. I’ve had a couple of recent losses and if it has taught me anything it’s that TIME spent together it the most important thing. It’s so easy in today’s world to put things off because you are busy. So when you can get 5 families together for a whole week it is a blessing. And one that I am already looking forward to again next year.