The 2015 traveling season has begun

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We haven’t made any  decisions about any big trips for this year. Talks of possible scuba diving trip destinations come up here and there, as well as taking advantage of the current exchange rate between the Euro and the dollar, but we haven’t been able to make up our minds yet. Both of us definitely want to spend more time at home this summer enjoying the pool renovation we did last year. There is something to be said for lazy summer days at home, and our summer schedule is already full with one daughter dancing summer ballet intensives at Nutmeg in Connecticut, Walnut Hill in Massachusetts, and Joffrey in New York City.  So for now, we have settled on some quicker spring trips to get us going and give us some short but beautiful changes of scenery.

First stop… Southern California

With five children with a large age span (our youngest is a 4 year old girl, our eldest are almost 15 year old twin boys) we started doing separate Disneyland trips a couple of years ago.  It is the boys turn, so we will be off soon to spend some sun soaked days. They had a blast their last trip, which was also the first time we utilized Disney’s passes they have available for children/adults with special needs.

Disney, California, travel

I lived in Southern California from 1998-2002. When I moved there, I didn’t own a cell phone (not many people did) and the cars did not have GPS. You had…the Thomas Guide. Who is feeling me on this? Having to drive, follow a Thomas guide, and switch pages all while navigating God knows how many lanes of traffic? Good times. But you know what, they were good times. I have so many fun memories from my years living in SoCal…I love going there. It is always at the very least an annual trip for us…If kids are in tow we will do Disney, but I love driving past our first apartment, my first house as a homeowner, Downtown–where my favorite restaurant and bookstore are located (both on Sunset), my old job (Children’s Hospital Los Angeles), and the beach cities where I called home the four years I lived there. When you are lucky enough to be able to walk to the beach, you are lucky enough.

beach, California, summer

May….Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas has become one of my favorite short getaways. Close enough to drive there if we choose, and always an adventure. The last several years have found a huge assortment of fabulous restaurants calling Vegas home…Michael Mina, Le Cirque, Prime, Joël Robuchon (a semifinalist for three 2015 James Beard Awards presently –outstanding chef, outstanding pastry chef, and overall service–) and more. Because we’ve made this a spring getaway more than a few times now, it is fun to have our familiar favorites…(the red house wine at Vesper bar in The Cosmopolitan comes to mind). We aren’t big gamblers so the restaurants, reading poolside, hitting the spa, and taking in the occasional show are the draws for us here. Last year, we met Olivia Newton John after her Summer Nights show. This year, I’m looking forward to our reservations at Joël Robuchon.

Las Vegas, restaurants, travel

Last year, Circo in the Bellagio

 

May…San Francisco, CA

This is also becoming a more regular destination for us. Last year, we took a day in Napa to experience the Napa Valley Wine Train.  I love the weather (I did a three month work assignment in Northern CA in 1998); such a change from where we live today. The only drawback, if you can call it that, is the amazing food…it seems to always be the trip I come home weighing more than when I left. Last year’s favorite, The Trident, is on our short list again this year. Fun fact: We got engaged in San Francisco in 1999. We had dinner that night at Top of the Mark and then Darcy proposed with the ring after dinner at Coit Tower.

Napa, California, chefs

Meeting Chef Kelly Macdonald on the Napa Valley Wine Train

June…Sedona, AZ

I fell in love with Sedona when we first moved to Arizona. It was beautiful and different than any place I had ever been to.  We’ve taken visitors there for daytrips, and we’ve stayed there as a family and as a couple. Camping there as a family is a favorite memory. Two years ago, I took my eldest daughter there for the Sedona Yoga Festival. It’s not Darcy’s favorite destination for a day or overnight trip, so this year I’m getting my Sedona fix leading a girlfriends’ getaway retreat. Good friends, good food, and fun.

Family camping in Sedona

Our Sedona campsite; last family camping trip

 

I have learned to love the art of the short trip. With a can-do attitude and a plan it is amazing how much of a city you can explore in just one, two, or three days. I also love that we pretty equally divide our travels between just us and doing trips as a family. Since we homeschool, I love opportunities while traveling with the kids to find the teachable moment and share my love of adventure.

This year finds me not very picky about if we dive or where, if we travel a lot or a little, go a lot or stay home more.

I’m just excited about making memories with the people I love.

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