Thursday, August 16, 2007

Just Add Water

By Lisa Curry

Usually we spend a week at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, or Ocean City, Maryland, for family summer vacation. This year, for various reasons, we didn’t make beach reservations. Instead, this week we took a spur-of-the-moment trip north instead of east.

Tuesday we arrived in Niagara Falls. I’d been there twice before, once as a child and once with my husband when we first started dating. Our kids, 8 and 10, had never been there. I wasn’t sure how they’d like it. After all, it’s not like the beach – there’s not a whole lot for two active boys to do in Niagara Falls besides look at the falls.

But I’d forgotten. Forgotten the mesmerizing power of that water plunging over those cliffs – 675,000 gallons of water per second over the Canadian side of the falls, to be precise. Forgotten the lush green beauty of Goat Island. Forgotten the thrill of riding into the spray on the Maid of the Mist. Forgotten that Niagara Falls is something so spectacular that people come from all over the world just to look at it.

“You could just sit here and watch the water for hours, couldn’t you, Mommy?” said my firstborn, who never sits still. He pointed across the falls to a tall hotel on the Canadian side. “I wish I lived right there in the Embassy Suites, so I could just look out my window and see it every day.”

“Can we come back here next year?” asked my younger son as we took our last look at the falls before leaving town.

“We’ll see,” I said, as we climbed in the car for the drive south to the next stop on our vacation, Lake Erie. Not quite the ocean, but it has water, and I think that’s all you really need for a summer vacation.

How about you? What’s your best vacation memory? Did it involve water?

19 comments:

Annette said...

Hope you're having a great time at Lake Erie, which is definitely one of my favorite spots.

I've been to Florida twice and loved both of those trips. Wouldn't want to go there in the summer, though.

One of my other favorite vacation destinations is Williamsburg, Virginia.

But the most relaxing vacation I can remember was a few years ago when we headed to Gettysburg. No reservations, no definite plans. But it wasn't peak season and it was the middle of the week, so we found a nice hotel room within walking distance of the spot where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address. It was the most peaceful, low-stress vacation we've ever taken.

Tory said...

Best vacation memories are definitely from Hawaii and involve lots of crystal-clear, room temperature ocean water. I love wind surfing. For me it's the best combination of water, wind, and sky that you can get.

In my best dream of all time, I'm at a conference in Hawaii. I get out of a session and run down a green hill to jump in the water. Like most dreams, it was the feeling content that was so much more vivid than waking life. This one also had the increadible sea green and azure blue of the tropical ocean.

Unfortunately, my then cat, Kubla Khan, decided to start yowling and woke me from my best dream, ever. I've never gotten back there, but come closest I come to it is when I'm in Hawaii.

Joyce said...

My favorite place is definitely Gettysburg. We try to make a yearly "pilgrimage" but have yet to go in July when they have the big reenactments. Maybe for the 150th anniversary of the battle.

Second is Busch Gardens Williamsburg. We try to hit there about every other year. Favorite ride: Apollo's Chariot. Check it out on their website. Awesome!

Next week, hubby and I are spending a couple of days in Holmes County, Ohio--Amish country. I'll let you know if I can add that to my favorite places list.

Lisa, did you do the Cave of the Winds? My kids still remember that and they were tiny when we went to Niagara Falls.

mike said...

I've been so lucky, traveling all over Europe when I was stationed in Germany (and the dollar was worth somethin!) and taking advantage of Jim's bennies when he was a travel agent, so it's always hard for me to pick a favorite vacation spot. I'd say it's any place I'd want to visit again...off the top of my head that includes Hawaii, New Zealand, and Georgetown, The Bahamas. As for Florida...Annette, it's all yours. We've been there 3 times, and each visit was worse than the last. I've been campaigning to give that state back to the Spanish for years! We're visiting Williamsburg for the first time next month...really looking forward to that.

So glad your trip to Niagara Falls was such a great experience for you and the kids, Lisa. I always thought a trip to NF was pure kitsch, then I went and became a convert.

Lee Lofland said...

It sounds so odd to hear you guys talking about vacationing in areas where I worked undercover narcotics. How funny.

Anyway, my favorite vacation has to be the three months my wife and I spent traveling across the country in our RV. We started in Seattle, made our way down through California and then across the Mohave Desert to Vegas where we took in a few shows. Then we took in the sites at places such as, the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert, Meteor Crater, the Clinton Presidential Library, and Nashville to name a few. Oh, we also stopped (it was on the way) in Checotah, Oklahoma. Why? That's where Carrie Underwood lives. This was right after she won American Idol.

We didn't make any plans for this trip. We just started driving and stopped for the day when we got tired. If we liked a spot we stayed there for a couple of days before moving on.

jody said...

Hi Joyce - let me know when you're making your pilgrimage. Deb and I will take you to some of our favorite 'haunts'.
We usually avoid Gettysburg for the first half of July. Reenactment is the 1st through the 3rd, then there's 'biker week'. Makes for some interesting crowds, though.There's also a celebration each year on November 19th, the anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. It's worth seeing, if you don't mind gridlock traffic and people wearing (sometimes the wrong) period costumes, and affecting wierd Brit accents like some Renaissance Faire refugees.

Nancy said...

I took a bunch of French exchange students to Niagara with my daughter. They got tired of looking at the falls after about 5 minutes, so we did all the wax museums and haunted houses. Cultural exchange means a lot of things, right?

My husband does the Pickett's charge thing on horseback every other year at G-burg. It's like a pilgrimage for him.

Me, I like hanging out at the lake in Canada. Boats, water-skiing, and lots of books in the hammock.

Joyce said...

Jody, we were there for that weekend last November. I thought it was interesting that there were also WWII reenactors walking around. Now that, I could probably pull off. I love the clothes--no hoop skirts!

Nancy, I'm really impressed that your husband does Pickett's Charge. Maybe we should have a Stiffs weekend in GB. My son, the historian, can tell us way more than anyone wants to know about the battle.

Lee, we want to hear about the narcotics investigations!

Mike, make sure you go to Busch Gardens even if you don't ride anything. There are plenty of other things to do and the park is so beautiful. And did I mention the Festhaus and the Irish Pub?

jody said...

Joyce, I think the WWII reenactors were there because of the local ties to Eisenhower. I agree with you on the costumes, though. My 2007 body looks much better in 1940's fashion.
Nancy, that's so awesome that your husband does that. Three or four years ago, the reenactment was postponed because too much rain had made the battlefield too soggy (if only *real* battles could be postponed for weather, huh?). I was there in August when it was rescheduled and I got to see Picketts charge. There was a unit of about nine men who marched across the field alone. One of the reenactors explained to me that these guys were decendants of the only survivors of a (I think)South Carolina Company that had made the original charge. It was so moving to see them marching slowly in formation, carrying their colors. People were watching with tears in their eyes. It was humbling to think of such sacrifice.

jody said...

Oh, and Mike ? I remember Europe on the Uncle Sam Plan. Didja ever notice how all the trees started to look alike (at least - when you're peeing behind them). But I loved the wine-fests, the beer-fests, the let's-drink-Jaeger-till-we-puke-fests. Good times, my friend. Good times.

ramona said...

I'm joining in on the love of Gettysburg during the off season. I went once for a couple of nights between Christmas and New Year's with my 9 year old son. It was cold but wonderfully quiet, and the kid enjoyed the heated pool every night. We had a little excitement driving home ahead of a blizzard. I, literally, watched it chase us in my rear view mirror all the way home.

Rehoboth Beach is great in the off season, too, by the way. Lots of places to stay, great locals, fab restaurants and tax-free shopping!

Lee Lofland said...

Rehoboth Beach is a great place and just two or three miles south is Bethany Beach, my favorite. Denene and I were just there a few weeks ago.

I was born not too far from there.

mike said...

Jody--The trees did look alike! I forgot that. Apparently all the forests were planned that way after the original woods were cut down over the centuries. As for the rest, well, let's just say I learned the difference between good beer and bad (any American beer), how to make great coffee, and the pleasures of walking in downtown Kassel in the winter eating a hot, mustard-slathered bratwurst on a broetchen bought from a street vendor. Oh, and those shots of jagaermeister! Yep, them were the days!

Joyce--Every spring my grade school class would visit G-burg. By the time I was 12 I was sick to death of the Civil War. It wasn't til I was well into my 30s that I came to appreciate it and the important role G-burg played. It is a place that deserves more than one visit.

ramona said...

Gee, Lee, I was in Bethany a couple of weeks ago, too, for their summer writers' workshop. I am using the area as a setting, so I have to go down as often as possible. For, you know, "research."

The Rehoboth/Bethany area has some very active arts organizations, including a winter weekend retreat. If anyone is interesting in attending, or presenting, let me know.

Lee Lofland said...

I'd definitely love to present a workshop ot two for them. But is mystery/police/crime writing one of their areas of focus?

Research, yeah, right. That's why I went, too.

jody said...

Darn it, Mike - now you've got me missing Der Fatherland. Here's a site that I visit when I get 'homesick'. http://local.live.com/ You can get a satellite close-up of almost anywhere in the world. After reading your comments, I 'visited' Augsburg. Even got to see my old house in Rettenbergen. Check out Monterey - you can get great close-ups of DLI (Defense Language Institute)

ramona said...

Lee said:

But is mystery/police/crime writing one of their areas of focus?

I'm not sure, but maybe. I know some people to ask. If you are a native Delawarean, there are some independent bookstores always on the lookout for natives to showcase in their Local Author section. Which, this being Delaware, would increase your book sales by about...four.

Lee Lofland said...

And three of those are my family members so they'd expect me to give them a book for free.

Please do ask for me. I'd love to do something in Delaware, especially since I'm from there.

If you need to contact me my email link is on my website. Or, you can use lee@leelofland.com

Thanks.

ramona said...

Will do, Lee.