spa resort, best vacations for kids

~Shared by Kathy Van Horn

When you go on vacations, do you have certain rituals or things that your family always does?

Like many of our Woodloch guests, I have certain traditions when my family goes on vacation. Over the years, guests have shared some of their rituals with me.

A month before vacation, the Baker family makes a large calendar with their three children.   On their calendar they put their favorite things they like to do while at Woodloch, such as arts & crafts, go carts, bounce bowling, etc.  Then each night before bed they cross off the day, and count how many days till they leave.The Flemming family gives their son some quarters with his allowance so that he can save for the game room.  He starts right after he leaves Woodloch and continues until he packs for Woodloch. 

Samantha Jones makes a habit of packing at least three days in advance using multiple checklists. Through the years and over many vacations, she has refined and finessed her packing skills to an expert level. “Forget a camera once, and you learn a lesson. With four children, though, there always seems to be something I forget! This little ritual of mine covers me about 98% of the time.”

The Hennigan family makes a game (and now a tradition) of the trip itself. While they are driving from their home in West Virginia, they play the time honored “Yellow Car” game: during their almost 8-hour drive, the family scans the horizon for yellow cars. The person to first identify the car is awarded a point, and the winner is treated to a lakeside cocktail upon arrival.

Todd Applebaum of Bethesda, Maryland repeats the same tradition every year as he gets into his Cadillac for the long haul to Woodloch . . . napping all the way. “I never was one for travel,” says Todd. “Luckily, the Mrs. takes good care of me. I recline the seat, rest my eyes and the next thing I know I’m home in Hawley, rested and ready for my summer vacation.” And sure enough, Todd takes another nap on the way back to Maryland, this time from “total (but worthwhile) exhaustion.”

We have many groups who take their family Christmas card picture at Woodloch.   Some take it by our fisher boy in front of the main lobby and compare how big their children have gotten from the year before, while others take it by the fireplace. Traditions are important; they are part of who we are.

Take my family for example:

About a month before we go to Maine, we take out our stuffed lobster toy and hide it somewhere in our house.  The person who finds it gets to hide it next.  It’s very exciting and gets our whole family ready to go away.

We stop at the same restaurant on the way to Maine. We also go to the same flee market every year.

It’s good to have traditions and rituals with your family.  It builds memories for all family members.  It’s nice when you reflect back and say, “remember when?,” or “that day was so much fun”, or “I can’t wait until we do that again.”

Does your family have any interesting travel traditions? We would love to hear all about them!