Top Five Vacations

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Yesterday, while dining at Buca with my wife for our anniversary, Jennifer suggested that we think of some of the best things from each year of our marriage. After deciding it was easiest to go by calendar year, we commenced with 1996 and proceeded from there.

For some years, it was really hard to think of good things. A couple of times, I said things that weren’t very good, and Jennifer said to only think of the positive memories. Of course, every year has had happy memories, but we were generally sticking with larger events. What I mean is, there have been numerous times when Jennifer and I have stayed up late, watched a movie and shared a bowl of pop-corn. Those are some good times – and I’m sure that’s happened at least once every year, but we were concentrating mostly on the bigger memories rather than on the day-to-day happenings.

For 2005, we mentioned Owen’s birth, of course. And when we got to 2010, we mentioned Isla’s birth. We thought of when our cats first came to live with us, and we thought of new jobs and new homes and going to college and going on vacation. In fact, we thought of lots of vacations. This might seem a bit shallow – to suggest that the best times in life are the artificially constructed good times wherein we purposely put our normal lives on hold and retreat to some other part of the world for a few days – but, hey, vacations are memorable. And some of them have been quite good. Here then are, in my opinion, the five best vacations that Jennifer and I have gone on together as a married couple…

1) Our Honeymoon (1996)

We ‘honeymooned’ in Hudson, Wisconsin, a town that’s barely outside the Twin Cities area. So, I’m not even sure this qualifies as a vacation. Nevertheless, I loved getting away from all the crazy stress of our lives at that time and venturing off to somewhere where no one knew where we were. We stayed at the Jefferson Day House and spent three days dining in nice restaurants, playing on the beach, touring historic sites, and doing what newly-married couples do.

2) Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island (2001)

For our five year anniversary, we took off in our first airplane ride together. Jennifer, a big fan of Anne of Green Gables, had always wanted to see Prince Edward Island. We spent the first night in Nova Scotia, then a week on the island. Everything was gorgeous. It was on this trip that I first realized I loved seafood. We spent several evenings at Prince Edward Island National Park, watching the sun set over the Atlantic. On our last evening, we sat in an old church and listened to some local acts playing their music and dancing. Jennifer was actually sad to leave, and I assured her we’d go again someday. That was ten years ago…

3) Two Harbors (2002)

Having been up to Duluth as children (for Jehovah’s Witnesses conventions), Jennifer and I desired to go back up to the North Shore and see it as adults. Jennifer found Northern Rail, a perfect balance between bed-and-breakfast and hotel. We took in the local sites: Gooseberry Falls, Split Rock Lighthouse, The Lake Superior Zoo, The Glensheen Mansion, and The Great Lakes Aquarium. In the evenings, we got back to our hotel early, dined at Betty’s Pies, and watch TV. That was our first time seeing Survivor, a show we’ve watched ever since.

4) Bluefin Bay (2004)

Traveling further north than we’d ever been in Minnesota, Jennifer and I took part in a family trip with her parents and her brother and sister. We all stayed in one beautiful condo that overlooked Lake Superior. On our first evening there, we all went out to eat together and Jennifer announced that she was pregnant. Everyone was surprised and happy for us. For the next three days, we pretty much just stayed around the condo, played games and ate awesome food.

5) Caribbean Cruise (2004)

Less than a month after getting home from the Bluefin Bay Trip, Jennifer and I (again accompanied by her brother and his wife), flew down to Florida. There, we met up with more relatives and boarded a cruise ship that took us to the Bahamas and Key West. Again, there was more great food. We snorkled, played games, watched live shows, toured Hemingway’s house, the Key West Winery, and a maritime museum. There was a long, cold winter ahead of us, but it was great being in the hot sun for a few days. Even if I did get bad sunburn on my back.

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