We have a family tradition here at the Frugal Upstate Village Homestead. When we go on summer vacation to the mountains, it’s an uplugged vacation. That means no TV, iPod, Computer, Video Games. . . no nuthin! That’s been the rule for the last 5 years, and the kids don’t even question it–as a matter of fact, they will even say they kind of look forward to it because they know we will actually spend time together doing things.
We are very blessed. My Mother-in-law rents a cabin up in the Adirondack mountains for several weeks and invites us up to stay with her. Over the years she’s rented several different places, but I think we’ve found the keeper-a true old style cabin right on a semi quiet lake with a dock and huge wrap around porch. We love it!
There is no cell service (although there is a house phone) and although the landlords next door have wifi and a repeater, it only comes in on one corner of the porch, and that’s only if the clouds aren’t in the way of the satellite signal. Yankee Bill and I do check the news and weather on our phones a bit, and I have to bring my laptop and check work email and occasionally have had to do a post. . .but we really try to keep it screen free.
We chip in bringing food for meals and taking turns cooking, the kids help set and clear the table and do a bit of light sweeping, so there is a bit of “work” to be done, but for the most part it’s a relaxing, quiet (and pretty frugal!) vacation.
The biggest part of the vacation in good weather is spent on the lake. The kids love waterskiing and tubing, and Yankee Bill loves any excuse to run our old 1970′s Glastron boat.
A large part of our time is just spent being a family. Imagine that! The kids get some quality and extended Nana time. Princess told me this year that she loves it because they really get a chance to talk to Nana. This year I remember one quiet afternoon where she asked “How did you and Pop meet?” and I got to hear that story, which I had never heard before. We do occasionally run into the quaint mountain town nearby for a meal or to check out the shops–especially when the weather is cooler or rainy (which we had about half the time this year–it was 65 one day!)
What do the kids do? Well, a lot of different things. Buddy was really into playing card games this year–we played tons of hands of Rummy and War. He played solitare quite a few times (including a special kind Nana taught him that you play holding the entire deck of cards in your hand). Yankee Bill taught the kids to play poker–so we had several rounds of 5 card draw. We also played Rummikub and Clue. Books were read. The adult ladies did some knitting. Princess made a ton of hemp knotted bracelets and embroidery floss friendship bracelets, and she and Buddy both made those rubber band loom bracelets. Nana took the kids out one morning and they made terrariums from things they found in the forest. I had bought a couple of paint by number pictures from Walmart (those were new) and they did those, and with the leftover paint they decided to paint rocks (hence my lovely “I love Mama” rocks–which are going in my herb garden after I shellac them). I even wrote a blog post about nailpolish
They kept busy, except for when they did not. . .and then it was ok to just sit quietly or even be a little bored for a little bit. That’s what Princess told me “I was a little bored a few times, but that was ok”. Isn’t that a truth we’ve forgotten? It’s actually ok to just spend some time quietly “being”, letting our thoughts wander and maybe being a tiny bit bored. We don’t have to be frantically busy every minute of every day.