School’s out. Summer just literally arrived. And you know what that means.
A person’s thoughts turn to going on vacation.
I am in need of one. I’ve experienced a hectic year…no, make that a hectic two years.
Last year whipped by in a flurry because of all the wedding planning for our three offspring who married within six months of each other. And as this year forged its way to the half-year mark, more demands at work and other commitments occupied my time.
So a vacation sounds just like the ticket to me. Actually, a ticket anywhere sounds great! But unfortunately, the thought of a vacation is just that – a thought.
Reality is a stay-cation. My summer calendar is quickly filling up with appointments and obligations and hubby’s vacation time has been used for other purposes (weddings and small trips) until he reaches another milestone at his job.
Once while I
talked whined about my married kids living so far from home, a thoughtful listener reminded me that this gives us opportunities to discover and explore the places where they live. So one of the empty nest plus points is that if you have the time, you can visit your children flung hither and yon – some mini-vacays squeezed in here and there.
We’ve started doing just that. For Thanksgiving, we visited son and daughter-in-law and enjoyed attractions in their area. At Easter, we spent the holiday weekend with middle daughter and son-in-law in our neighboring state south of us and took in the lay of the land there.
Over Memorial Day weekend, we took a longer trip to the new home of oldest daughter and son-in-law. Although we have visited their city previously, we experienced some good eats and something we’ve never done before.
As it turned out, our son and daughter-in-law also joined us there. We had a great time together but we all missed the other two (middle daughter and son-in-law). And that got this empty nest mama to thinkin’! But I’ll save that for the end of this post.
Our culinary treats during our visit to the bluegrass state included down-home barbeque for a yummy and truly finger-lickin’ good lunch at Marks Feed Store and a Sunday after church lunch at a rather unique restaurant called Mussel & Burger Bar. Of course, ice cream is always necessary, so we sampled some deliciousness at Graeter’s, which immediately became one of our favorite ice cream spots.
As you read this you may be thinking, “Is that all you did while you were there – eat?” No! We stopped by for a friendly visit with Rodin’s famous statue, The Thinker, and some of us pretended to be great intellectual scholars and posed for photos.
And for the first time, we spent a day at the horse races at Churchill Downs.
Rodeos and horse shows? Been there, done that. But I’d never attended a horse race before.
On one of our previous trips south, we visited this attraction, but there were no races that day so we just paused for photos outside the facility.
This time we joined the excitement. Daughter and son-in-law obtained box seat tickets for all of us in the Clubhouse right near the finish line on a lovely afternoon. Watching those sleek and incredibly beautiful horses glide effortlessly around the race track was amazing! (I’ll post more photos later.)
Afterwards, we girls modeled some extravagant Kentucky Derby style hats we found in the gift shop. If I bothered to keep a bucket list, it would be one of those items to draw a line through and cross off with a flourish.
As unbelievable as it sounds, another spot I enjoyed visiting was Cave Hill Cemetery, one of the most interesting cemeteries I’ve seen.
No, I’m not morbid. My photographer’s eye just couldn’t get enough of the unusual and intriguing monuments (Kentucky Fried Chicken’s famous Col. Sanders is buried there).
These weren’t just grave markers, they were pieces of art as well as mausoleums, some built into hillsides, and something this Yankee-bred girl has not seen much of – Confederate Army Civil War soldiers’ graves.
The history is rich. You could wander around there for hours and the spring-time scenery proved so lush and green, and yes, I’ll say it, peaceful that my camera kept clicking non-stop.
So where will our next mini-trip take us? Not sure. But in the meantime, an idea planted in my brain during that trip took substance. These empty nest parents would love to plan a family vacation with all our kids.
Happily, they all jumped on board with a plan to descend on a beach destination in the next year or so. We’d like to spend a week together somewhere on the Mid-Atlantic East Coast that wouldn’t necessitate long driving trips for everyone.
Now the question is where? A nice family friendly beach we’ve not been to before sounds promising so the search commences. We’re open for suggestions!
Okay, now I have an urge to go listen to Beach Boys songs….and start surfin’ the net for a beach location because ‘wouldn’t it be nice?’