Last-Minute Vacations

As summer draws to an end, many of you are probably rushing around trying to hit the back-to-school sales. It seems like just yesterday that school was letting out for the summer and people at work were sharing plans for trips and family vacations.

Do you have any last-minute summer vacation plans?

Usually, my wife and I spend a couple of weeks in New England visiting family. Due to family circumstances, we were unable to take our trip this summer, but are looking forward to taking our trip later in the year.

Earlier this week, I was talking to a colleague in the office and she was telling me about her recent family vacation to Seattle and Vancouver. She told me about how she enjoyed exploring the cities and experiencing the differences in architecture and landscape architecture there.

As we talked, she told me that this was the first vacation she had taken with her husband since they were married. Like us, they usually spend their vacations visiting family.

It struck me later, as I was reflecting on our conversation, that with as busy as most of us in our profession seem to be, many of us don’t really have the opportunity to take a real vacation for two weeks every year to relax and re-energize our bodies and minds.

Case in point: This year, we decided to take a series of mini-weekend vacations until we can visit family in New England later.

This last weekend, we took a trip to my hometown for a family reunion. My only living grandparent, my father’s mother, turned 86 earlier this year. When she spent some time in the hospital a few months back, a couple of my aunts decided to plan a family picnic once our grandmother had recovered, because it had been many years since we had all come together.

It was a great reunion with four generations of our family attending. This was the first time in almost 10 years that we had had this many members of our family together in one place at the same time.

At first, we dreaded the thought of spending the day in the hot Arizona summer sun. But Mother Nature had other plans, and it rained very heavily for most of the afternoon. Fortunately, we had a large hotel reserved and were able to enjoy a dry potluck lunch while the rain fell steadily and kept the temperature in the upper seventies.

Once the rain let up, the older kids enjoyed a few hours of playing catch, Frisbee, and riding skateboards and scooters around a park. The younger cousins were happy splashing in water puddles and catching frogs while us adults reminisced about being young and not having a care in the world.

Later that night, my wife and I met my mom, my brothers, and my sisters-in-law for dinner at a family friend’s vineyard and restaurant. The wonderful day was concluded with a walk among the grapes and a delicious meal with great local wine.

While it wasn’t a week spent on the beach soaking up the sun, it was one of the nicest weekends we’ve had in quite some time, and we look forward to returning again.

Do you have plans for any last-minute vacations before school starts again? If so, I’d love to hear about them. Feel free to leave a comment below, send me a tweet, or even an email. I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great weekend!

Boyd Coleman is a landscape architect in Phoenix, Arizona. He can be reached on twitter at @CDGLA or email: