My Mini-Break Summer

Taylor and I haven’t managed to take a major vacation yet this year, but we have been on a string of lovely mini-breaks this summer.

Perhaps that’s been better off for my mental health, since I was just reading that some research suggests  only a week after their vacation workers have already lost the boost in happiness they get from taking time off (Really, someone studied this?).

Taylor is definitely a big-trip person, with his three month, see-every-country-in-Europe excursions. I usually fall into the two to three weeks would be ideal but I’ll take it where I can get it camp. And living on the East Coast, there are so many lovely and totally different places to go within a two to three hour drive. Usually I like to stick around in the city during the summer, when the nights get hot and sticky and I can wear shorts outside and get ice cream at midnight. But this year I couldn’t take it — the over 100-degree days have melted away my love for summer heat. Maybe I’m getting old. Maybe I’ve done too much Bikram and my body is just telling me No More! In any case, I am seeking escape as often as possible this summer. Here is a roundup of highlights from what will forthwith be known as The Summer of Mini-Breaks.

Boston – July 4th Weekend

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Baby Owen’s baptism, North Shore beach time, fried fish and a delicious affogato-esque concoction of coffee and cream-flavored ice cream. That’s right Megan and Taylor!! My affogato-like concoction was Delicious and had no need for your sugar-saturated root beer. On the way back, Taylor and I stopped at the Framingham Target and Wal-Mart to stock up on essentials. Like cute dresses. And beach chairs. You know.

Camping in the Catskills – Little Pond Campground, Andes, NY

What a perfect camping spot. I can’t rave enough about this campground — beautiful sites, clean bathrooms, good hiking all around and a beautiful lake with ice-cold water that felt like liquid glass.

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Yet again, we found our camping site to be a little bigger than we have need for, given the extent of our setup is a tiny two-person tent and two chairs (see below). I like traveling light, especially when camping, but I am beginning to really envy the beautiful clean tents I’ve seen, the big grills and screened in table areas, the elaborate rope rigging people set up to hang their clothes and towels on, yeah all that crap.

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We’re beginning to develop a camping routine: pack for days, inevitably forget something (last time: pillows; this time: bottle opener), drive 20 minutes to the nearest town to purchase said forgotten thing, set up camp, debate over how to inflate the Big Agnes — our double-wide sleeping pad and a whole other story — and whether it does inflate at all, pasta for dinner, crackling fire that dies three times before we get it going, smores for dessert, bedtime. Next day: repeat, throw in a hike that takes twice as long as expected.

Country Relaxation in Warwick, NY

Forecasts of temperatures going well above 100 prompted us to book a last-minute getaway to a town in the Western Hudson Valley, technically Orange County. I had found Warwick because of its proximity to Greenwood Lake, which is supposed to be one of the nicest in the Hudson Valley. But the weather was so atrocious, we didn’t even make it to the lake. No matter, the B&B we put up at was absolutely lovely, with a sitting room, homemade cookies, a hammock and lots of air conditioning. I always feel like a pretender at B&Bs — they’re meant for stodgy old folks who wake up at 5am and go antiquing, right? But the proprietors were lovely, helpful and made darn good waffles. I still think someone out there should look into a B&B model for young people — and when I say young people I mean 30-year-old-farts like me who like to sit around all day reading with a good stiff cocktail, and would perhaps like to do that in a beautiful house in a beautiful setting but with maybe not so much French toile and Americana kitsch.

We camped out at the Stony Creek Inn all day and night, I did two diagramless crossword puzzles and finished a book, Taylor dutifully worked on programmy stuff all day, and it made me realize how much I miss the country. I may have only been a country girl for four years in college, but it has stuck with me.

Coming Up:

Visiting Erika and Pookie in North Carolina!!

Camping on the Cape, Labor Day Weekend!!

The Berkshires — in planning!!

(I don’t know why I think anyone else cares about my mini-break schedule but it’s gratifying to see it all spelled out for some reason.)