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Making Memories


I still look back fondly on my childhood summer vacations with family. We didn’t go to exotic places – we stayed close to home and spent a week at the Oregon coast. We would take long walks along the vast shoreline, hunt for seashells, and have hot dog roasts on the beach with s’mores for dessert. Simplifying a family vacation by stripping away the glitz associated with an exotic destination can allow you to focus instead on being together in the moment. These less glamorous memories will be just as vibrant later in life.

Here are my suggestions for planning a memorable summer vacation:

  1. Find a place to go that’s close to home. Locate state parks, historic locations, and places of great beauty that are nearby.

  1. If possible, find a house to rent. It will be more comfortable than a hotel and may end up being less expensive if your stay is more than a few days. Look for a house in a setting that encourages outdoor activities you can all enjoy together, like hiking, fishing, biking, swimming, or picnicking. Look for a rental with a kitchen so you can easily prepare family meals together.

  1. Invite grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins along. Far too often we omit our extended families due to emotional and physical distances. Remember how important an extended family is to a healthy and happy nuclear family unit. The richness of multiple generations is a great asset to the family core.

  1. Finally, choose a place where you know you’ll be able to relax and enjoy a few supremely lazy days. It’s a rare treat in today’s world to have periods of unplanned, unfilled time in which our minds are free to wander.

One of my favorite summer recipes is pasta estiva (summer pasta). This pasta dish is easy and inexpensive to make. It is rich in protein and carbohydrates, making it a wonderful one-dish meal. A simple green salad or crudités (raw cut up vegetables) with small bowls of extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt for dipping served alongside is perfect. A crisp dry white wine like a Greghetto or Pinot Grigio makes the meal complete.

I hope that you and your family enjoy this recipe as much as mine does!