It's pretty easy to go on a vacation - a weekend, a week, or if you're lucky a whole month off of your everyday fast track. Coming home is always the hardest part of any journey, but there are a few things I do to ensure my recent experience away provides a foundation for moving forward into my everyday life with new lessons learned about people, places, and cultures around the country and the world.
Not only was this a sleepy but charming town at 10:00 AM on a Sunday, but Boonsville, MO also made the Smithsonianmag.com's Top 10 Places to Visit list! Why? We aren't really sure from the short time we were there except our visit to the donut shop could be a hint - they fill your donut with whatever flavor you'd like and cap it with a smile. Friendly people can make a town go round! Check out the list here and craft your own road trip! http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/best-small-towns-2015-180954993/
This will be short. Frankly, I was so intrigued and exhausted from our cross-country trip that blogging didn't appear to be a natural next step, but sleep fit right in.
The Spring before our son's Senior Year we embarked on the traditional college visit journey combined with visits to friends and family up to 1,500 miles away. No, we did not fly to our destination. We drove from Colorado through the midwest to the East Coast-South Carolina, to be exact. Was this trip daunting? Yes. Would we do it again? Probably not-at least not all four of us. Will we remember it forever? Absolutely.
On our college visit list were two southern colleges-University of Tampa and Savannah College of Art and Design. Our kids, ages 16 and 13 at the time, were none to thrilled about the long haul in our Toyota Highlander, largely due to the intermittent wifi connection. Our son's enthusiasm for pursuing an art or psychology degree - or both, in addition to his elite swim career, drew us to these schools-out of the Rockies and into the south.
Along the way through middle America, we traversed both space and time, landing in and pursuing small towns that time seemed to have forgotten, We found smaller side highways and larger fields in which to dream, snack, and then move on. We arrived at our Myrtle Beach destination and spent three beautiful off-season (meaning NO tourist crowds) days exploring the beach and surround wildlife refuges, small towns, and shopping strips.
Savannah, Georgia is a wonderful town - hip and southern all at the same time, the food rocked and so did the waterfront and the people. Savannah is worth a night or two for couples and families.
From Savannah we stopped quickly through Tampa then onward back home with stops to see friends in Nashville (also a rockin' crazy town with a daytime atmosphere suitable for kids and a nighttime atmosphere resembling a gritty southern Las Vegas). The Country Music Hall of Fame was matched only by the stellar farm-to-table options and growing industrial makers markets that surround Nashville;s main street and party avenue.
Back home through St. Louis, we arrived back in Denver 8 days later, worn out by the length of the road trip but proud we did it-and everyone was still alive. So, would we do it again? Truthfully, the entire cross-country trip was exhausting, but since we did that, we found our 2-day caravan out to Ohio this summer for my son's freshman year at College of Wooster so much easier as we knew...it could have been SO much worse!
For families thinking about a road trip, it's better to decide to do it and embark on a great adventure that you will not forget. From small towns to big towns, you get to see America-land of the free, home of the brave, and a whole lot of amazing people across the country who represent all that is good about our small corner of the world. This is why we travel-by foot, by car, by train, by boat, and by air-the world is our oyster, and we open it one trip at a time.
Deirdre Oss is a veteran city planner, mother of two awesome teenagers, and wife to an amazing husband and travel partner. A city girl for generations, her home and heart are in Denver, Colorado with family and friends across the country and the pond. Over two decades working in city planning provided the foundation for her to explore different cities through the lens of community planning to create places for people to thrive in daily life and beyond. This perspective allows her to travel with an eye toward local economy, transit, and special neighborhoods that appeal to both residents and tourists.