By Anne Leedom
Photo credit: Anita Ritenour
It never ceases to amaze me how a simple moment can be life-changing: Waking up to the smell of clean, ocean air; knowledge that the world’s greatest tasting breakfast is on its way; joy that my teenage children are a few feet away; and excitement about all the miracles we’ll discover and share in the coming hours.
This is my dream moment. My dream became a reality when I opened my eyes and curtains and looked out at the incredibly gorgeous and unendingly perfect Monterey Bay from the exquisite Portola Hotel and Spa at Monterey Bay in California. There’s nothing as bonding and empowering to a family than sharing moments that will last a lifetime. Vacations and travel, in my opinion, are the very best way to connect. Making memories is the secret to finding balance and joy, and ultimately, creating a family legacy. For my daughter’s 17th birthday, this was hands down, the best way to celebrate how much I appreciate what a miracle she is to me.
Want to create a legacy for your children? Give these strategies a try when you have a chance to create magical moments, which I still say, requires the Monterey Bay!
1. Texting is allowed, but only to each other as needed. All communication to friends and family back home is done via pictures and notes that are taken, saved and shared later.
2. Share an adventure. Include at least one common activity. In our case, we took a breathtaking drive from Monterey to Big Sur to watch the whales off the California coast. They were visible from the road, so we didn’t need a boat. We liked the flexibility to stop wherever we wanted. Of course, no trip to this region would be complete without a visit to the famous Rocky Point Restaurant!
3. Schedule down time. Our hotel included a superb collection of movies, which enabled us to relax, enjoy the lights and watch a movie in the evenings. Okay, yes, there was also chocolate and a glass of wine.
4. Plan at least one great meal. We tend to love steak. I realize that in Monterey seafood is the dinner of choice. Most places offer both, thankfully, but if you do want to savor the greatest steak in the world you just can’t beat Jacks. It’s phenomenal. It’s also a splurge, but it’s truly liberating to pay more for dinner than I normally pay. Not crazy expensive, but enough to say yes, this is a good thing and so glad I did it! Relaxing, laughing, talking and enjoying a special meal together is a powerful way to connect with your family.
5. Learn the area’s history. I want my kids to understand the value of history, including their own. Visiting a few prominent historical locations on the trip was important to me. We saw the first theatre in California, the Presidio, and classic landmarks like Cannery Row. Seeing such landmarks shows kids that history is fun and helps them to appreciate that they are, in fact, part of history too.
Before your days get too busy this year, take a moment to plan a magical getaway. You don’t have to go far. However, if you can put Monterey, California into your plans this year, your children will thank you. The incredible abundance of sights, sounds, smells and activities will create a legacy of memories that will stay with you long after you return home to life’s daily routines. It wasn’t a dream, but rather an amazing adventure that will be cherished for a lifetime. The Portola Hotel and Spa offers the greatest views and the service is unparalleled. It gives me joy to see the smiles on my kids’ faces as they remember the fun we had… together. Even as teenagers! Now that is a great gift!
What strategies do you use to create memories on your family vacations?
Anne Leedom is the publisher of ParentingBookmark.com, a website offering expert strategies on raising caring kids. She frequently contributes to national media and works with the Portola Hotel and Spa and other travel destinations too offer ideas on how to connect with kids through the wonder of travel and adventure. For more information visit ParentingBookmark.com.
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