A cheap vacation is in your dreams Memory: Miss that great spot or moment? You can go back to it anytime you want to give yourself a break.

Taking the Kids

September 28, 1997|By Eileen Ogintz | Eileen Ogintz,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

Come on. Snap out of those post-summer blues. Sure you're frazzled trying to keep soccer practices, piano lessons and orthodontist appointments straight at the same time that the boss gives you a big project and the scout troop insists no one but you can fill the laid-up leader's shoes.

Don't you wish you were back lazing on that Southern California beach, hiking up that Colorado mountain trail, poking around that cute Wisconsin resort town or eating lobster in Maine? You can be -- mentally, at least.

Recalling a trip's best moments can be as much fun as being there, readers tell me, as can discussing what you'll do next time. So here's my tip to survive those filled-to-brim fall days: Pour yourself a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, spread out the pictures and leave for vacation -- for a few minutes, anyway.

To get you in the spirit, here are some stories parents have told me about the wonderful experiences they love to have again in their minds.

* Beth Barovick, a Massachusetts mother of three young kids, was eating lunch in a lovely Cape Cod restaurant with her sisters-in-law. The kids were with their dads while the moms were relaxing at their annual women-only lunch-and-book-club meeting, discussing the book they'd chosen and read beforehand.

"This gave us a delicious and mentally stimulating break from the chaos during the rest of the week," Barovick wrote, adding that the group prolonged the break with a stop at a gallery.

* Linda Barnum Hurt, a Dallas legal secretary, sat by the river at the Circle K Ranch (800-477-6381) in Dolores, Colo., an hour's drive from Telluride. "I'm thinking about the morning trail rides," she said. "That's the best escape for someone who commutes downtown. It's 102 degrees here today, and I feel cooler just talking about the ranch," she joked when I called.

* Nancy Simmons, a Hershey, Pa., mother of two daughters, chatted with newfound friends around the after-dinner campfire while the kids roasted marshmallows at Timberlock, a small Adirondack summer resort in Indian Lake, N.Y. (Call the winter number, 802-457-1621.) No glitz, television or even electricity in the cabins, Simmons wrote, but that endeared the place to her.

"There even is romance with the kids along," Simmons continued. "When darkness falls, we return to our cabin. I light the kerosene lamps that are provided. The warm cozy glow soothes our children as they drift off to sleep."

* Dana Weinberg, a Connecticut mother with a 2-year-old and a baby, enjoyed a leisurely dinner at the Wayside Inn in Carmel, Calif. (800-433-4732), where the Weinbergs' small, one-bedroom suite was especially conducive to take-in gourmet feasts they could buy right in the neighborhood. "It was so much more relaxing than going to a restaurant every night," Weinberg said, adding they could take it easy in the mornings, too, since breakfast arrived at their door in a basket.

* Eileen Hornquist went back more than a century for her shot of life-can-be-wonderful. She and her two sons were in Montpelier, Idaho, along the Oregon Trail, where they happened on a re-enactment of pioneers making their way west. The Hornquists, who had left Dad at home, working, near Buffalo, N.Y., were in the midst of a six-week, 7,000-mile car trip across the country that she called "the trip of a lifetime." Hornquist planned carefully, waiting until her sons were 12 and 14, "old enough to appreciate what they were seeing but not too old to be with Mom," she explained.

"We were close before, but the trip made us closer," Hornquist said. "I'd do it again in a heartbeat."

Please write or e-mail me your fantasy of the perfect family vacation. I'll try to steer you to the reality. Write Taking the Kids, Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, Calif. 90053, or e-mail me: EogintOL. com.

Pub Date: 9/28/97

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