Old School Summer Vacations

[trip style = beach + budget conscious + weekend getaway] {Editor's Note: Last week we interviewed Dr. Murad, aka the father of internal skin care! He's given us a 4-piece Radiant Renewal Kit to give away! Enter here. Contest closes tomorrow, Aug. 16, at noon.}

A few weeks ago I was out for dinner with friends, and we got to talking about some of the less-than-fancy hotels or vacation rentals we summered at when we were little. Think old motels, lake-front cottages and nylon tents. The detail to which each friend could describe the places they stayed---down to the texture of the carpet---was incredible. At first we joked that many of our July and August accommodations weren't necessarily the types of establishments we'd instinctively book today, but then we wondered, why not?

Moral of the story: all our happy summer memories weren't created at five-star properties with pool boys and daily housekeeping, but came as a result of a great group of people, sometimes-silly traditions and a setting that allowed maximum outdoor time---only retreating indoors to change and sleep! 

Buffie Summered in: Osoyoos, BC [trip style = beach] I remember heading up to Osoyoos year after year with the fam. With about five other families, we all stayed at The Falcon or the Spanish Fiesta which sat side by side on the lakefront. Both were totally old and tacky, but hey, it was right on the beach and what more do you need than a bed, a pull-out couch, a mini kitchen and a bathroom! I remember it had orange-ish curtains and brown carpet. My sister and I would share the pull-out bed and we always wished our parents would just sleep in past 7am for once. This was back in the day when sleeping till noon was perfectly normal. The days consisted of going boating, tubing, sitting on the beach, swimming and just hanging out! At night, all five families would meet back at the beach and we would do a potluck/BBQ dinner. After dinner the teens would walk to the Dairy Queen just up the road for a dilly bar or a blizzard, and finish the night off with a mandatory hang-out on the beach. Once or twice a year all of us kids would have a sleepover on the beach under the stars, only to wake-up at about 5am thinking it was a dumb idea! It was cheap, hot and tons of fun.

Nicole Summered in: Shuswap Lake, BC [trip style = beach] Each summer my family would head to Blind Bay, BC, a small community on the southern shore of Shuswap Lake. Along with my Aunt, Uncle, and two cousins we would rent two cottages. Dinners would be a BBQ all together on a picnic bench between cabins. There was a big grass lawn separating the cabins from the lake where we could play horseshoes, jump on the trampoline and gather together at night around a fire, roasting marshmallows and making s'mores. Days would be spent on the lake. It was here where we learned to water ski, drive the boat and tube. We were outside all day and for most of the evening. Day trips would be to the cliffs where we would go cliff jumping or to the small stable where we would ride ponies! The resort caretakers were Fred and Ev, an elderly couple who all the kids adored! Ev rode an adult tricycle bike we all loved. We would pick a soda from the giant fridge in the head office, and if we were really lucky, we would get giant freezies. *Note, the resort no longer exists, but there are a variety of summer vacation options at Shuswap Lake! For example, Scotch Creek Cottages catches the essence of Nicole's summer days at the lake.

Trish {Editor-In-Chief} Summered in: Whistler [trip style = camping] One summer tradition that started when I was five and continued into my late teens was hiking in Whistler or Manning Park, BC and Banff, AB. Each year the dads in our group of family friends would wrangle the kids and we'd venture up a mountain, preferably to glaciar-fed Garibaldi Lake, sporting giant orange packs with pots and pans clanging against each other with every step we took up the switch-back trail on a two-night, three-day hiking adventure. No moms allowed. The ladies willingly retreated to a hotel or condo in Whistler where they would go for long walks, read, shop and eat out sans kids. Good deal. In the original incarnation of the hiking trip, we just drove home after the multi-kilometer hike. Then everyone got smarter and decided soaking in a hot tub within 20-mins of our final descent would be a much better way to end the trek. So for the next 15 years, five families would stay at The Tantalus Lodge, a two-minute walk from Whistler Village. All the kids cared about was the pool and hot tub, and car racing video game machines in the lobby, whereas the parents appreciated the in-suite kitchens and private bedrooms---oh, and its proximity to the Polo Ralph Lauren Store {and its epic summer sales} that used to be at the base of Whistler!

[photos: spanish fiestacottages in canadame_mel]