Our Summer Vacation

I am just back from a big family vacation. To celebrate my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary, we rented a big house in the wilds of Vermont. My brother and his family, my sister and her family, my family, and my parents all spent a week there. It was isolated. That meant no cell service, but it also meant clear night skies with more stars than I can recall seeing in many years. After the week in Vermont, me, Kelly, and the kids headed to Newport, Rhode Island for a few days.

It was a fun vacation, but not a relaxing one. We kept busy. Here are some of the things we did:

  • Visited a local farm.
  • Attended a Vermont Lake Monsters baseball game. It had everything. Home runs, wild pitches, balks, pass-balls.
  • Hired a photographer for a big family photo shoot. I’m not sure we got a picture with everyone smiling at once.
  • Visited the Ben & Jerry’s factory. It was late in the day and we didn’t want to wait for the tour. Instead, we visited the graveyard of retired flavors.
  • Visited a children’s science museum on a rainy day in which everyone else in the State of Vermont had the same idea.
  • Looked at Jupiter and Saturn through my binoculars. Many of the kids saw the Galilean moons for the first time.
  • Cooked lots of food. Even so, I came home 3 pounds lighter than when I left. I’m not kidding: this was a busy vacation.
  • Had lots of bonfires at night. Then took showers before bed to wash the smell of the bonfire away so as to avoid making the bedsheets smell like smoke.
  • Went tubing down a river.
  • Walked through the nearby town and bought $16 worth of books at their book festival on the green.
  • Saw several covered bridges.
  • Hiked down into Quechee Gorge. Hiked back up again. Both ways, with the baby strapped to me.
  • Spent time at a local lake. Took the Little Miss out in a kayak. We went to the very center of the lake, where it was peaceful. It was probably the quietest moment of the vacation.
  • Toured three of Newport’s famous mansions.

It was great to spend time with the extended family. I don’t get to see my brother and his family very often and to spend a week together was a lot of fun. But it was exhausting, and I woke up this morning feeling worn out and in desperate need of a vacation.

One remarkable thing happened on vacation: I did not touch a keyboard or a look at a computer screen for 11 consecutive days. I found that I didn’t miss it either. I returned from vacation wondering how I could spend less time touching keyboards and looking at computer screens.

Now, I am counting the days to our winter vacation in December. Vacations are funny like that.

About Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.