Vacation = Going Back Home


I’m just settling back home after a long weekend getaway at the happiest place on earth. No, it’s not Disney World. My biased argument is that Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia is the happiest place to spend your summer (at least for me).

I did something I just don’t do enough… I took time off work! I vacationed from Thursday – Monday to spend some summertime fun with my family at my parents’ waterfront home. I even took a little time off from photography work. I did little-to-no editing, and I took a little time off from Instagram. All of which allowed me to focus my time on my family, especially my niece and nephew (who are the subjects of most of the photos scattered through this post)

Brooke and Nate take a splash into the lake from my parents’ dock.

If you have vacation plans this summer, I highly recommend unplugging from work, social media, e-mails, everything! It’s amazing how many memories you can make in a short amount of time when you get that screen away from your face.

Wednesday evening, I left work to make the five-hour trip south to my parents’ house. Just as I was shuffling my (way too many) bags through the door, my mom excitedly ran past me saying, “OH! You’re just in time!! Your sister is on the phone!” That means very little to you until I provide context — my sister and her husband live in Arizona, and they’re expecting their firstborn in December.

So that greeting was more exciting to me than a hug hello and a “how was the drive” conversation. My sister is just far enough along in her pregnancy that I knew my mom’s excitement must mean we’re about to find out the gender of the baby!

We all gathered into the living room and awaited the big reveal. My entire family decided it must be a girl… and we were RIGHT!! I’m having a new NIECE! It was the perfect start to a great family vacation.

Brooke loves feeding the ducks at our favorite waterfront restaurant, Moosies.

The rest of my time there was spent mostly barefoot and on the water. My ideal vacation is the kind where I hardly have to pack any clothes, because I’ll scarcely wear anything other than a swimsuit.

Included in the itinerary was test driving the new boat my dad has been eyeing up. It’s a Cobalt with really cool wake-control features for wake surfing, wake boarding, and tubing. We were all really impressed by it, which led to only one more decision to make — what color Dad should buy. My family has a lot of strong, opinionated personalities, so you can imagine this was a dinner table discussion nearly every night.

Nate loves to pet the fish.

After four days of tubing, boating, swimming, floating, and eating out at our favorite lakeside restaurants, I realized just how much I miss being a kid. What once was my daily life is now my four-day weekend vacation once a year. What I used to take for granted is now the substance of daydreams as I sit in a cold, dull office in D.C.

While others love to plan adventures overseas or across the country, discovering new coastlines and cultures, all I want is to return home on my vacations. I have my own “happy place” right in my parents’ backyard… and it’s not even the lake that makes it so. It’s the family time and memories I make every time I go there, and the ones I relive from times before.

What’s your go-to vacation spot? Is it synonymous with being your “happy place”?

My older brother, Dave, tries out paddle-boarding.

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