Revitalizing Vacations with Older Children

By Glenn and Donna Brooks

It's great vacationing with older children. With a 16 year-old and a 23 year-old, we can visit places we never dreamed of traveling to before. While active vacations with kids in this age group can be fun, some of our most travel rewarding experiences have been ones that allowed us to slow down and revitalize our souls.

The key to some of our most memorable experiences has been what we like to call "slowing down to the speed of life." It's hard, even during family vacation times, not to pack too many activities and stimulation into your family's day that you forget to unwind in each others' presence. This is an important part of our vacation philosophy and one that makes traveling with our children deeply meaningful.

Visits to relaxing country hotels and inns have been very special vacations. These experiences are like having a fine meal. You don't need much in order to be fully satisfied by your experience.

Our family was honored to visit Blantyre (www.blantyre.com), a 2006 Mobil five-star award recipient located in Lenox, Massachusetts. Our trip to this exceptional Relais & Chateaux hotel was almost like entering the pace of another century. Warm roaring fires were everywhere, the five-star meals were excellent (even for a five-star retreat), the beds were incredibly comfortable and the living spaces were sublime. There is no indoor pool at Blantyre, but the magnificent large hot tub surrounded by lounge chairs in a sunny room lets you feel that summer has arrived. If you get too hot in the tub or the accompanying sauna, you can go outside and feel the cold air against your skin. There is a roaring fire is outside as well. This is an environment that quiets the mind and nourishes the soul.

The Mayflower Inn & Spa (www.mayflowerinn.com) is a place that almost commands you to unwind. Located in Connecticut, this five star, five diamond Relais & Chateaux member is sure to become one of the most popular destinations in the country and offers a wonderful combinations of luxury, comfort and healing. We recommend the Mayflower for families because it is really about two very vital things -- connection and presence. Everything about the Mayflower Inn & Spa, from its architecture to the aromatherapy used in its Therma Sanctuary, is consciously designed to shed agitations, simmering tension and stressful habits while gently peeling away anything that covers up the pure delight of being alive. It offers the opportunity for tranquility and regeneration that many people drop out of ordinary life just to glimmer. Best of all, the Mayflower wants families to connect and will design services, classes and programs that emphasize the being with your family in a great, supportive environment. There is also an "outdoor spa" component that includes hiking, snowshoeing, kayaking and fly fishing so that teenagers can experience fitness in fun, natural surroundings.

It's important when planning relaxed family time to take away the time pressures that so often keep us from enjoying our loved ones. Even slipping out of time on a weekly basis by practicing electricity free zones or taking a standard hike can yield memorable and happy experiences. Think about slowing down and enjoying your family time together. It will foster connections and yield a truly vibrant family vacation.

There is something magical that happens when families drop out of time together and Glenn and Donna Brooks have been investigating that magic for over 18 years. Heard across the nation on radio and hosts of Vibrant Living on WKRXA in Carmel CA (listen online www.krxa540.com Saturdays 9am - 12pm PST) and WBCR (listen online www.berkshireradio.org Monday 8 - 10am EST) in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, the Brooks' invite their audiences into discovering togetherness and new passages for families. The Brooks' also design retreats, including the popular Inner Edge tennis Retreat, that allow them to look at vacation venues from an unusually full perspective.

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