Do you have a place that whenever you visit memories flood back as if no time has passed? A place that you visited as a kid a place of fun, adventure, and good vibes? Pretty much everyone on this planet (hopefully) has a spot such as this. A place where your parents or grandparents took you for days at a time to spend much needed quality time with one another.
Looking back on growing up I was lucky enough to have quite a few retreats like the ones described above. My parents were big proponents of us going on family field trips and making as many memories as possible before we all grew up and went on to live our “separate” lives. However, one location in particular remains my favorite place on this planet. Every time I visit no matter the length between, it is as if I entered a time machine and went back to an era where I worried less and everything was magical.
A trip that was once measured in how many episodes of Barney you could watch (2 and a half) turned into a trip that is full of laughs, playing ‘guess that song’, and getting caught behind the same train for two hours. The trip features all of the same scenery, rundown motels, corn fields, and little towns that remind you of Mayberry. The trip that was once viewed from a car seat in the back is now taken in as the driver, window rolled down, foot propped up, and a coffee in hand. When I was a kid trips to the lake were the highlight of my summer. My entire family would load up in our minivan and set off for an adventure every weekend for three days of boating, sparklers, and the Little Rascals. Spending my formative summers up there has really stuck with me even as the years pass. It was a home away from home that I grew up and fell in love with. As years went on summers were less about the lake and more about extracurriculars. Sports took over and less time was allotted to spend at my favorite getaway. Now at 24 and having a summer I’m realizing how much our little place in Marblehead means to me. My brother and I have made it a point to spend as many weekends up there as possible this year. We load up my little Subaru just the two of us and make the trip. We spend every waking moment with our grandparents who we are so lucky to still have in our lives. We wake up early and jetski. We learned how to properly untarp a boat (shoutout to my grandfather who is very particular about all things boating to teach us how to treat our belongings with respect.) We do puzzles with my grandma that seem impossible. (Who would have thunk that a puzzle that looks like a penguin would take so damn long to put together.) We spend every good flat day out on the boat and have our grandfather who was once a waterskiing fiend teach us the tricks of the trade. After trying for 7 years I FINALLY stood up for more than two seconds! We finish up almost every lake day the same way as we did when we were kids…. Watching the Little Rascals with my grandfather. Those short episodes are so engrained in my mind that I am immediately transported back in time whenever I hear the iconic intro.
Tradition is a word that is thrown around a lot in my family. We hold on fast to all of our quirky traditions as much as possible. We view them as something that makes us unique. As for most people they are things we do year after year in order for us to remember what is important in life. Though our tradition of going to the lake once was steadfast and strong… people grow. however, as we are getting older, moving away and getting our own lives it is so important to hold on to important memories and traditions as tightly as possible. I am so thankful to be living the life I do. One that allows me to spend months at a time with my family. I am so thankful that I have weekends with my grandparents and brother to make new memories and relive old ones. The lake will forever be my favorite place, even if I can’t get up there as much as possible it is a place that will forever be fun. A place where as soon as you cross over the bridge you throw your worries away. As soon as you cross over you throw negativity and real life over edge and into the water for the few days you are there. It is a place where you are free to be goofy and to let your cares fade away. The lake is my everything. Truly my favorite place. Shout out to my grandparents for treating us to awesome weekends and teaching us how important family is, and shout out to my baby brother, the one who road trips with me and keeps me humble even though I am better at waterskiing.
Do you have a place like this? A place you have been going your whole life and doesn’t get old? I hope so. If not yet, start looking now, you will find it. Then never let it go.