Expectations. We all have them. How they taint your experience has a huge impact on how you perceive things. I have gone plenty of places, with amenities much more posh and elegant than are offered by Chestnut Grove, the location of our family vacation this year.
But with those amenities comes a price tag. And with the higher price tag usually comes greater expectations. Now I had expectations when we departed for our vacation this year. In many ways these expectations were far tougher ones to meet. They were colored with fond memories of childhood vacations. Of happy family times. Distant memories that often are far more wonderful in your memory than the events actually were. This is a tall order to meet, and I tried to temper this as best as I could. But as it turns out, I really didn’t need to do so. This vacation turned out to be everything that I had been dreaming of since we made our reservations.
If I however, had come in expecting accommodations as posh as say, when the wife and I went to Ceasar’s Pocono Palace, or some expensive upscale hotel, I may have come away disappointed. If you only stay at 5 star hotels, this may not be the place for you. This is a basic family place. The accommodations are simple, comfortable, and bit understated. But this is exactly what I wanted and expected. This was not a vacation about staying in your room (as I will explain shortly), but your room was simply a place to get some sleep, a shower and refresh yourself to continue on with your vacation.
TheWife was concerned when we initially considered this destination that it would be boring. She scoured the Internet for nearby things to do and see. As it turned out, we left the resort only once, for a shopping excursion to The Crossings Premium Outlets and The Christmas Factory. Plans to hit places such as Camelbeach Waterpark and several other places got put on hold, at least for this year.
The only problem we encountered along the way, was LatteGirl’s decision to be shy and clingy. She was reluctant to socialize with the other kids, preferring to spend her time clung to either mommy or daddy. So in an effort to keep her entertained and to get some relaxation ourselves, we essentially wound up taking turns in being the person she clung to. She would play with Mommy or sit by and watch as I played Volleyball, Softball, etc. LatteGirl and I would usually hit the pool as Mommy got her time alone to take a walk, or just some time to read one of the books she brought along etc. We also put her to work as our ball-girl for some early morning tennis. (It is times like this that I wonder about her whole allowance situation. When we started it, we informed her that “standard chores” were expected and that she was not going to be paid for them, but that things “above and beyond” would allow her to earn additional money. Thus I wound up paying her $2 per day for her additional task of being our ball-girl). If you have to run into a problem on vacation, and this is it, then I would say luck is on your side.
Evenings, brought their own entertainment. Each night they had something like Bingo or “Cruise Ship Horse racing.” Those were followed by a DJ that was as much an entertainer as he usually had games and gifts for the kids, or a magician or karaoke. Things wound down usually by midnight, which was fine, because by then everybody was ready for bed.
I would say that I was very well rested on this vacation. But that would only be true of my brain. With no Internet access, and spotty connections from Verizon Wireless. I was truely unplugged for the first time in about 12 years. Physically however was a different story. I have not been terribly active since tearing a tendon in my ankle a few years back, and I pushed myself this week. I know I mentioned it earlier, but for an aging out of shape guy, my schedule of tennis, volleyball, swimming, softball, swimming and then “going out” that evening is enough for ONE day, but I managed to keep this pace up for 5 days (a bit slower on arrival day, and departure day is a story unto itself for tomorrow). So while the brain is fresh and rejuvenated, the body wants another week to recuperate. But I wouldn’t trade the pain for anything in the world.
It wasn’t the most classy. It isn’t the type of place that sparks comments of “WOW.” What it is, is a place that delivers exactly what it promises. It meeets expecations of a pleasant family vacation destination. A good time was had by all, and 51 weeks from now, we will do it again.