The Family Reunion Road Trip

Actually, most of it was pretty fun and I do love my family. We get together every three years in different parts of the country. This year the festivities were held in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. After checking airfare prices, my sister and I decided we would drive and try to recreate the family road trips of our youth. Our plan was to take I-80 to Chicago and stay overnight with a cousin from the other side of the family. Then we would take two more days to reach Massachusetts. After staying there three days, we had two days to get back home … about 3,000 miles round trip.

HIGHLIGHT: Being back in Chicago, where we used to live and my grandmother lived most of her life. Unfortunately we didn’t get to do any of the fun stuff there is to do there. My favorite places are the Adler Planetarium, Lincoln Park Zoo and the Art Institute and I highly recommend spending more than just one night there. Check out “Top 10 Chicago” by Elaine Glusac or our Chicago travel bag for ideas.

LOW SPOT: Driving through downtown Chicago. That took about an hour and on the other side … more toll roads and traffic delays. I have now seen enough orange construction signs to last a lifetime. We should have called ahead for hotel reservations. Both ways, each time we stopped we had to continue on for some time to find a vacancy.

TubingHIGHLIGHTS: Being at the lake, swimming, boating, tubing and just having fun.  My cousins spend as much of the summer at their lake house as possible, so it is well equipped. Cooling off in the water, vegging out in the boat, kayaking, playing with the dogs and picnicing brought back many happy memories of being a kid!  In the evening, the big dinner and awards ceremony and trying to touch base with as many people as possible. The hilarity of trying to take a group picture of about 100 people including babies and small children.

LOW SPOT: The Sturbridge Host Hotel, where many of the activities were to have taken place, suddenly upped their prices and accomodations that had been agreed upon were not available. Disappointing, since we held an earlier reunion there and everything was great.

P1010126HIGHLIGHT: Hiking at the Quabben Park and Reservoir in Belchertown, Massachusetts.  The reservoir was created between 1930 and 1939 to supply drinking water to a growing Boston population by damming up the Swift River Valley.  There were four towns in the valley that had to be completely emptied. The visitor center has all the fascinating history and pictures of the events.

Duck boat 2HIGHLIGHT:  A day in Boston. We took the Boston Duck Tour in a bus that turns into a boat. It was great for getting a quick overview of some of the attractions of the city. Again, this is a place where more than a day is needed. P1010139We spent some time in a couple of historic cemeteries and churches, then had lunch and shopped for souvenirs in the Quincy Street Market, but that didn’t even scratch the surface of all there is to do. The library has Boston Eyewitness travel guides and a Boston travel bag to help you plan a longer stay.

P1010178HIGHLIGHT: Taking a different way home. We took a slightly longer, but less-traveled route passing through Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Kentucky. The scenery in the Appalachian Mountains was gorgeous. We stopped for a wonderful dinner in Cumberland, Maryland at a sidewalk cafe on a quaint downtown street.

LOW SPOT: Driving through torrential rains … in the mountains … after dark … the only motel with rooms is 60 miles down the road. Nothing’s perfect.

HIGHLIGHT:  Getting home. No matter how much fun you have on a trip, there’s nothing like coming home. Now, if I only had a few days to rest up from vacation …

What’s the longest road trip you ever took?

Donna Casey

I work in Circulation as a senior library associate. I love mysteries, traveling, gardens and libraries. My favorite authors are Agatha Christie, Patricia Cornwell and Harlan Coben, but I enjoy any well-plotted mystery.

  • Michelle Morris

    Longest road trip I’ve ever taken would probably be a trip to Mexico, while in college. We drove from Kansas to the Texas/Mexico border, and then took a scary bus to the town in Mexico we were staying in. But I don’t think that was a long as the one you just took!

  • Donna Casey

    You know, I never thought of it as long before. We used to do it every other summer when my grandmother was alive. Getting in the car and driving for 3 days seemed pretty normal to me. Who knew!