The joys of family vacations!

As a kid I remember my parents would take my sisters and I on day trips and we had such great times. We would go to Jones Beach in the late fall and I remember the drive from Brooklyn, New York to Jones Beach, Long Island and our walks on the board walk and the cups of hot chocolate and seeing my mom looking so young and beautiful in her pretty dresses and my dad so energetic and full of life chasing after all 3 of us. I also remember the flag on the pole blowing in the wind from the parking lot. Those were wonderful times and they have stayed with me because they bring back the kid in me and the happy times we had. I always enjoyed those days at the beach and virtually having it all to ourselves. They were fun times. I even remember the car my dad drove which was the VW Beatle in seasand gray.

My parents did not take us on long get aways but what they did was take us on close family oriented trips that meant so much to us and gave us some very special memories. I remember playing with my younger sister Joannie who was a baby in dad’s VW and I would rub the bill of my cap against her forehead to make her laugh. I remember that like it was yesterday. I still tease her about that and though she was a baby she remembers it because my dad caught that moment on video and on occasion we are fortunate to view it again.

Another day trip we would make was the trip from Brooklyn, New York to Staten Island, New York where we would spend the day at Tottenville Pool and my sister Joannie would be so proud showing off her navy dives with dad. Both my sisters became great divers and they got their starts at Tottenville Pool.

We also enjoyed visiting upstate New York spending time with my mom’s sister Pat Donovan Moran and her husband Kevin Moran and all our cousins; Coleen Moran, Mary Pat Moran, Maureen Moran, John Moran and Kevin Owen Moran. We had wonderful times upstate and I remember when we went swimming at the IBM country club pool and went out for ice cream at Brennans and went to the Airshow to see Snoopy and the Red Baron.

As I grown through the years I planned trips with friends and had great times but I feel the simple trips my parents made with us were so very important and I cherish them and hold on to the special memories.

As an adult and a husband and a father I value those times with family and know we all have busy lives and spend a good part of our lives working to support our families but I also know how important it is to spend time with my wife and son. We have been on some nice vacation trips and always enjoy that time where we can all be together and share in family outings. Some family vacations that stick out in my mind are small trips like the ones my parents took us on and some vacation getaways.

One popular trip we like to make and have made quite often is the drive out to Montauk Point, Long Island which is a good 2 hours from where we live and about 105 miles further east. The drive is very direct as we drive to near the last exit on the LIE and go east on Montauk Hwy. The light house and walking along the shore are what we enjoy and getting a nice lunch at the refreshment area. We also have driven the other side of the fork to Orient Point, Long Island and took the ferry to Connecticut and spent a wonderful day at Mystic Seaport walking around and seeing all the ships.

Our first real vacation we made with Matthew was on 9/9/99 when Matthew was just 9 months old and we drove upstate to Cooperstown, New York as I am a big baseball fan and we had such a wonderful 3 days there. I remember we posed for pictures at a studio near the baseball hall of fame where I wore a Met uniform and Maria wore a Yankee uniform and Matthew already dressed in a cute baby baseball uniform wore number 8 and looked like an all star. We love that picture and we have it proudly displayed in our bedroom. I remember walking around in the baseball hall of fame and seeing all the plaques of all the famous ball players while Maria was strolling with Matthew in the carriage and for some strange reason I spent time reading the plaque of Jim “Catfish” Hunter a bit more intently and knew of his days with the Oakland A’s and the New York Yankees and I always liked him. As I walked through the hall with my wife and son and into the teams section I felt there was a somber tone throughout the museum so I asked a guard why and he told me that the Baseball Hall of Fame heard of Jim “Catfish” Hunter’s death that very day. I could not believe it as he was a young man in his early 50s. I was so sad to hear the news and I said a prayer for him and his family as I made my way back to his plaque where people were already starting to leave flowers for the fallen baseball star. I remember an elderly couple admiring Matthew and told us how cute our baby boy looks in his baseball uniform and we were quite honored and graciously accepted their compliment of our little boy. After the hall of fame we went and took some pictures at Lake Glimmerglass and had such a wonderful time. We show Matthew the pictures and although he doesn’t remember it he enjoys seeing himself as a baby.

Another family vacation we took when Matthew was a toddler was our trip to Sesame Place in Pennsylvania which was the perfect park for him as he loved splashing around in the water and he enjoyed the kiddie rides. We really enjoyed that vacation and Matthew even has memories of that trip.

Hershey Park, Pennsylvania is a very popular family vacation we made and have many fond memories of as we enjoyed seeing Matthew having so much fun on the rides and getting a badge for making hershey’s kisses. Lasting memories and special moments are what makes our trips so worthwhile. We have also had wonderful times driving down to Virginia where we spent time in Williamsburg and Virginia Beach and had such enjoyable moments at Busch Gardens, Water Country USA and the beach walking along the boardwalk by the strip of hotels. We also visited in Charlottesville, Va where we had lunch at L’Etoile (Tea Room Cafe) visiting with Mark and Vickie Gresge; clients of the firm I work for; Kweit, Mantell & DeLucia, LLP and we visited with Candace DeLoach of The 1780 Inn at Court Square also a client. It was great seeing them and introducing them to my family.

Another trip we made with my wife, son, mother-in-law and father-in-law was a combined trip to Williamsburg, Va; Virginia Beach, Va and Blackburg, Va. It was a solemn time at the campus of Virginia Tech but one I wanted to make with my family as I had many fond memories there as an engineering student and I was so very sad to hear what had happened there. The campus still looked the same as when I attended there but knowing what happened there and seeing the remarkable memorial I just could not help but shed a tear for all those who had perished. It was a very sad reunion but one I wanted to make. We also saw the happy side of the campus as throngs of students and fans were heading to Lane stadium and we were caught up in all the emotion. It was a fun trip and one we will always remember.

We also flew out to Los Angeles, California to meet friends of Maria who had arranged for us to stay at their house and take us sight seeing. It was a lot of fun and We all enjoyed the trip and Matthew managed well on the flight there and back but only remembers the trip for what happened when we got home. You see we went to LA in early September of 2001 and after coming back home within a week the September 11th terrorist attacks took place which was so numbing and left all of us bewildered.

So as I remember my trips as a young boy and the happy times our parents provided to us I feel the same way in providing happy times for my son and family. A vacation trip we eventually would love to plan is a Walt Disney vacation to Orlando with Matthew, Maria, myself and Maria’s mom. It is only fitting as that was where Maria and I spent our honeymoon.

When we experience our next vacation I will share it and capture the joy of our son as that is what I live for, to see my son smile!

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