Every Martin Luther King weekend in January, my family goes to a ski lodge in Vermont. Year after year. We never miss a beat. Why?
Because it’s a tradition.
When it comes to travel, my family has lots of traditions, especially on the frequent New England trips we take by car.
One tradition I think I could live without is our habit of always packing too much. We may only be going away for the weekend, but from the looks of the car, you’d think we were moving. Since I sit in the back, it means I’m always squished like a marshmallow in a bag.
Then there’s the fuss my parents make when we go by certain buildings. One, in Hartford, Connecticut, looks like a wedding cake. The other, the Basketball Hall of Fame, in Springfield, Massachusetts, has a big basketball out front.
“Justine,” they always say, “look what’s there.” They’ve said this absolutely every single time we’ve driven by these places since I was like five years old.
A lot of our traditions revolve around food. Whenever we travel to the same place, we always eat at the same restaurants. Like in Maine, which we used to go to every summer, there is a restaurant called Federal Jacks in Kennebunkport. One of the things I like about this place is that they make their own sodas. And I always order their Chicken Alfredo.
In Massachusetts, which we’ve been to countless times on the way to visit relatives in Boston, we like to stop at Sturbridge Village, where there’s a really great restaurant. It seems every time we’ve been there, it’s been a Sunday, so that means they have their buffet. It has so many choices, especially on the dessert table.
On the road to our ski house in Vermont, we always stop at a restaurant called the Riverview in Brattleboro. We have been going there since well…forever. Every single time, my dad asks why. He thinks the food is lousy and wants to try out some Turkish restaurant (or something) down the street. But I always put up a fight and, so far, I’ve gotten my way. The same goes for a pizza restaurant called Mulberry Street at Stratton Village in Vermont. The pizza there is great, but what I really look forward to are the La Choy noodles at the salad bar, which I had never had before going there.
I admit that none of these restaurants are exactly gourmet, but I always know what I’ll order, which is what I look forward to while I’m away from home.
We started going to all of these restaurants when I was little. All of them are kid friendly. They have stuff like crayons and kids menus with things all kids like, such as pasta, pizza and chicken nuggets.
Now that I’m older, my parents think that we should branch out and try new places on the road. But I disagree. It’s not that I’m still a six year old who only likes mac and cheese and hot dogs. For me, going to the same restaurants year after year is kind of comforting. It makes me think that some things never change…kind of like my family.
Just-Teens Travel is written by Justine Seligson.