For my inaugural Travel Tales interview, well, I interviewed my mom, of course! My mom (known as Bamma to my kids) is a pretty amazing grandmother and she and my dad certainly instilled a sense of travel and wonder in me at a very young age. These days, she does this magical thing with all of her grandkids – when they turn 10, she takes them on a special one-on-one trip. I’ve told several friends about this tradition of hers and they always “pitch” it to their parents and in-laws! She’s taken a couple trips already and each one is more magical than the next. Without further adieu, here is the story of a grandmother and her grandson in Washington, D.C.
I am a 71 year old widowed grandmother of 5 grandchildren. My husband and I had always talked of taking our grandchildren individually on a trip. It seemed that age 10 might be a good start, and suddenly my oldest grandson Sam was well into his 10th year, soon to be 11. I live in Knoxville, TN and Sam lives in Florida…..Where to begin!!!
A friend told me about an intergenerational trip she had taken with her grandchildren through a not-for-profit program called Road Scholar (formerly known as Elderhostel). Sam and I already had a very close relationship, and I saw this program as an opportunity for me to share my love of learning and adventure with him. So I sent him the information including the list of trips that were available during the times that would work for the two of us. The list was extensive and varied, but after much consideration Sam chose one of the most popular intergenerational trips – Washington DC. Road Scholar describes this trip as follows:
“From learning who George Washington really was to what spies really do, see our nation’s capital in a special way. Enjoy workshops and activities at Mount Vernon, the International Spy Museum, and the Smithsonian at the American History and Natural History museums. As you explore great memorials and monuments, help your grandchild learn what it means to be an American.”
This was a 5 night 6 day program and the price included 12 meals and a comfortable hotel conveniently located. There was also a choice of Road Scholar making our travel arrangements to Washington DC, but I chose to do that myself.
I had traveled to Washington DC with my husband on several occasions before this trip, and we had seen the monuments and done lots of sightseeing. But this trip engaged Sam and I in our country’s history as I could never have imagined. Our group included 16 children between the ages of 11 and 13 and 21 grandparents. During the trip we had 3 guides – one gentlemen near the grandparents’ age who has been guiding this tour with Road Scholar for many years, and two young middle school teachers who obviously love history and kids. Together they did an amazing job meeting the educational and adventurous needs of all involved. We got to visit some of our nation’s most notable landmarks on field trips to the US Capitol building, the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress. We also went to the Air & Space Museum, the Spy Museum and the newly opened Newseum (which I have since learned is almost impossible to get tickets to). Every day was packed, half with history and half with fun and adventure.
Road Scholar planned just about every moment of this trip and except for our designated free time, the price of the trip even included tips. They advised us what to pack and for the most part we followed a fairly strict itinerary. There was free time every evening where the children could swim at the hotel and play and the grandparents could gather and relax. One evening was designated as free time for the individual families to break away and have a private dinner. Because this time was listed on our itinerary, Sam came prepared and announced that he was buying dinner that evening for the two of us. Needless to say, I was charmed.
The highlight of the trip without a doubt was having this intimate time with Sam and learning together about our proud history. There were no struggles on this trip. Once our plane landed in DC it was a no thinker as everything was planned for us. The fact that I didn’t have to do anything each day but follow the schedule was one of the things that made this trip so enjoyable for me as it gave me so much more time just to focus on mine and Sam’s relationship. We had a ball. Sam made new friends and so did I, but more importantly Sam and I shared an experience of a lifetime as we were able to continue our wonderful bonding experience through learning and adventure.
We both kept a journal and took lots of pictures. Since this trip in 2015, I have taken my two ten-year-old granddaughters on a Grand Canyon adventure with Roads Scholar too. I’ll write about this amazing trip another time.
Thank you, Mom! I’m pretty lucky that my girls have a grandmother that shares her love of life, travel and adventure with them! I will convince her to write a post about that trip to the Grand Canyon with my oldest sometime soon – so check back here! We’ve also got a train trip, an International trip and an epic road trip Travel Tales interview slated for the next couple months.
P.S. – Have you taken a trip with your kids that you’d like to share? Are you interested in sharing your experience with us? Let me know! We love to be inspired to travel and take new adventures and share others adventures too! Also, please share this with friends and family and encourage them to reach out!