One Traveler's Opinion: The Vacation Home

Old Aug 5th, 2000, 12:41 PM
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What an interesting topic! I must add my two cents here. We live a little south of L.A. and have a condo in Rosarito Beach, Mex. It has been the most wonderful experience for us. My sons beg every weekend to go. We enjoy the complete change in culture and surroundings. We also make sure we take a one week vaction every year to some place different. This year we cruised. I honestly don't feel it has been such a hassle for us. The drive is about 2 hours, it doesnt take that long to clean up, and yes a big plus is that we can bring along our Rottweiler to play on the beach with us! Maybe we have found THE perfect vacation home? I will have to agree with the one poster regarding the bragging issue, yea, sometimes I brag, but hey, I have worked my behind off for this!!! P.S. we also share with all our friends and family! They don't seem to mind a little status symbol bragging rights
Old Aug 6th, 2000, 09:24 AM
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I've never really thought about this before, but it is something I have some experience with. Here are my thoughts/observations, not very coherently strung together:

First, I think Charles hit the nail on the head with his comment about those who are vacation home people and those who aren't. In my family we have "the cabin", a house in the San Bernadino mountains outside of LA that was built in the 1950's by my grandparents. It has special meaning for us because late in her life my grandmother sold it (it had become an albatross for her!), but ten years later my parents bought it back! The value is not the uniqueness of the setting, or any particular charm, but in fifty years of family history. Although I seldom get up there lately, my parents go quite a bit, and my aunt and uncle recently held a family reunion (yes, it was a small one!).

My parents are people who like the familiar, hominess of their own place. They also recently bought an RV, and part of the appeal is the same: it's comforting and familiar, yet allows them to travel. And these are people who have seen a lot of the world as well.

My husband and I have a sailboat, and it serves the same purpose for us-- it's an eveready "vacation" that we can get to easily and often. That will never stop us from traveling around the world, but it serves a different purpose.

Finally, on the subject of traffic, I sympathize there as well. We live near I5, the main north/south artery in California, and the weekend traffic to and from San Diego and Mexico clogs our HOME life, never mind getting out of town!

I can't really tie all this together with a pithy observation, so I guess I'll have to say...Whatever floats your boat!
Old Aug 7th, 2000, 08:57 AM
Neal Sanders
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To everyone:

I turned on my computer this morning after a weekend away, and was astonished by the number of thoughtful replies that continue to be posted in response to the question I posed last week.

Bethís recollection of her motherís continuing domestic chores at her vacation home echoes my own, original concerns. In my own, jaundiced view of the world, I donít thing a vacation ought to include washing dishes for any member of the family.

But Mickeyís place on the lake in the Midwest sounds idyllic, and itís clear that the family isnít bound to that one site. Debiís condo in Rosarito Beach offers both a cultural and a change-of-pace getaway. Doing dishes seems like a fair tradeoff for an opportunity to reune with old friends or experience daily life in Mexico.

Charles clearly has the best of both worlds: the vacation home on the Vineyard, yet the wherewithal and urge to travel throughout the year to other locales. Part of my original observation was that the people whom I know with vacation homes appear to be either unable or unwilling to travel elsewhere. Charles and others who responded demonstrate that vacation home ownership need not be synonymous with senescence.

Iíve come to understand that there are people for whom a vacation home is a natural extension of their lifestyles. Theyíre comfortable in them. Thatís something I couldnít grasp when I wrote my essay. Iíve also now read the tales of people who acquired a vacation home and discovered Ė sometimes at great expense Ė that their sensibilities werenít in sync with maintaining a second place of residence. To kam and palette5, you have my sympathy, and my relief at not being in your position.

But, after reading all of these wonderful replies Ė and after thinking about my own summer travel to date Ė I think Iíll keep my non-vacation-home-owning status. During June and July, Iíve been to Price Edward Island and Nova Scotia; New York City; Lake Sunapee, NH; Williamstown, MA; York Harbor, ME, and Woodstock, CT. This month, I have aspirations to further travel, some of far a field. I think, had I owned a second home, I would have felt too much of an obligation to make use of that home to have made those weekend forays to those other places.
Old Aug 7th, 2000, 11:34 AM
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Reading your last response did point out one of your truths - I saw the places you've visited in New England this summer and thought about all the places I love in New England in the summer but don't go to, because I have a house on the Vineyard. On the other hand, I have a house on the Vineyard because its my favorite place to go in the summer. As choices go, its not a bad one to have to make, but I wish I could do both. What I really need is some more free time in the summer, so I can do both.

One thing I that I do, which allows me to have a house on the vineyard, travel elsewhere, and not feel guilty about it is to rent out the house by the week while I'm not there. I then use that money to finance my travel elsewhere, and thus haven't lost anything. I don't know if you had considered this aspect - it does require having a house in a place like the vineyard where there is a high demand for rental houses.

Old Aug 7th, 2000, 01:35 PM
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Neal, you sound like you're from the same western suburb I am...I must be lucky because I have relatives who live in Maine, Martha's Vineyard and Lake Tahoe!!! I suppose I would love to have enuf money to be able to afford a little vacation home somewhere (or to make money renting it) but now that my children are older, we are able to venture further afield. I moved rather a lot as a child and I think that has had something to do with my desire to keep on moving around, checking out different places. However, now that I have travelled to Italy for the first time, I think I have found the place to which I would like to continue to return!!! So, I guess that means there's a special place for everyone, no matter how difficult it may be to get there!
Old Aug 15th, 2000, 04:11 AM
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There's an amusing article by Tobias Wolff called "The Second-Home Blues" in the June, 2000, issue of Architectural Digest...
Old Oct 31st, 2000, 11:59 PM
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I don't own a vacation house, but I have been travelling to Canada and the US every year or so for the past 6 years. I have friends that I visit near Kitchener/Waterloo in Ontario, in New York and San Fransisco. I make a point of visiting them each trip. It's wonderful to catch up with them, but because I travel all that way, I always make an effort to see another place each trip. This year it was a week in summer cottage in Kincardine, Ontario and Las Vegas, last year it was Nova Scotia, PEI and Yosemite, the year before a 3 week trip around Quebec and Ontario etc. I love going back to familiar places, it feels comfortable, but there is nothing more exciting than visiting someplace new, that you've only ever read about or seen on tv.

Anne in Australia
Old Apr 14th, 2001, 06:56 PM
Jim Rosenberg
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Interesting discussion. My family had a cabin in northern Wisconsin and I spent many summer days and starlit or sometimes stormy nights there from the time I was 5 years old until reaching my early 40s. It was wonderful and since I was one of six children, it was a godsend in terms of having a diversion and a stimulating change of environment. We could not have afforded much travel in those days, but we always had "the cottage". Later, it was gratifying to be able to share some of the same experiences with our own children while they were growing up. There was always something satisfying about throwing a load of firepit smoke-drenched clothing and soggy towels into the washing machine on a Sunday night that put a real punctuation mark on another weekend up north. With no small amount of regret on their part, the time came when my parents were ready to reduce some of their responsibilities and they offered the cabin for sale; first within the family, of course. It was at that time that I was forced to make a choice. I loved the cottage, but if I took it over, then that would be the end for many of the other wonderful experiences we had been able to finance while freeloading off my parents largesse all those years. I pondered this carefully. In the end, some of the choice had been made for me. The lake where loons had called at dawn in my boyhood was now a circus of jet-skies and power boats on the weekends; sometimes even during the week. The bullfrogs whose deep voices had echoed to each across the glass-still waters on dark summer nights were fewer now; their lily-pad haunts often replaced by bright yard lights, cleared swimming areas and the sounds of people. The winding dirt road was paved. In short, I was different and the cabin was different and I don't know which of us had "left" first. But I'm satisfied with my choice to let go and move on. I doubt that a condo could ever replace what that was when it was there.
Old Apr 15th, 2001, 08:06 AM
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Some observations:

If I had to choose, I'd travel and/or rent a different place every year. No upkeep, lots of variety, etc.etc. BUT:

If I could possibly afford it and still travel all I'd want, I'd just love to have a second home someplace near water for the following reasons:

1. The experience of a much-beloved spot where I've seen seasons, tides, and weather patterns change and yet know every hill and tree is enormously restorative, comforting, and peaceful. You travel for one reason. You come "back to" the short or the lake for another.

2. Long term personal "investment." This would be a place I, like many people, would like to think about for retirement and summers with grandchildren.

3. Long term financial investment -- provided it is a place that won't wash away in a hurricane. As long as tax law allows deductions for a second residential mortgage and/or a rental property (and you have money for the downpayment over and above necessary retirement funds), the taxpayers will subsidize my vacation home.
Old Dec 9th, 2001, 11:04 AM
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Old Dec 10th, 2001, 09:21 AM
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I would have a lot more respect and regard for certain (not all) posters on this thread if they would be more direct and open about the way they are scoffing at vacation homes, instead of disingenuously trying to be subtle and then denying that they are being critical. The oneupmanship on this board is huge sign of insecurity, i.e. "I'm so much more adventurous than my timid neighbors." Does anyone else recognize how sad this is?
Old Dec 10th, 2001, 01:14 PM
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Good point. What ever happened to live and let live? Don't the people here whining about how others aren't as adventurous as them, and wondering why anyone could want to have a vacation home, know that they sound EXACTLY LIKE those who question other types of travel? Not exactly an open-minded point of view.
Old Dec 10th, 2001, 03:44 PM
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Monica, Have you made it to Carmel yet? If not, two suggestions: the Cypress Inn is pricey but is owned by Doris Day who is a firm dog advocate. Dogs can join you for continental breakfast or wine and hors d'oevres on the back patio. Several dog friendly restaurants in town including Casanova's and Portabella's, where dogs are offered water in a wine cooler. Technically you are sitting outside, but they have an awning over you and space heaters. The Wayside Inn has kitchette units where you can carry out your own food from the many restaurants and delis of Carmel and heat it up to eat with pooch. The smells of the ocean and running free on the beach is not to be topped. Also, watching ground squirrels over on the 17 Miles drive is a treat. Just no snow:~( Hear that Tahoe has been getting a ton of snow. Friends of our used to have a condo at North Star and allowed our dogs--unfortunately they've sold it. Do you also know about Sheep Dung Estates up in Mendocino?? Another great dog place and some of the places over at Half Moon Bay take dogs--again, no snow but lots of cold wet ocean sprays. We're going New Years. What kind of dog do you have?
Old Dec 10th, 2001, 04:00 PM
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Kam: No, haven't taken the doggie to Carmel. We went and had a kid instead, she's 13 months so I don't get to go anywhere anymore! And the poor dog (Border Collie/ Golden Retriever cross), well, she does get scraps from the highchair and a daily walk, but forget about trips to the snow or the beach!! I'm just reading this forum and remembering what it was like to go places easily (you would never believe how much crap you have to take on a plane with a baby--like the car seat and the stroller, gosh, forget about going to Whistler to ski, I don't have enough arms for that!).
Old Dec 10th, 2001, 04:46 PM
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Monica. Take heart. THis will pass. My kids are grown and almost gone and now we enjoy the trips to CArmel with the canines! Enjoy your 13monther while you have her. I'm sure the border collie mix will look out for her very well! They're very protective. Had a French sheepdog once who refused to let anyone under 5 near the pool--didn't matter if they swam or not, he decided it was unsafe! He used to circle the nieces and neighbor kids and keep them on towel about 5 feet from the pool. No growling or aggression, just body language. Dogs are pretty amazing. When the baby gets a little older, consider a trip to the Wayside Inn in Carmel--the beach will be good for both and the kitchenette will be great for you---buy lots of wine for TV movies! You'll have a little suite so you can put child and puppy to bed and you and husband can relax. Happy holidays.
Old Dec 10th, 2001, 08:26 PM
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Kam: I will keep that in mind for next summer! We've actually not done badly this year--we did make it to Portland for a wedding, and Seattle for a wedding with a week in Vancouver too (at a five star hotel, take THAT all of you kid-hating people). And a week in Donner Lake. I think I just need to bite the bullet and travel--after all I want my daughter to be a traveler just like we are! Happy Holidays to you too!
Old Dec 10th, 2001, 08:26 PM
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Kam: I will keep that in mind for next summer! We've actually not done badly this year--we did make it to Portland for a wedding, and Seattle for a wedding with a week in Vancouver too (at a five star hotel, take THAT all of you kid-hating people). And a week in Donner Lake, and a long weekend in Mendocino. I think I just need to bite the bullet and travel--after all I want my daughter to be a traveler just like we are! Happy Holidays to you too!

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