Vacation, All We Ever Wanted
Our Resident Married Couple Dishes Family Trip Plans
By Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn, real-life married couple and co-authors of You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up: A Love Story
Paris, London, Venice and Amsterdam. What do all these places have in common? They're all cities in Europe to which I yearn to travel. You know what else they have in common? They're all places we won't be going.
No, this summer it's not Europe, Hawaii or even Santa Barbara just 90 miles north of us. It's Cooperstown, NY. That's right, the Baseball Hall of Fame — where our son Ezra, and the other twelve-year-olds on his travel baseball team, will be playing a week's worth of games in the Cooperstown Field Of Dreams baseball tournament.
There is one thing that Paris and Cooperstown do have in common: They're both really, really expensive. First we have three round-trip plane tickets from Los Angeles to New York, the Amtrack train up to Albany and the rental car in Albany we'll drive to Cooperstown. Then, for the jacked-up seasonal price of nearly $300 a night, my wife will stay at the chic Holiday Inn Suites while, for just $745 more, I get to spend the week in the team barracks.
That's right, I've volunteered to help the coaches shepherd the team to and from the stark boot-camp-like-bunk, to the ball fields, to the mess hall and also to, yes, the shower facilities. That's me, four beefy coaches and 12 sweaty, stinking, wildly immature pre-pubescent boys.
Although it's as far from strolling the Gardens of Luxembourg as we can get, since I've been living vicariously through my son's baseball exploits since he was a toddler, it's also my dream come true.
Paris, London, Venice and Amsterdam. What do these cities have in common? They are all cities I've been to, and, though I would love to visit them again, they're not where I'd really want to go this vacation.
Instead, I long for new lands and to participate in once-in-a-lifetime activities. My vision of the perfect vacation: soaking in the outdoor hot springs in the Jigokudani mountain region of Japan alongside snow monkeys. Ever since I saw the pictures in a travel magazine, I've wanted to go there. (Maybe it's some vestigial desire that dates back to my childhood fascination with the Planet of the Apes movies?)
Alas, in the compromise we call marriage, I'll have to take this trip after Jeff sadly passes away, painlessly in his sleep of course, in a distant, distant time by which (chances are) I'll be as grey and bearded as the snow monkeys themselves. His response to my ideal getaway was this charming question: “Do the monkeys poop in the water?” I don't want to know that, but I'm sure their Japanese diet is very pure and if it weren't safe ... well, I just don't want to know that.
Jeff won't admit it to me, but he's the one of our little tribe who is the most excited about our trip to Cooperstown. Come to think of it, bunking with newly-hormonal boys and their jock dads, taking team showers in the locker rooms, is, in fact, so much like communing with apes — looks like he's getting the vacation I wanted this year.
Oh, and did I mention? I'm sharing a room with my mother-in-law. Come to think of it, maybe I am participating in what (I hope) will be a once-in-a-lifetime activity after all.
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Family vacations allow you to spend more time all together — and give you more of a chance to drive one another crazy.Mark Edward Atkinson/Tetra Images/Corbis