Wicked Wednesday: Family vacations with a twist

Happy Wednesday! Liz here. We’re focused on summer this month, and today we’re still celebrating the release of Barb’s latest Maine Clambake Mystery, Hidden Beneath.

Huge congrats, Barb! Can’t wait to read, as usual!

In this book, Julia and her mother are diving into some mysteries and it got me thinking – given the fact that family dynamics are such a big part of this series, I want to talk about family summer trips today. Especially the ones drenched with drama and dysfunction, because those are often the most interesting – and the best basis for a murder mystery!

Wickeds, tell us about a summer vacation that didn’t go as planned!

Jessie: Continued congratulations, Barb! We haven’t had much for vacation drama except for the year we really couldn’t use our house at the beach unexpectedly. We usually move up as soon as school gets out and stay until a week before the new school year starts. Two summers ago the town started a public works project that spanned the summer and ripped up our street for months. Between the inability to access our driveway and the constant chaotic noise, we opted not to spend time at the beach that year. It was so disappointing!

Julie: Congratulations, Barb! I can’t wait to read this latest installment. Liz, you’re opening a can of worms with dysfunctional family vacation stories! I actually don’t have any terrible family vacation memories, but I should check with my sisters. We tend to have different memories, LOL. Seriously, I can remember moments that weren’t Disney approved, but in general we all rolled with it and figured it out. We also didn’t take “vacations” per se. I suspect it was a question of funds. We spent time with our grandparents, which was lovely. And we’d go to the beach. But no big trips when I was a kid.

Edith/Maddie: I’m so excited for another Maine Clambake book and can’t wait to dive into it, Barb. I don’t have any high-drama vacation stories in my past. My parents might have had a different memories about our annual excursion to tent-camp amid the giant Sequoias. Packing all that gear and four kids into a Dodge station wagon was a feat of engineering, but I have only the sweetest of memories. Oh, except for getting carsick when I insisted on reading as we drove up twisty mountain roads.

Sherry: Hidden Beneath is a fantastic book and mystery fans will love it! The biggest drama I remember was on a trip to the East the summer before I entered fifth grade. We’d done a big swing from Iowa, to Michigan, New York (I still remember the Corning Museum) New York City, Washington DC, Jamestown (I got to have a Coke for breakfast!) Williamsburg, and then heading home. We got lost in Louisville, Kentucky and a woman ran a stop sign and hit us. I was sitting in front with my parents (of course without a seat belt), hit the dashboard, and I got my first and only (knock wood) black eye. We spent a week at a hotel on the outskirts of town which fortunately had a restaurant and pool. By the middle of the week we were tired of the restaurant so we walked to the airport which was the only place close by. We got there and it was the SAME restaurant — Dobb’s House. We did love their salad and I found a link to their menu.

Barb: That is an amazing story, Sherry. I’m so glad you liked Hidden Beneath. No major family dysfunction to report, but I do remember vividly a drive in a packed car to the eastern end of Long Island where my father’s family lived. My dad only had two weeks of vacation in those days and we spent a week with his parents and then a week on the Jersey shore with my mother’s parents. There were only two of us kids, but the dog had to sit by the window or she got carsick, so that left one window in the backseat and two kids fighting over it. I guess because we were going for two weeks, our goldfish was along for the ride, also wedged on a pile of stuff on the floor of the backseat. We went around a curve and the goldfish bowl went over. My father had to pull over on the side of the highway and rescue the goldfish who was wriggling on the floor of the car and dump him into the remaining bit of water. Dad was furious. I was loudly proclaiming my innocence, pointing out goldfish-middle seat-curve, but the truth is I had leaned into it rather dramatically. No murder mystery, except possibly for the goldfish, but it’s a scene that comes back to me to this day when something I’ve done on purpose, but unnecessarily, has unintended, negative consequences.

Liz: Love these stories. I hope the goldfish survived! My parents didn’t take us on too many vacations, but I do remember a trip to Disney when I was 7 when my mother insists she was almost run over by a motorcycle on Daytona Beach. I don’t remember that–I was more focused on my new Mickey Mouse ears!

Readers, what about you? Share your worst (or best!) summer vacation memories with us.

11 Thoughts

  1. We used to go camping for the season. I’m kind of shy but I met some kids my age and we have remained friends for all these years even though we don’t see each other that often. We could swim whenever we wanted, go to the rec room and play our records and talk about which boys we liked. We hated when summer ended and we had to go back to our different schools. We wrote letters to keep in touch until the next summer.

  2. Sebago Lake Maine Summers when I was a kid would fly or my grandfather drove up from New Jersey wouldn’t go back home till a week before school started best time of my whole childhood.

  3. The release of “Hidden Beneath” deserves for a big celebration. So I say “party on”!

    Besides the vacation to Utah that we planned for over a year and never was due ot Covid, the one that stands out the most to me would be one when I was a child around the 4th of July. We had travelled home to visit relatives. Everything that could have gone wrong did, but we managed to still have the time of our lives. Like parking at the park for the family cookout only to smell burning rubber soon after. Seems someone decided the best place to build a campfire was on the parking area. While they had covered it up with dirt and gravel, they hadn’t put out the coals completely. Caused a bit of excitement, but at least the car didn’t burn up. LOL That trip was flawed with many bits of unexpected adventures and one we still talk about what all went wrong.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  4. Congratulations on HIDDEN BENEATH – I’ve been looking forward to this book for quite a while.

    I don’t remember any bad vacations when I was a kid. My parents may have different memories!

  5. Love, love, love HIDDEN BENEATH!!! Congratulations, Barb for another thrilling read! I worked in the airline business for 50 years, so I have so many stories that keep me smiling now that I retired and am an avocado rancher and have a travel company…some stories I can smile or laugh about today, but they were terrible at the time…One mishap that stands out is about “lost luggage”: My wife, my 12-year-old son and I started our around the world 3-week vacation at JFK, headed for Delhi, India. In those days we checked luggage with PanAm (now we only take carryon…if it does not fit, it stays behind), so all our belongings went into 3 huge suitcases. We never saw the bags again, though every day we would go to the PanAm local office wherever we were, with no success. Since we were airline employees, in order to travel we had to wear suits, ties, dress shoes for men and high heels for ladies, and ladies had to wear stockings and dresses or suits. We still remember those 3 weeks traveling all throughout India, Nepal and Sri Lanka with dress/high heeled shoes…and clothing that fitted us. The problem was the shoes, because our feet were too big and the shoes for sale were too small. We made it through the mountains in Nepal, an elephant safari, visiting the Taj Mahal, traipsing through tea plantations in Kandy, Sri Lanka, then on to Thailand. It was tough, but we lived through this, and today we can laugh about it. I always give advice to my travel agency clients: Don’t get too uoset when things don’t go exactly as planned when traveling…If nothing happened, what stories would you have to tell when you get home? Luis at ole dot travel

  6. When thinking of summer vacations one summer comes to mind. The summer we went to our cottage on Cape Cod with our family dog who had 4 puppies while there. Driving home with all of them and we all had to check on them when we stopped at a restaurant on the way home.

  7. Loved Hidden Beneath! A real winner, Barb!

    No major disasters on vacations growing up. An airline employee dropped a full case of rum being brought back from Jamaica. (My mom believed he just stole it.) A car accident that really wrecked the car, but nobody got hurt. And sitting on a thistle to pee when I was about 5. It was next to the road and my mom told me it was a good place to go. Thanks, mom.

    As an adult, I had lots of mishaps in my frequent trips to Peru, but I just rolled with the flow like Luis said.

  8. We had a couple of fights on family vacations, but nothing too major or drama worthy. I can’t even remember what caused them.

    The biggest “drama” I remember was when we left for a big family trip and discovered that we hadn’t packed any extra shoes for my younger brother, who was early elementary school at the time. It had just gotten overlooked. So we stopped and bought him some. We’d left late the night before, so that meant we woke up after spending two nights on the road about 7 hours from home. Considering we were trying to drive to Utah from Northern California, we had definitely planned to make it further. But we just laughed it off then, and it’s still stuff we talk about to this day.

    Of course, there were the car breakdowns as well….

  9. I would say the best summer vacation was in 1983 when my Mom and I took off to visit West Virginia and Virginia. This is the first time I was able to drive in the mountains. I loved it. Thank you so much for sharing. Happy book birthday!! God bless you.

  10. My favorite summer vacation is when my father took my brother, sister, and I to a cabin in Redwood National Park. The company he work for had discounts and so he took us up there. This was back away with no tv, etc. We would take walks along the trails, did have to watch out for bats. My dad would cook hotdogs, hamburgers, etc. Have sandwiches. We could use the canoes, my dad would fish. It was just so laid back. I always had books even when I was a teenager.

  11. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the vacation stories, both from the post and the comments! Congrats to Barb — super excited about the book!

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