Tag Archives: Fourth of July

Camp Lander ~ A Family Vacation in Florida

Camp Lander Kids
Camp Lander Kids

Flights from Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore brought my grown children and grandchildren to Jacksonville for  family holidays Florida style. Cars were rented and driven to nearby Ponte Vedra Beach for the start of week-long Camp Lander: my ambitious plan to unite the group.

But, what happens when you move fourteen people into one house—including two one-year-olds and a three, five and seven year-old?

More squabbles and tears than I had anticipated. Oh yes, lots of fun, too.

Thankfully, the Sunshine State blessed us with clear skies most of the week. We applied countless layers of sunscreen as kids frolicked in the ocean, built and rebuilt sandcastles and chased after beach balls. Hunting for sharks’ teeth became a favorite activity with Poppa Jay setting the record of 47 in one day.  Giggles, hugs and irresistible smiles of delight beamed from the youthful faces.

The kitchen acted as the hub of activity where an amazing quantity of cooking and eating took place. Not surprisingly, we drank more than a few beers and bottles of wine. Thankfully only two trips to the Urgent Care clinic were needed for ear infections.

Camp Lander came to a close with the celebration of Independence Day, the Fourth of July. The family created their own brilliant flashes of light like the dancing fireworks in the sky. They burst on the scene, boomed and sparkled, faded and then dispersed leaving behind stillness and memories.

Mimi’s Back: June Round-Up and Home for the Fourth of July

Avignon Papal Palace
The Papal Palace in Avignon, France

Mimi has returned from Europe concluding her roundabout travels of local, national and international destinations. She explored Georgia, Tennessee, France and Germany by boat, train, airplane, auto, taxi, van, bus, bicycle, ATV, helicopter, zipline, raft and on foot.

Sainte Chapelle
Sainte Chapelle in Paris

She hiked a trail in the Smoky Mountains, descended into Forbidden Caverns and strolled the Champs Elysées. She was drenched by the swirling StormChaser and snoozed on a bed at 35,000 feet. She discovered the wonders of the medieval Papal Palace in Avignon and Sainte Chapelle in Paris built by French King Louis IX to display Christ's crown of thorns.

She savored apple fritters in a restaurant encircled by orchards, French croissants still warm from the oven and barbequed ribs that were finger licking good. She lingered at sidewalk cafés tasting escargot and pâté and sipped robust Chateauneuf du Pape wine. She drank beer in Munich's famous Hofbrahaus where she met a complete stranger from her hometown.

Lavender Field
Farmhouse in the Lavender Fields of Provence, France

Debi in the lavenderShe photographed lavender fields by day and cathedrals at night; farmer's markets; mountain streams and her two month old grandson's feet.

It was a month on the move and Mimi is tired. She's glad to be home to watch fireworks and celebrate the Fourth of July. In upcoming blog posts she will share her recommendations on hotels, restaurants, activities, places of interest and compelling reasons to visit.

Family Feet--Jonah, Mommy and Daddy

Photo of Mimi (AKA Debi) in the field of lavender by Susan Bowen.