Each year at Christmas, my boys look forward to opening their gifts from my parents, their grandparents. My mom and dad are very generous and they often give unique gifts. One year, we received one gift for the entire family: a double sea kayak. Last year, the boys opened their boxes to find…paper. Lots of 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper.
We’ve made a point of letting them take their time and really discover what they’ve just received before tearing the ribbons off the next box. They also like to read. So, here’s the scene: They open their gifts simultaneously. They find paper. They read the paper. They smile with wonder, saying “Really, you’re going to take me on a trip? Without my brother?” (That was the true gift!)
Now my parents are fit and capable and very experienced travelers, but they are not stupid. They offered each boy a week-long trip with them through Road Scholar. Until recently Road Scholar was called Elderhostel and sad, but true, we teased my parents mercilessly about being “hostile elders” whenever they’d take an Elderhostel trip (really dumb joke, I know). Now that the company is Road Scholar, we don’t tease them anymore.
Generally Road Scholar caters to people over 55. But for selected intergenerational trips, the company allows children to join their grandparents for adventures together. Our sons were offered summer trips. One son went sailing in Maine, the other went rafting in Idaho.
While their trips were very action-oriented, the mission of Road Scholar is to promote lifelong learning, so there is always an educational component. The learning is fun and experiential (for example on the Grand Targhee ski trip, everyone will meet an avalanche dog and learn about avalanche control from the ski patrol).
Because these are group vacations, our boys sometimes chose to go off with the other kids or eat some meals at the “kids’ table.” This gave them a chance to hang out, and gave my parents some well-deserved “adult time.” It also meant that everyone was making new friends. In the end, each boy and my parents had a great time, and made memories they’ll keep forever.
Intergenerational Travel Made Easy
Living in Colorado, my parents weren’t about to offer a ski trip to their skiing grandsons. But for grandparents looking to share the snow with their grandchildren, Road Scholar has incredible offerings for the upcoming season. Grandparents and grandchildren can visit Park City, Utah; Sunday River, Maine; Sun Valley, Idaho; or Grand Targhee, Wyoming (just to name a few destinations). They can ski the entire time, or choose a trip with more varied activities. Got some Sound of Music in you? There’s a ski trip to Mount Snow, Vermont, with skiing during the day and musical theatre at night!
There’s a Grand Winter Adventure in Finland, Minnesota that combines cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and winter ecology. Your kids can track wolves in Ely, Minnesota or Haliburton, Ontario. There’s even a trip to Davos, Switzerland.
Road Scholar trips are rated by activity level and by participant reviews. Trips also specify what ages the kids have to be to participate. This is great because 15 year-olds probably don’t want to be on a vacation dominated by 9 year-olds and vice versa. Most trips include accommodations, the majority of meals, and all activities. All in all, there are currently 34 winter trips on the website, with many dates available for each adventure.
For more information and for individual trip descriptions (easy to email to grandparents looking for gift ideas), please visit the Roads Scholar website, at this link.
© 2011, Kristen Lummis. All rights reserved. Any use or publication of content, including photos, requires express permission.Google+