Grand getaways for grandparents and grandchildren


Multigenerational travel has been the buzz for a number of years, but a subset of this trend has grandparents and grandchildren bidding bon voyage to the middle generation and hitting the road for together time on their own.

“Grandparents have so much to teach and so many stories to tell to their grandchildren, and holidays are a privileged moment to share all this and more,” said Magali Déchelette, founder of Family Twist, a one-stop shop for private luxurious family activities and packages in Europe. “When grandchildren spend a holiday with their grandparents, nothing should get in the way of their joy of being together.”

Grand vacation, with a twist

Déchelette believes that many destinations are grandparent/grandchildren-friendly as long as there are adapted activities and services for all. That’s where Family Twist comes in, with a roster of more than 40 different activities designed for all members in the family and a goal to turn travel expectations into unforgettable experiences.

Take a treasure hunt at the Louvre in Paris, discovering 11 masterpieces as you solves clues and puzzles along the way, not to mention seeing art from the Middle Ages, the Italian Renaissance and Ancient Egypt. Bake your own pizza in Rome under the tutelage of a real pizzaiolo (pizza chef). Learn the secrets of Italian pizza and, yes, how to toss the dough. In London, step into the shoes of Sherlock Holmes and help a real life Scotland Yard detective solve a criminal case.

“A holiday is the perfect moment to share bonding experiences together,” said Déchelette.

In addition to arranging fun and educational activities that are related to the culture of the given country, Family Twist handles everything from accommodations to ground services. The company selects family-friendly boutique hotels and guarantees connecting rooms or suites. Transfers are via Mercedes-Benz mini vans equipped with baby and booster seats and experienced baby-sitters can be provided just in case the grown-ups need a time-out.

Growing up with grandchildren

Why would a retired couple travel more than seven hours from Mississippi to North Carolina several times a year with one or more of their five grandchildren in tow?

“High Hampton Inn is a big part of our family,” said Nancy Hargrove of the 1,400-acre resort located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. “It’s hard not to love it — there’s just so much going on.”

Swimming, sailing, canoeing, rowing and pedal boating on Hampton Lake. Golf, tennis, fishing, hiking, climbing a rock wall. Children’s evening and special holiday entertainment and programming. A hands-on falconry program with a chance to feed the birds and have a hawk fly to your glove. All this and more await, along with several dining options, a world-class spa and guestrooms, suites and cottages that are comfy havens overlooking mountains and the lake.

“My husband and I first went to High Hampton Inn about 25 or 30 years ago and fell in love with it,” said Hargrove. “We took our first grandchild, Guy, when he was three years old (he’s now 19) and we’ve been going back ever since. It’s a wonderful family resort.”

A favorite for all? Playing cards by the four-sided stone fireplace in the lobby.

“The things the grandchildren want to do change as they get older and we’ve changed along with them, and still do everything together.”

City of Presidents

With 2016 marking the 75th anniversary of Mount Rushmore’s completion and the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service, timing couldn’t be better for a grandparent/grandchild trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota and true Americana.

Head to Rapid City and the awe-inspiring Mount Rushmore National Memorial to see George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln carved from a sky-skimming granite mountainside. Then head downtown to see life-size bronze sculptures of every past president of the United States.

Life-size dinosaurs hulk along the top of Rapid City’s Dakota Hogback ridge: Five prehistoric creatures, including tyrannosaurus Rex, were constructed in the mid-1930s, a memorial to “acquaint the present generation and others to follow with a fair idea as to the appearance, size and characteristics of these, our earliest known inhabitants.”

See real animals on a wildlife safari to Custer State Park, where free-roaming herds of bison sometimes cause traffic jams along the 18-mile Wildlife Loop Road. One of the largest publically-owned herds in the world, the bison are joined by bighorn sheep and burros, pronghorn and prairie dogs, mountain goats and mountain lions and more.

Other area attractions: Bear Country USA, a 250-acre drive-thru wildlife park; Reptile Gardens, home of the world’s largest collection of cold-blooded vertebrates; and enchanting Storybook Island with its interactive fairy tale sets.

‘Have Grandkids, Will Travel’

You’ll feel like you’ve slipped off to summer camp at Lake Naomi Club and its Mountaintop Lodge — but this family-oriented luxury retreat located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania is the very antithesis of roughing it. Cabin Jacuzzi suites and lodge and loft suites, gourmet country breakfast and membership to the facilities at this Five Star Platinum Club Community during your stay combine to create the perfect getaway.

Club activities provide plenty of bonding opportunities: sailing, swimming, hiking, fishing, golfing, indoor tennis and a 277-acre lake with non-motorized boating and two outdoor Olympic-sized pools, including the largest lakeside heated outdoor pool in the state. Additionally, visitors find a fitness center, game room, teen area and plenty of family activities.

Through Dec. 31, 2016, Lake Naomi Club is offering a “Have Grandkids, Will Travel” getaway that includes two nights’ accommodations, complimentary breakfast, two lunches and two dinners for four, access to various child-supervised evening activities and a $60 activities voucher that may be used toward boat rental, golfing, supervised daytime camp activities, etc. Package starts at $775. Details: www.MountaintopLodge.com/specials.html.

———

(Author and travel and lifestyle writer Kathy Witt feels you should never get to the end of your bucket list; there’s just too much to see and do in the world. Contact her at KathyWitt24@gmail.com, @KathyWitt.)



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Travel

Hurricane Florence: Trucker driving school bus rescues 64 dogs, cats from South Carolina
Hurricane Florence: Trucker driving school bus rescues 64 dogs, cats from South Carolina

A Tennessee truck driver is being hailed as a hero after he rescued 64 shelter dogs and cats ahead of Hurricane Florence. According to the Greenvale News, Tony Alsup, 51, from Greenback, Tennessee, drove a school bus to South Carolina last week as the deadly storm strengthened in the Atlantic. Once there, he stopped in Orangeburg, Georgetown, Dillon...
Hurricane Florence aftermath: 1-year-old dies after vehicle flooded by rising waters
Hurricane Florence aftermath: 1-year-old dies after vehicle flooded by rising waters

Officials on Monday morning recovered the body of a 1-year-old boy who was swept away by floodwaters during the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. >> Read more trending news  Update 10:30 a.m. EDT Sept. 17: Sheriff’s deputies in Union County confirmed in a Facebook post Monday morning that searchers had found the body...
Four Points of the Compass: Head south for a star-gazing cruise, lesson in civil rights
Four Points of the Compass: Head south for a star-gazing cruise, lesson in civil rights

Whether traveling in the United States or the tropical climes of the Caribbean and Central America, check out what’s new and noteworthy at points south on the compass, or get a different perspective on familiar destinations. Once called “the Cradle of the Confederacy,” Montgomery has come a long way since Reconstruction and the Jim...
Four Points of the Compass: Venture north to soak in a beer spa and hike sea cliffs
Four Points of the Compass: Venture north to soak in a beer spa and hike sea cliffs

Now that school is back in session and the promise of cooler temperatures is in the air, snowbirds are planning their annual pilgrimages south. But a balmy climate is not everyone’s idea of paradise. Cold weather fans embrace the chilly weather and set their sights north this time of year. Here are nine locations worthy of breaking out a parka...
Four Points of the Compass: Go westward to wander a sonic labyrinth and sail in the Swiss Alps
Four Points of the Compass: Go westward to wander a sonic labyrinth and sail in the Swiss Alps

Whether it’s west of the Mississippi or western Europe, there’s something about heading westward that fills one with anticipation. It’s been explored, settled and re-invented, but there’s still plenty to discover at points west on the proverbial compass. Here are some things to check out, as well as fresh takes on the familiar...
More Stories