Fourteen years. That's how long our family has been making the annual pilgrimage to Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. It all started when my wife Robyn and I decided to make a trip to Callaway's "Fantasy in Lights" as a part of our honeymoon in December of 1996. We went back the next year, then the next, and now we're making our 14th trek to the west Georgia resort.
We now take our children, and we've added some things that have become family traditions, like our homemade chili, a picture of the kids at the "train," and our newest addition: an organ concert in the chapel, which we started last year.
The timing of our trip is most important. You see, we leave Montgomery each year on the last day of school before Christmas vacation. I've gotten to where I really enjoy watching our fair city fade into the rear-view mirror on that Friday evening, and I can literally feel my blood pressure going down as we see the first few isolated homes on the outskirts of Pine Mountain as we're driving in.
Highlights of the trip for me include the homemade chili mentioned above (we always rent a
cabin with a kitchen and a fireplace), breakfast at the Country Kitchen, riding the trolley through the Fantasy in Lights display, and spending time with Robyn and the kids as we explore the Day Butterfly House, Mr. Cason's Vegetable Garden, the Pioneer Log Cabin, and other fun attractions.
This trip is critical for me because it is important for us to get away from things from time to time. In this day of cell phones, Internet literally anywhere, computers, and television with hundreds of channels, we just need to pull back and detox sometimes. Gain perspective, and recharge the batteries.
My plans for this little two-day trip include nothing other than special family time. I will then use a good bit of my two-week vacation to plan out the first half of 2010 - including post topics for this blog.
As we head toward the Christmas holidays, I encourage you to get away (even if that just means shutting off all of the gadgets!), detox, and recharge for 2010. We'll talk more in the coming weeks about how to find smaller segments of this type of time each day. In the meantime, give yourself a rest -- you deserve it!