Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Perfect Family Vacation (again)

Tyler Place. Just saying it makes me smile. This was our third year at the Vermont family camp, and each year it gets better (if that was possible?). My children frolic around with their camp groups, while Jeff and I have a chance to truly relax knowing they are both under expert care—and having a ball.

As a mom, when my kids are happy, I am happy. It’s a simple equation for me.

It helps that camp is not an option, it’s what all of the kids at Tyler Place do (and very, very happily). When we've visited other resorts that have optional children's activities I have been known to do the "mommy martyr" gig, and only send them a little bit while I spend my vacation, um well, not really on vacation. Oh, and did I mention that the children's camp groups include dining with their peers each day? (While you all know I place a lot of value on family meals, I also think every parent needs a break from then every once in a while. The fact that I can eat 3 meals a day for 7 days in a row, with my only responsibility/decision being whether or not I'll have another helping of dessert is an extra bonus.)

The first morning back, I packed up my littlest one’s requisite gear for story time, gymnastics, the wading pool, and a gold rush treasure hunt and my older one’s backpack for his camp group’s time doing gymnastics, the lake trampoline, a pontoon cruise and pool/splash pad time. I knew I’d be getting two happy, tuckered out kids back—especially since all of that was happening the first day, before pick-up at 1:30pm! (And what you wonder were we doing while the kids were at camp? Well, I’d wanted to try out a Nei Kung class, but instead joined the group of parents tackling the climbing wall. One trip up was enough for me, thank you very much. So, I retreated to an Adirondack chair and read the newspaper cover to cover, without interruption. Jeff opted for a round robin tennis scramble. Then we met for a relaxing lunch before picking up the kids.)

The children’s camps go from 8:30am-1:30pm, and then again from 5:30-8:30pm daily. (Should you have an infant, as we did the first two years, you are given a one-on-one Mother’s Helper for the same hours above but this delightful caregiver can adhere to your baby’s sleeping/feeding schedule back at your cabin, in addition to taking the baby for walks and the wonderful age-appropriate playhouse.)

Families enjoy an afternoon activity together, and offerings include everything from pony rides to farm visits, art classes and fishing trips to nature walks—or they can just enjoy the swimming pool, kayaks, paddle boats, sailboats, playgrounds…unless the excitement of the morning wears them out, and they need a little siesta, as our children still do.

Cocktail hour starts right after the evening camp drop-off (again, for all children so there’s absolutely no “mommy guilt” involved). Sometimes from our perch on the deck, we’d spot the kids romping down the giant lawn down to the lake for a campfire, a BBQ, or scavenger hunt. Other nights, we’d have to wait to pick them up to hear about the gnome dwelling they built, the marionette show they got to see, or the hayride they took. All the while, we were having relaxing evenings with new friends and ones from years past.

A side note: The Rachel Ray Show was filming an episode about vacation destinations the first night we were there, which I think is due to air this winter. So, if you’re thinking about a Tyler Place vacation for your family I’d definitely contact them before the show airs!


  1. Sarah Ouchi TsaiAugust 15, 2009

    This place looks amazing! Thanks for the suggestion. I want to go!

  2. Our family vacationed at the Tyler Place for many years. It was and continues to be the best vacation we ever had.

  3. Tyler Place is absolutely the best family vacation EVER! We had to miss out this year due to school scheduling, but are counting down the days until our third trip next summer.

  4. Tyler Place IS amazing!!! It was our 1st year and won't be our last. We (a family of four with boys aged 5 & 2.5) spent the week with my husband's parents and his two siblings and their families. Fun, relaxation and smiles for all!

  5. This place sounds fantastic. I think you have introduced us to our possible home away from home.


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