As a Virginia State Parks family, I have come to understand that we are not all alike.*
Uniqueness found in the wild ponies at Grayson Highlands State Park
When our family wants to get away to the beach we prefer First Landing State Park to the high rises, chaos, traffic and mayhem of nearby Virginia Beach. We venture out to grocery store to shop and buy odds and ends and then quickly, like a turtle, we retreat to our oasis in the park.
First Landing State Park on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay
When we go West, we head to one of our state parks like Hungry Mother,where we hike in the fresh air, canoe the clean waters of this mountain lake and escape all the commercialism found at the theme parks and touristy areas that the majority of families are compelled to seek out for their family vacation, lest they feel like bad parents.
The reward from the hike on Molly's Knob Trail at Hungry Mother State Park
Do we try to buy our children's affection with roller coasters and funnel cakes?
Yes, the thrill and excitement of plummeting face forward down a drop at 60-100 MPH is an attraction. There is nothing wrong with visiting theme parks and highly commercial beach areas like Myrtle Beach (a theme park in itself), don't get me wrong.
But let me ask you this, after you have dished out the big bucks to stay there, to eat there, to play there, what have you gained? You had fun. Yes, you did! But what else?
I think of our President Teddy Roosevelt who went to Europe and saw the great Cathedrals and said that we do not have these in America, but what we have is "far vaster and more beautiful than any built by the hand of man."
Natural Tunnel State Park has been called the Eighth Wonder of the World
I look at the black Friday craze and think about the Grinch who discovered:
So what gifts are we giving our kids this year? Will we have "Buyer's Remorse" from our vacation? Will we arrive home after fun in the sun to hefty credit card bills? Just one more game, just one more expensive meal, just one more overpriced piece of memorabilia made in China. Is your puzzler sore?
Perhaps it doesn't come from a store, perhaps it means a little bit more!
Virginia State Parks are your parks, feel free to get outside and enjoy them.
*These opinions are entirely my own. Sometimes a little editorial blog article is good food for thought, as I write them I am reminded why I love Virginia State Parks. I too, can fall into the trap of "stuff" but in the end, what memories do we gain from stuff?