Vacation Close to Home

Vacation: The Morris family of Urbana on a “trip of a lifetime.”

How’s your summer? Did the kids go to camp, learn a new skill or enjoy daylong adventures with their friends? Or did they avoid the intense heat and stay indoors and read, watch TV or play video games? Did you get away with family and friends to relax and enjoy some unstructured down time for a few days?

Some Urbana residents stayed close to home again this summer, still cautious and conservative during this volatile economy. A destination within driving distance was often an important criteria. The beach was the most popular place to go, from Rehoboth to Ocean City, or down to the Outer Banks and nearby Southern beaches.

Julie Virnelson, an Urbana resident and mother of five, said, as always, her family really enjoyed their annual trip to Bethany with the Robertson family. “We play a lot of cards and have a mini-golf championship that runs through the entire trip. Our diet consists of Boardwalk Fries, Fractured Prune donuts, burgers and dogs, s’mores and frozen custard,” she said.

Virnelson loves the fact that there are no Xboxes, Playstations, or Wiis at the beach. “It’s a vacation for relaxing, indulging and spending time together.”

Val Atmonavage also enjoyed a week at the beach with her family, but they also enjoy spontaneous day trips. “There’s something so enticing about the last-minute trip, and the beauty of it is, you only go when the weather is picture perfect! Wake-up call is 7 a.m., on the beach by 10, and home around 9 p.m. that night. We’ve done it twice so far this summer!” she declared.

Venturing in a different direction, Jane Wilcom and her family recently traveled to Stone Wall State Park, in Roanoke, W.Va., about four hours from Urbana and an hour north of Charleston, SC. They stayed in the lodge at this family-style resort, where there are also cabins and a campground. They rode bikes, and explored Stonewall Jackson Lake with canoes, kayaks and paddleboats. They liked the food and the prices of the resort buffet, so they ate at the resort, roasted s’mores and watched movies and played games.

“All in all,” she said, “a great non-beach family getaway!”

Among the biggest adventures for Urbana residents this summer was from the Morris family in the Villages of Urbana. They enjoyed the “trip of a lifetime” with extended family in St. John, in the British Virgin Islands. Their days were spent on a boat, enjoying snorkeling and fishing, the evenings were for relaxing, enjoying the catch of the day and catching up with family.

Whether spending it at home or away, summer, it seems, goes by way too fast for Urbana folks.

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