A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in. – R. Orben

It is a delight to work in a place where most everyone is on vacation. More often than not, guests arrive in high spirits (let’s be honest: if they just came from wine tasting they are in ESPECIALLY high spirits). Joking aside, when people venture to Solvang they are usually on a getaway with a loved one, stopping by on their way up or down the coast, or meeting up with friends or family. This means that we often get the best version of everyone. When on vacation, people are generally more relaxed and open to enjoying the moment. They laugh more easily. They smile more often. They share stories more freely. Jessy and I have repeatedly commented to each other on how great it is to work with people who are on vacation. Some days we forget that we are the ones who are working.

This next week, both Jessy and I are packing our things and saying goodbye to Solvang for a bit. We are heading in the opposite direction: Jessy is visiting friends in the bitter cold of Cincinnati and I am heading to the very warm island of Kauai (No judgment, Jess). Because I have two little girls joining me, I have been packing for nearly an entire week at this point. We are going to celebrate my dad’s 70th birthday so this trip was planned over a year ago and has been something we’ve anticipated since that time. My daughters have been talking about it since last spring. We’ve been literally counting down the days since February 1st. I am pretty certain that both of their teachers will be relieved when they finally skip town since they are very likely tiring of hearing about it. It will be full of firsts: first plane trip, first time out of California, and their first introduction to a unique culture. Is it that obvious that we are excited?

Preparing to go has reminded me of the value of getting away. It is very rare that I take a “real” vacation and the reality is that many of our guests view their time in this valley the way I’m looking at my upcoming trip: it’s precious time away, a much-needed rest, time for celebration, and an opportunity to create memories with loved ones. I used to think that the greater value was in anticipation but these days I think the experience – enjoying the moment – trumps it all. Sure, my daughters have been talking about this for hundreds of days at this point and we don’t really know how things will go. But no matter what the weather or what surprises pop up, in the end they will have spent a string of days with cousins, aunts, an uncle, and beloved grandparents. Our only real expectation is that of quality time and I know we will come home filled with that.

This is what Jessy and I want for each guest who visits us at the Hamlet Inn. We hope for a day or string of days when each visitor enjoys the moment. We hope that love is rekindled, old stories are shared and laughed about, conversations are rich and deep, and new memories are made. This is the stuff vacations are made of. This is the stuff that makes us forget that we are not always on vacation.