Frugal and Fun


Some of my most favorite childhood memories are from summer vacations spent with family. My parents seemed much more relaxed and happier, and I enjoyed exploring new places. What’s interesting is that the best vacations from my youth didn’t require my parents to spend thousands of dollars for weeklong stays in fancy resorts or luxurious condominiums.

One summer, we spent a weekend tent camping in Cherokee. Another summer, we went to White Lake, and we also spent at least one week every year at Pirateland Family Camping Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

These vacations are embedded in my memory, not because of money spent, but because of the fun we had together has a family. Giggling in the backseat of the car with my sister, staying up past my bedtime and roasting marshmallows around a campfire, and riding my yellow banana-seat bike while enjoying an ocean view are a few of my fondest memories. None of them was outrageously expensive.

To be honest, I’m not sure it mattered where we went, but it was the time spent together that counted the most. Vacations are a break from our usual routines, and kids love the excitement of adventure of exploring new places.

This issue of Piedmont Parent focuses on travel. In March, we asked visitors whether the recession would impact their summer travel plans. Fifty-five percent of respondents said that they will take a scaled-back vacation this year, and 12 percent are opting for day trips only.

If you fall into either of those categories, then be sure to read Michele Zavatsky’s tips for family vacation fun that won’t hurt your wallet (page 14). Writer Sharon Cindrich also shares ideas for passing the time in the car if you’re choosing to drive to your destination (page 16).

And if you’re looking for ideas on where to go, we feature three kid-friendly destinations this month. Web Editor Karen Alley writes about Beech Mountain (page 20), writer Michael Huie explores Richmond, Va., (page 18) and I recently took the family to nearby Horne Creek Living Historical Farm for a day trip (page 31).

In addition to travel, this month we also answer the question: What do Triad moms really want for Mother’s Day? Jewelry? New kitchen appliances? The answers might surprise you.

And finally, we have a personal essay from freelance writer Cindy Hodnett, who shares her story about coping with breast cancer and the impact that had on her role as Mom. It wasn’t easy telling her kids that she had breast cancer, but Hodnett’s honesty and the intensive treatment that followed gave her the opportunity to teach her kids many valuable life lessons. Read her inspiring story on page 24.

As always, please don’t hesitate to call or e-mail me at 336-983-4789 or

All the best,


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