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The Great Escape

By Ashley Dickson

I find myself turning to Travelocity.com more and more at this time of year. I need an escape.


Let’s spend this Saturday sharing our best-loved vacation escapes. What locale do you long for when the end of a long winter seems nowhere in sight? Is your favorite getaway experience a family affair or a honeymoon repeat? Maybe a girls’ weekend free of family obligations?

Here’s mine: Outer Banks, North Carolina, with about 45 of my favorite family members. The week we spend together every other year is as close to heaven as I’ve found. What could be better than a quiet beach, a stack of books to read, dozens of aunts, uncles, and cousins to hang out with, evening board game competitions, and a pantry that is always stocked with popcorn and peanut butter M&Ms?

What’s your great escape?

About Ashley Dickson

(Copy Editor) is a Virginia native now living in Boston. She graduated from BYU with degrees in broadcast journalism and home and family living, then spent three years writing and editing for magazines. After earning a master's degree in library science, Ashley now splits her time between motherhood, freelance writing and editing, and consuming dark chocolate.

19 thoughts on “The Great Escape”

  1. Ah, vacations. I was just dreaming the other night that someone offered to fly my whole family to Hawaii—lol. Your getaway sounds heavenly, Ashley: a beach, books, and fun family togetherness. I love any getaway that includes a beach and books. Some of my fondest vacation memories from my youth include the times we camped on a beach in Queensland. We swam, played on the beach, ate fresh prawns, and slept in a tent, all of us together, falling asleep to the sound of the surf.

    As a grownup, I've loved going to Maui with my husband and children. Ah, to be on the beach with a good book, my toes curled in the sand, listening to my children frolic nearby. Yes, I think I'm getting tired of winter.

  2. I don't mind if where I'm dreaming of escaping to is wintery, too. Just yesterday I was wishing I was in Europe. Salzburg. Lauterbraunen, Swizterland. Normandy. Bavaria. Eating yummy winter foods: fondue, raclette, french hot chocolate, heavy, starchy, meaty, yummy foods THAT I DON'T HAVE TO COOK OR CLEAN UP AFTER! Sitting by a cozy fire. No housekeeping obligations whatsoever.

    Or just our traditional Tahoe Tuesdays, sitting on the warm beach while my kids entertain themselves and I chat with my best girlfriends. My 4 yo wanted to head up to the beach yesterday, but I told him it'd be too cold with all the snow on the beach!

  3. We just paid for a beach house on the outer banks of NC for Spring Break!!! Going early in the year is the only way we can afford it. We went 4 years ago and haven't stopped talking about it. We are sooo excited. It will help us get through the last brown days of winter/spring.

  4. Last May, my husband and I spent a month traveling around the Philippines. I still dream of being on the beaches of Caramoan or Palawan eating a fresh mango or banana (ripened bananas are like candy)….sigh..

  5. We do have a family trip to Hawaii planned in a few months. My husband is from there and we try to go back every now and then, but as we have more kids it gets harder and harder. Now that we can't fit very well in someone's house with our three kids, we decided to rent a beach house and almost all of his siblings are coming at the same time and we'll all spend time hanging out at the beach in a house together for a week. I'm so excited! (except when I keep trying to find plane tickets–blah)

    I love anything close to the ocean and with a nice, comfy space for hanging out. And warm weather.

  6. We live in Florida, which is a great escape for many, but like Strollerblader above, my great escape is to go somewhere, anywhere, where I don't have to cook, clean, or wipe someone else's butt. It could be a local hotel room, a cruise, or a few days away with my husband. Even though as a mother you never really stop being responsible or worrying about your kids, I just want a few days where I'm not the one in charge.

  7. Hi Ashley! I just now realized that you've been posting on this website! I always read Segullah. Hope married life is treating you well. 🙂

  8. Pretty much anywhere sounds good to me as long as I don't have to pay for it. The weather is lovely here in Texas. I'm like everyone else–I long to be free of responsibilty. Now that I think about it, I'd like to stay home and get a bunch of projects done and have my family all go someplace else. That sounds dreamy!

  9. Since we've been married, our vacations are visiting my MIL in Florida. I never thot I was an ocean type kind of girl, but it has been wonderful. We drive down from Ohio and that gives us 2 days alone, each way, to talk etc and be alone with each other.
    Sometimes the stay itself is very stressful, like this last time. When we are there we try to get any business, medical appts, etc that are needed to be done for her. This year it was like pulling teeth all the way. So my husband had a very upsetting vaca.
    Since I have been following FLYLADY i have been working to make each evening a set down supper with nothing for my husband to have to do when he comes home from work. And each weekend so all errands are done in 1/2 day on Saturday so we can do whatever DH wants the rest of the weekend. I also have been working to make it so we don't have to go out to eat. (DH still thinks we should go out once a week to eat to give me a break, I'm trying to let him know this is not necessary). We make Sunday our Popcorn and Milk supper nite with movie of his choice. And some weekends we just deam – Read Ins!
    These little changes have made it more and more unnecessary for us to want vacations, in these financially unstable times. And it lets us not put so much emphasis on wanting vaca time, when we are at his mom's.

  10. Every winter I pine away for lake-side in the North Woods of the Adirondack mountains in upstate New York. I've spent a week there with extended family for the past 32 years. It's one week a year with just family, and no cellphone reception and no wifi. It's absolutely heavenly.

  11. We live in North Carolina, and every summer spend one or two weeks at the North Carolina beaches. (And they're all great–not just the "outer banks"!) Every summer we spend a week with our best friends, and every other summer we do a huge family reunion with my family. For me the beach really is heaven on earth.

    I also love Maui, I've only been a few times but whale watching or snorkeling in Maui is what I fantasize about when I'm not thinking about the NC beaches!

  12. Hawaii. Hawaii is always nice.

    My happy spot is a bookstore/Moon Pie store in Chattanooga TN that also has Dr. Pepper in glass bottles in the back with the ice cream. Nothing like drinking DP while reading a book and eating a Moon Pie to relax you.

  13. Beaches are relaxing, but as for me I dream of a vacation spent wandering castles and castle ruins, cathedrals, chapels, museums and old country estates in Europe with history guidebook in hand. I am an unabashed architecture junkie.

  14. I do adore my family and I love little getaways with them, usually not too far or too expensive, but a little break nonetheless.

    Jennie's comments about having time away from the family reminded me of my attitude toward hospital stays with new babies. I LOVE and adore them. It's like a spa getaway. I push a button for dessert. I push a button for someone to take my baby while I shower in peace. I watch whatever I want on TV (not that I watch much). I talk on the phone with my sisters or mom if I want to. No dishes or laundry, or regular stuff to clean. I have three desserts with each meal, even if I only want two bites of each one. And best of all, I spend the whole time cuddling a little piece of heaven. Sigh. That I might be blessed to do it again sometime. Probably an unconventional answer, but that's what I thought of.

  15. One more (though also unconventional)…When my husband was in law school we lived 3 hours and 15 minutes from the temple. With small children, it was such a challenge to get there regularly. Early on I watched someone's kids while they went and their 18 month old cried for 7 of the 9 hours the mother was away. After that, I couldn't leave my children for that timeframe at their young ages.

    Some families would drive up early Saturday, alternate sessions between the mom and dad, and then drive home. The kids spent 4-5 hours in the temple annex building often bored and confined. I admire their sacrifices and example of faithfulness, but I wanted my children to feel good about the temple too and I didn't feel I could do that with such long days as some others could. Yet, we knew we needed the temple.

    Then we discovered a secret on priceline. We could request a certain area of St. Louis and get a room EVERY month for $40 without fail. Sometimes $35. Two beds, nice hotel. We were always assigned one of two locations, one 2 minutes from the temple, and the other 10 minutes away.

    That became our dream getaway. As students there was sacrifice to find $40 per month plus gas, but it was such a blessing. We would drive up Friday night in time for me to attend the last session. My husband would attend the earliest session in the morning. I would bring fruit and muffins for breakfast, and usually sandwiches and more fruit for lunch. If we were lucky we would make time for swimming too, but we always had a great time.

    Those were some of the best getaways we've ever enjoyed as a family. Makes me want to book a room every month now though the temple is only 45 minutes away.

  16. All I can say is – LOVE the OBX. We lived in Virginia for eight years and it is THE vacation spot. Such a calming, beautiful place. How lovely to spend time there with all of your family. When we no longer have four little ones in car seats, my husband and I want to take our children there.

    As for longings though… I must say Hana, Maui – Old Hawaii. It is truly paradise.

  17. I always dream of being anywhere near the ocean and beaches! I was born and raised in So. Cal but have lived "inland" all my adult life and it wears on me. The perfect vacation would be sharing a beach home with loved ones, much like Ashley's description! I also "escape" emotionally by going to the movies with my Pepsi and Milk Duds and I do that ALOT! 🙂


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