The month of March usually means the annual CJS rendezvous in Tucson, unfortunately one of us couldn’t make it this year. But it did get us thinking about the places we visit every year without fail. And that got us wondering where some of your annual trips take you. So we asked: Where is one place you visit every year without fail? We received some great responses that take us all across the country. So grab your bags and let’s go!
Hart: When I was a wee lad, my grandmother lived in Minnesota and that was often the destination for my family. At the time my grandma was taking care of and living in a huge house owned by her brother-in-law. This was the nicest house I ever had the pleasure of staying in. It was on a large amount of land, and of course it was on a lake.
This house also had a satellite dish, but not one of those little ass ones that are so common now, but one of those giant ass ones, like in the movie Stay Tuned. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your preference, I was never sucked into the dish. But this thing was great because it was a time when the Disney Channel was a premium channel but not with the dish, and I watched all sorts of awesome children’s programming that involved weird puppets. Then the days were spent at the lake. Boating, fishing, swimming, if it could be done at a lake, I was doing it. And at night we would build a bon fire and roast hot dogs and make s’mores. All of these things were done while trying to fight off several armies of mosquitoes. I was like Germany trying to fight on three fronts.
Then there were the days we went into the tiny local town. We would go to another lake, called Serpent Lake and it had this giant statue of a serpent, not just a clever name. There was playground equipment and a nearby Dairy Queen. And those nights we got to eat at the local pizza parlor. For the life of me I cannot remember the name of the place, or if the pizza was any good, but I miss going there. It had that ambiance that was great and it was like a real pizza parlor, like that place Charles’ mom owned on “Charles in Charge,” before it became a diner.
All these things made me excited for summer to come. My grandma has since moved out of that house, but she is still in Minnesota. I don’t make it up there as often, but when I do we still make a fire, and enjoy some time in town.
Dagger: Since the two places I make an effort to visit each year – Las Vegas and Tucson – have been covered in great detail here on CJS over the past two years, I’ll revisit one from my youth.
Both of my parents grew up in Chicago, and thanks to their geographic happenstance, they bestowed the lifelong pox upon me of Cub fandom that has made me a target of ridicule by some CJS Regulars (i.e. Flickerbock). Aside from that glaring flaw, Chicago is a terrific city that combines culture, great food, tons of stuff to do, and truly atrocious weather. It’s miserably cold in the winter and oppressively hot and humid in the summer. All told, I think Chicago has maybe 12 total days of agreeable weather all year.
With nearly all of our family in the metropolitan Chicagoland area, I spent at least a week or two there pretty much every year until I reached high school. My grandmother lives in an affluent suburb called Skokie that to this day conjures joyful memories from my childhood. I played basketball in nearby Seneca Park, walked to the Baskin Robbins just around the corner and found excuses to walk to the Walgreens down the street just to check out whatever they had in the wildly overpriced toy aisle. Once I reached high school, I loved waking up on Saturdays to see the Hasidic Jewish folks walk down to Lubavich Chabad. Why I loved this so much, I’ll never know, but I think had something to do with their hats. Additionally, nearby is Herm’s Palace which has the best Italian beef on the planet. This is the first place my dad and I go whenever we get there.
When I was 10 my mom dragged me to all of Chicago’s important sites – the Picasso statue, The Museum of Science and Industry, the Shedd Aquarium, Navy Pier, the Field Museum, and what felt like a dozen others – to make sure I experienced everything the city had to offer. I hated this at the time because I felt like she was slave driving us a bit, but in retrospect, at least I have those places checked off my important places to visit list. And I cannot recommend enough watching a game at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. Even if you hate the Cubs, I’m hard pressed to think of a better place to watch a baseball game.
Cru Jones Society spent their summer youths in the north Midwest. Our readers have gone to many other places. From staying within their home state, to trespassing on Warrior’s turf, to sun filled beaches; our readers have traversed these great states on a yearly basis in search of a good time.
Keithage: For the longest time like 15 years in a row my family and I went to Lake Powell. The main reason is because it’s the greatest place on earth, unless you don’t like water or sun or fun. I like all three. The 2nd reason is because we had a time share on a houseboat. Since we sold it I have been back once in the past 7 years. Sad, I know. However upon more consideration I have been going to steamboat every year for the past 20. The weekend is always the same it’s the last weekend in January. Steamboat is a great ski vacation. It’s close for a long weekend, the place isn’t full of rich a holes and the snow is some of the best around. It’s also nice because it is a good excuse for your roommate in the dorms to hook up with his future wife for the first time. Steamboat was also the reason I never got perfect attendance as a kid. I never got sick, but dammit if my dad doesn’t consider skiing an acceptable excuse for missing school.
Maristredfox: Every summer, I head to Coney Island! I love the old-school amusement park/sideshow atmosphere, plus it’s one of the few places left in NYC that hasn’t been gentrified and overrun with Starbuckses and hipsters. You hit up Nathan’s for a hot dog and then watch the Cyclone, even if you don’t ride it!
Lady E: The place that I visit every year, without fail, is San Diego. For eight years my sister has lived there, and I make it my mission to make it out there to see her once, if not twice a year. I love to go in the early spring when the weather in Colorado is dreadful, cold, and snowy. When I step off the plane in beautiful San Diego the weather is nice, I can wear capris and flip-flops and tee-shirts and be comfortable. I get quality sister time, and the last time I was out I got quality sister and now nephew time. We go shopping, eat at a mediocre restaurant that is right on the beach (the view makes up for the food), take Betsy (the dog) on walks, lay around watch TV, and do whatever we feel like doing. It is amazing. While in the past few years Tucson has taken over the spring trip and is becoming a place I go every year as well, San Diego is a place that I will always make it to no matter what.
CassieB: I live in San Diego, which is flocked by tourists year round. Our friends who live in other cities and states often assume that there would be no reason to leave this beautiful city, but the truth is, we miss the mountains, the skiing and the beer of Colorado. In particular, we miss Breckenridge. In fact, we just made a trip up to Breck last weekend. We were lucky to spend time on the slopes (sans baby, who was with Grandma), drink the Colorado beer (found a new one we like…Dale’s Pale Ale) and see friends and family, including E Dagger and Lady E. We dream about our future mountain home and someday moving back to Denver so we can visit Breckenridge every weekend. So for those of you who live in Colorado…don’t forget how wonderful those mountains are…and do yourself a favor and make a trip up to Breckenridge…the best place to visit during winter, spring, summer or fall.
Flickerbock: Your mom’s house.
Leave it to Flickerbock to bring the class level of the confessional down a notch or two.
These all sound like great places to visit time after time. We hope you continue to make the trip as we are now excited to pack our bags at hit the open road or skies or whatever.
Nothing beats a good trip, except maybe a good drink. And with St. Patty’s Day right around the corner, it is the perfect time to grab a good drink. And whether it’s green beer or something else, we have a booze related question for next week. We want to know: What have you been drinking lately? Have you put the PBR aside for a High Life? Maybe minty Mojitos have been quenching your drink desires. Maybe you’re preference hasn’t changed and you’re drinking the same thing you have been. Whatever it is we want to hear about it and get everyone geared up for the holiday.
We want to know more about all our readers. So don’t hold back. If you haven’t confessed, or it’s been awhile, or even if you did it last week, we want to hear from you. Confession is good for your soul. Don’t be shy and send us your response, along with your posting name to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put them up next week.
Dagger & Hart
08 Mar 2010 CJS Staff