Traveling parent faces hotel reality check

 Shack Up Inn, Clarksdale MS and yes, they have AC & heat, running water and indoor toilets (Scarborough photo)

When I travel alone (or with Sainted Husband) and have the time/money, I prefer to stay in a hotel with character.  I have no problem sharing a bathroom down the hall if that’s the only way to afford a really unique lodging option.

My kids, on the other hand, are much less tolerant of “funky” than I am. 

When we pulled up to the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale, Mississippi, a way-funky collection of converted sharecropper shacks in the heart of Delta blues country, the front-seat adults said, “Awesome!”  The back-seat kids said, “Gross!”

Guess they didn’t appreciate the humor in a “Bed and Beer” establishment.

On a recent trip to Virginia, the kids were thrilled and the adults nonplussed by a one-night stop at the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg.  It was an amazing hotel in terms of scale and things to do, but I just don’t have a burning desire to play in a blacklighted video game room or climb a rock wall or play putt-putt or eat in five different restaurants (there IS a spa if you grow tired of all that hollering and activity.)

The enormous indoor water park section of the hotel was spectacular, I must say, and much easier to enjoy than tromping around a spread-out, hot, open-air water park.

Still….I guess I just don’t tend to look for indoor water parks in my hotels.

The kids, naturally, were in heaven.  I don’t think I physically saw my son for about two hours in the water park, as he went from ride to ride and up and down slides.

Sitting in the park, surrounded by screaming, laughing wet children and adults and 300,000 gallons of water, I had time to reflect about getting over myself.  Maybe I need to build a few more of these kid-focused places into our trips, even if they aren’t my cup of tea.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t spend every waking moment taking my children to museums and finding interesting ethnic food to plop in front of them (they just think that I do.) 

During our recent Midwest road trip, I made every effort to accomodate the last Harry Potter release by arranging for a book for midnight pickup with my teenager in Emporia, Kansas.  I agreed to see the 10 p.m. IMAX Harry Potter in 3-D at Chicago’s Navy Pier entertainment complex instead of taking my daughter to hear some good live Chicago blues.  Sigh.

My point is that I think I should try a little harder to look for lodging, or attractions or eateries that maybe I personally shudder to contemplate but I know that the kids would simply swoon about. 

Within reason, of course….I draw the line at too much time in Chuck E. Cheese.

Technorati tags:  travel, family travel

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