The New Vacation: A Time to Retune Re-Connect

The world is too much with us, late and soon
Getting and spending we lay waste our powers,
We have given our hearts away...

For this, for everything, we are out of tune.
(Wordsworth, 1830)

Living in this time, in a socio/cultural moment that often feels out of tune, may seem like a contemporary phenomenon, but it isn't. For this, for everything, we are out of tune was written in 1830, during the time of the industrial revolution, the first time when work and its conjoint twins, getting and spending, were overriding concerns. What was also a concern was not having time enough to enjoy life and ponder the original reason why most work in the first place - for bettering themselves and their families. then, as now, what does betterment mean? This question still haunts, 177 years later. But today, a prescriptive ingredient has been added.

The success of the fractional interest and destination club industry has been attributed to many factors - the aging and mellowing of the Boomer generation, with their changing spectrum of vacation needs and wants, the Gens X and Y with their emerging vacation needs also. But the one thing all age ranges wanted on vacation was -- no worries, in beautiful areas, in exceptional homes, all of which the shared residence industry can provide.

The provision of these needs and wants have allowed substantial success for the industry, but there is also a less obvious reason, threaded with post 9/11 anxiety, creating a greater personal need for community, family, social occasion and inclusion with people we know and love. It is the need for time to be better spent. In 1830, time was spent getting and spending; in 2008, it is producing and consuming. And quite simply, the shared residence industry allows for the antidote: families and friends to spend better connection time, whether it be for special social occasions, or quiet time on neutral ground, together.

For better or worse, the human animal is a social being, feeling more comfortable in tribes, groups and families. If we are away from our friends and family too long, there develops a kind of vague, nameless discomfort but something immediately dispersed when we see family - our children, spouses, our parents. What was needed for years was a resting place, a sanctuary where friends and family could retune individually, and re-attune with each other; a place where there was not only, on the surface, a change of scenery, but something else - ineffable, indescribable, a place with a sense of place, married to a span of time ,where everything - the texture and color of curtains, environmental sounds, the scent of air, combine to create a stopping place, a retreat, one where peace is experienced in terms of play, solitude, laughter, dreaming and togetherness. A place where the intuitive is given freer rein, and because of these things, and where the inner self, selves are allowed to emerge. The residences of the best destination clubs and private residence clubs often provide the groundwork for implementation of these needed occurrences. They create a time when the families, the friends, the children can retune, re-attune, and re-connect the strength of their relationships with those they love.

Basil Williams is a New York financier, who travels much of the time. He and his wife have five children, from age 20 to age 7, he has been a Solstice member for 3 years " We have traveled with the children, with the children and their friends, with just my wife and myself, on father/son weekends, with our friends, and we have always been satisfied. The homes soon feel like OUR homes, and when the children return to them, the always run to claim their rooms! They are that comfortable with the Solstice residences. Most recently, while at the Napa home, we entertained our friends, many of our friends in the Bay area as well. We had a private chef, and I did some of the cooking also. The kitchen had everything I needed and wanted, and it was wonderful entertaining at a home that felt like my own, in a beautiful place. Everything was perfect, which is rare. But when it happens, it 's magic."

What's also magic is the evolution of great memories that come with traveling to exceptional residences each year.

"The Quintess residence at Napa will always be the most special place for us," said Camille Claxton, a Quintess Member from Kansas." It was there we first met our daughter's friend who, within a year, became our Son-In-Law. My daughter, after seeing the Napa home, and being there with her intended, wanted to have her wedding - not in our hometown in Kansas! -- but in Napa. So, we had the wedding at a resort nearby, but had the rehearsal dinner and all the parties at the home. The Quintess home was large enough to have many of those in the wedding party to stay with us. Having a beautiful home to greet wedding guests, and to have the rehearsal dinner, allowed our family to celebrate this happy occasion without any of the attending worries or stresses. It was also a wonderful way to welcoming the Groom to our family. As a large family now - four grown children and seven grandchildren, we can now travel together and stay together in these homes. It has been a great advantage - we are closer than ever, and everyone can't wait to go on the next trip."

Colin Fitzgibbons, an Ultimate Resort member, decided, with his fiancée, that their honeymoon trip would be the Esperanza resort, where Ultimate has a residence. The beaches, the services, the mild weather, all enhanced their romantic experience. However, on the first day of their honeymoon, they were very tired from their busy wedding weekend.

"It was great to be on the beach with the wait staff bringing us anything we wanted" Colin said, " We were able to completely relax. You also can get a massage right on the beach. We didn't do that, but we did take advantage of the resort spa. I had a massage and my wife got a wrap. I don't know the exact ratio of staff to guests but it was something like four- or five-to-one! You get spoiled, and it's a very nice feeling. The resort residence has everything you would want and the staff knows everything that you would ask for already. It was so wonderful that we will be returning for our first anniversary, and probably many anniversaries thereafter!"

THE ORCHARD at The Carneros Inn , a PlumpJack Resort, is one of the newest Private Residence Clubs in the Napa Valley. It is a newer project, reflecting a kind of pastoral elegance endemic to the area. Sue Raffetto and her family were the second member/owners to join the Orchard. They recently celebrated her husband's 70th birthday, and the chose The Orchard as the place to have their three day e=celebration with family reunion.

"With our children and grandchildren, our family is comprised of 12 people. And two dogs! We had a three day birthday gathering at the Orchard for everyone including the two Labs, and it could NOT have been in a better place. On the first night, my husband's 70th birthday, we ate out in our patio. The night was clear, there were twinkling candles all around, our children and grandchildren were close by, nothing could have made it better. During the rest of the time, we enjoyed the Spa where everyone received massages. Then, the children left, and we were alone together for the last night. It was a wonderful, deeply rewarding and meaningful time, as we all had so much fun, great conversation and wonderful reminiscences. Celebrations like that make memories last forever!"

Yet, many other members do not use their memberships for any one occasion, their vacations, now with all the family, including the children, their friends, and often family friends as well, have learned something new, something old: what it is like to travel together, multi generations, all having enough space and time to learn more about each other and enjoy each other's company.

"We have three adult children, and three grandchildren." Said Pat Libbey, Quintess member. "Our Quintess membership is a perfect solution in two areas: our travels are motivators toward having great family experiences, and second, the Quintess residences have space enough to be great meeting and conversation areas. We always have enough room. On a recent trip to the Amangani residence in Jackson Hole, we happened to pick a time when the skiing was not ideal. However, we were having so much fun in and around the home and in and around the resort closeby, it really did not matter. We enjoyed the trip so much, our close family became even closer, and we got to know and love our grandchildren even more than we do now, which is hard to believe!"

What is also hard to believe is the pleasure of traveling on vacation with grandparents, parents and grandchildren. " My children live on the east coast and I live in Illinois," said Dr. Mark Davis, Solstice member, recently. "I also have parents who love to travel, so often, I take the kids, Mom and Dad and go to a Solstice residence. There is so much room at the residences, and we all have our own space, as well as gathering places within the home also. The Solstice homes provide a means to facilitate great family experiences, with the older crowd mingling with the younger one. I realized recently how important it is for grandparents and grandchildren to get to know each other better, and this can begin to be accomplished, in the Solstice residences, on neutral ground. It's not my turf or yours, it is ours. I have gone with other friends, the children have brought their friends, but everyone has enough space, both separate and together and it's all good."

Time is the currency of life, and a life well spent is time well spent, all good. The destination and private residence club industry allows time to be better spent, legacies to be achieved, personal connections to be created and recreated, so we can retune, return, and reconnect to those who will remember us in the immediate and distant future.

image description