Friday, May 29, 2009

Family Camp or Disney Cruise

My middle daughter, Isis, returns from a 3 day field trip to Emandal today. I had actually wanted to chaperon this field trip, to scout out this pricey "farm on a river" as a potential family vacation. Unfortunately, they decided only fathers could go with daughters (& visa versa)--dumb. It sounds like an idyllic location. An opportunity to truly relax and connect with your family. Each family stays in a small rustic cabin and share a community bathroom. They serve 3 farm fresh family-style meals a day (except weekends- Sat/breakfast & Sun/dinner). There are no programmed activities, however there are ample experiences to be had with numerous hiking trails, natural swimming holes, a hands-on garden & farm, and a nightly campfire circle. Your memories may be priceless, but there is a pretty steep price tag for the simple life-- $2531 for 6 nights (based on 2 adults & 3 children- ranging in 3 age/rate categories, under 2 yrs. is free). Wow, it better be the good life!

In comparison, last fall we took our family of 6 on a fun-filled Disney Cruise (Western Caribbean) for not much additional $125/day ($20/each) included 2 state rooms (privacy)--with bathrooms, all we could possibly eat anytime of day, and activity options galore...swimming, cooking / health classes, comedy shows, Broadway plays, movie theater, health club, dance, games /contests...and a trip to 4 tropical islands. For a reasonable additional fee, we also tried wine tasting, tandem para-sailing, helmet scuba diving, hair braiding, arcade games, a couples cabana massage, and their adult-only gourmet Italian restaurant. They also have a world-class spa. The best part is the option to do family or adult-only activities. A vacation with the kids 24/7 isn't really a vacation. They have fun kids clubs for every age group (infant - teens)-- and free pagers to stay in touch with your kids. There is an adult-only deck (pool/hot tubs), clubs, restaurant, & beach. Of course, airfare could be an issue if you don't earn frequent flyer miles.

I understand the value of nature, but I also appreciate the value of the dollar...and I want to feel like I'm getting the most bang for my buck. If we want the whole organic experience, it can be found for a fraction of the cost. For example, last summer we stayed at the Big Basin Redwood tent cabins for $65/night (or $455/week). They were really nice, with 2 padded double beds, table/chairs, & a wood stove. Not to mention it is a beautiful park (18,000 acres!) with several waterfalls, near Santa Cruz & the ocean. So, we could take the $2076 we saved by not going to Emandal and decide how we want to delegate that to meals. You could even hire & house a personal chef for the week if you really didn't want to cook...& still save at least $1000.

And it you want to get fancier, Yosemite now offers a variety of tent cabin options including fresh bedding, housekeeping, an electric light, a bathroom, heat, & breakfast (ranging from $56-$126/night).

Or last but not least, you could always check out a vacation rental site such as VRBO or Craigslist. Rent a remote cabin with a view or a pimped out waterfront pad to party with your pals. Heck, for $2500 you could rent a villa for a week!! I just found this beautiful 300 yr. old Tuscan villa (sleeps 8) for $1720/week!!
(You could even visit the Olive Garden Culinary Institute...LOL!!!)

1 comment:

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