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We head to the past on vacation

I've sometimes wondered what it would be like to spend your vacation at the same place as the year before - and the year before that. (See story.) The sense of tradition and familiarity strongly appeals to me, but I suspect I might feel a bit bored.

There's something to be said for playing lazy games of Monopoly and catching up on what family members have been doing. Instead, my family has usually found summer relaxation by delving into the past: Colonial Williamsburg, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston. My husband recently joked that he and I and our two sons must have tromped across every battlefield in the country. He was exaggerating slightly; I don't recall anything from the French and Indian War.

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I'm not sure how our choice of vacation activities came about. Maybe because my husband and I both enjoy history, and we've often lived near parts of the country where such events took place.

On occasion, though, we did depart from tradition. Our boys fondly recall the summer their grandfather paid them a penny per stone for harvesting the multitude of rocks in his new vegetable garden. That kept them busy - and feeling rich - for more than a week.

Still, I notice that we've passed along a predilection for learning vacations to our sons. Instead of heading to Florida just for its warmth, they seize the opportunity to learn more about marine life while they're there.

I occasionally worry - especially after reading the column on page 14 - that we simply don't know how to relax and do nothing.

Then I tell myself it doesn't really matter. The whole idea of a vacation is to get away from the ordinary routine and enjoy yourself, doing whatever leaves you refreshed.