When I was growing up in Alberta, the provincial Department of Tourism ran a brilliant marketing campaign titled “Take An Alberta Break.” This was decades before the staycation craze and encouraged people to keep their dollars local and become familiar with all the great things to do right close to home. Skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling in the winter; parks, lakes, camping, climbing, hiking, golf in the summer. They also promoted the outstanding network of world class tourism facilities within the province and the wide variety of cultural landmarks.
As luck would have it, I found myself employed by two of the province’s incredible tourism facilities, the Reynolds- Alberta Museum and the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre, initially as a summer job and later in my professional career as an educator and administrator. This opportunity enabled me to see people on vacation every single day, and therefore to see a LOT of happy people. While I would personally like to vacation day in and day out, the reality is that it is not financially possible at this juncture in my life.
However, when the opportunity presents itself for me to be on vacation, I readily embrace it! When summer began here in Florida, I made the decision to use my weekends to “take a break” and focus on the wonderful recreation around us. Don’t get me wrong… I love dog shows, but having sustained burnout from a rigorous show schedule over the last five years, it has been a welcome change for two months.
Having a boat in our back yard affords us the ability to get out on the water without much effort. However, in 2018 the total number of boat rides that we enjoyed was ZERO. It wasn’t what we wanted, but due to a rampant algae bloom and a fungus called red tide, the water around us was severely tainted, to the point where many residents reported health issues a result. Thankfully, the water quality has rebounded this summer, and we have thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with our fishing poles and the sandy beaches of southwest Florida. The fishing has been outstanding, but unfortunately a moratorium is in place for many species due to the damage done from the algae and fungus last year.
In between fishing excursions, we also made a trip to the upper peninsula of Michigan to celebrate Greg’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Where do you go to celebrate a milestone like that? To Grand Hotel on Macinac Island of course! What a beautiful establishment, and the flowers all around the island are truly magnificent It is like a throwback in time, with no motorized vehicle permitted on the island, so getting around is restricted to walking, cycling or hopping aboard a horse and buggy. I did chuckle at the number of horses pulling flatbeds stocked with packages sporting that smiling Amazon logo. In true recreational fashion, Greg and I rented a pair of bicycles and spent a few hours touring the island.
But, as the saying goes… all good things must come to an end, and I fear my vacation lifestyle of 2019 is quickly winding down. It is time to return to a few dog shows and then bury myself in assembling our next issue, which features Performance and Owner Handlers.
Until then, enjoy our breakout stud dog issue, and we look forward to hearing your feedback