Make the Most out of Your Summer Vacation


Spending a summer vacation at the lodge is a great way to escape!

I graduated from school many years ago.  The truth is my days of long, fun summer vacations are over.  Like many though, I still look forward to the summertime during the long, dark, cold days of winter…  Summer is freedom.  Summer is kids playing outside.  Catching lightening bugs.  Building bon fires.  Horseback riding. Hiking.  Biking.  Fishing.  And, whether I get a semester long vacation or not (I don’t), I always try to make the most out of this special time of year.  When I was a child, the beginning of August meant the beginning of the end.  There were only a few short bumps left on the road back to school.  My mother would take us shopping for supplies.  My sister and I would listen for the ice cream truck.  And, my dad would try to organize one last little summer outing for the family.  I always thought it was strange that he felt so compelled to mark the end of summer.  He had to work all year round.  He didn’t get a break like us kids did.  And yet, without fail, he would plan some elaborate, fun-in-the-sun trip right before the days started getting too short and the weather too cold.

I look back so fondly on those trips.  Camping in Wisconsin. Exploring downtown Chicago.  Visiting the state capital.  Driving what seemed like forever to get to a water park.  Those little adventures were the grand finale of summer – one last little celebration before it was back to school.  While no one knew at the time that our family vacations would yield such warm memories, we all knew that that time was special.  Fleeting.  Stolen in those last precious days of summer…while our skin still twinged with a bit of sunburn and our teeth were red from Koolaid.  We were free to play and grill and swim for just a little while longer.


ATV riding at Heartland's ATV Park

Looking back, there was no time I treasured more than those last weeks of summer.  And, I don’t think I am alone in that sentiment.  A friend recently invited me to the spot where her family spent their summers.  On the walls were photos of her and her family taken years ago as they enjoyed those perfect Midwestern summers.

What am I getting at here?  Why am I telling you about decades old family vacations?  Well, as I find myself noticing the back-to-school sales and days getting shorter, I am returned to those summers years ago.  If you have children who will be returning to school in a couple weeks, you are likely feeling stressed.  There is so much to do between now and then.  Registration, school supplies, clothes, figuring out bus schedules, preparing for class…And that’s just for the kids.  With all that going on, the idea of cramming a family getaway in on such short notice can seem pretty ridiculous.  But, you may want to seriously consider it.  These are precious times that you will not get back.  Years from now, you and your children will come to treasure these memories.

Inside view of our secluded cabin I haven’t been able to get my family out to the lodge yet.  My parents live in Chicago and my sister in Arizona.  We typically see each other for holidays and are hesitant to add any additional travel to our itinerary.  But, it is my hope that next year at this time – before the weather starts changing and the days get too short – we will all pay a visit to Harpole’s Heartland Lodge.  The lodge has all of the makings of a perfect summer vacation location.  Whether you want to relax with loved ones or have an action-packed adventure, the lodge provides the perfect backdrop for family togetherness.  I know my sister would love horseback riding and my dad would love sporting clays.  My mother would enjoy playing cards at the game table and my husband can’t get enough of Harpole’s amazing meals.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to spend quality time with your family before the hustle and bustle of the school year hits.  After all, the first day of school is spent talking about what everyone did over the summer.  A trip to Harpole’s will give your children something awesome to tell the class.

Nicole Palmiano

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Last Updated: May 25th, 2023

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