Friday, May 02, 2008

Getting Out of Dodge

I remember once talking to the local game warden not long after I moved up to Vermont. I told him that being a game warden must be a great job for someone who likes to hunt and fish. He looked at me suddenly with a mixture of disgust and bewilderment. Then he told me it was about the worst job in the world to have if you loved doing those things, because the busiest times of the year are the various hunting and fishing seasons. He never got to do those things, he said.
So it is with innkeeping. Innkeepers are in the service industry, and we service those on vacation. That means we rarely get to take a vacation during prime times. Add kids to that mix (with the requisite navigation of the school calendar), and the odds of getting away diminish faster than the snowpack in May. Over the years we've managed a few getaways, many of them involving the partitioning of the family. But things have been changing. In January I shed my job with FedEx, and that loosened my schedule considerably. So in April we took a little trip to Florida.
I'll go on the record publicly and say that Florida was not my first choice. It repulsed me as a cliched destination, a place so typically American that I was sure to be annoyed the whole time. Not that there's anything wrong with things American, but I had other places in mind, like a spring skiing trip, or a European jaunt. It was simply a matter of expectations, not judgments. What lured me down there was the promise of Florida's west coast, notably the Clearwater area.
I'll also go record as saying that we had a great time, and that getting sunburned on the beach might be the best medicine for weary innkeepers at the end of the winter. The mayhem of Orlando notwithstanding, I grooved on the simple pleasure of standing in the heat, lolling by the pool with a beer in my hand, or just watching pasty tourists stagger around. It's a real battery-recharger. So now we hope to make this a biannual ritual, and while we probably won't always go to Florida, the retreats will most certainly include warm-weather destinations.