Milestone Birthday Becomes Dream Vacation

By Susan Harvey

As a young girl I read Anne of Green Gables and dreamed of visiting Nova Scotia. Every year when my husband asked where we wanted to vacation, my vote was Nova Scotia. However, the other three family members voted Myrtle Beach. After the divorce, I never found the time and money – at the same time – to reach my dream vacation destination.

My vacation request seemed to fall on deaf ears year after year. Imagine my surprise when on my sixtieth birthday I unwrapped a gift from my daughters and found the Fodor’s Guide to Nova Scotia. Inside the guidebook was a round-trip airline ticket to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

I’ve celebrated several milestone birthdays with parties, and all were memorable, but nothing can compare to the Nova Scotia vacation. Both daughters and my three grandchildren went with me. We each marked items of interest in the Fodor’s Guide and spent time at each one. Highlights for me included our visit to the Peggy’s Cove lighthouse, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, the recreation of the Titanic’s deck complete with deck chairs and blankets for picture taking, the Swissair Flight 111 Memorial, and last, but not least, Theodore the Tugboat. I watched this PBS show many times with the grandchildren and was as surprised and excited to see Theodore bobbing in Halifax Harbor as they were.

Prince George Hotel was home during our stay in Halifax. It sits atop a steep hill overlooking the harbor. We walked everywhere we went in Halifax, up and down the hill several times each day. By the time I returned home, I’d lost ten pounds. What a beautiful way to lose weight – walking miles with water in every view.

On the flight from JFK to Halifax, we told the flight attendant about my birthday and the trip. She announced it to all the passengers. As I disembarked, several people wished me a happy birthday. I asked the Customs official to stamp my passport. He said it wasn’t necessary. I asked him to stamp it anyway. On the return flight, we watched security personnel pull my older daughter from the line and search, wand and frisk. She even had to remove the barrette at the nape of her neck. Did they really think my blue-eyed, blonde, yuppie-looking daughter was a terrorist with a bomb in her barrette? And with her mom, her sister, and three children under the age of ten in tow?

The trip’s memories, the company of my children and grandchildren, the handmade pewter pieces purchased, the heart-wrenching memorials of the Titanic and Swissair, and the beauty of water around every bend in the road all contributed to a birthday gift that keeps giving – at least as long as my memory survives. Most importantly though is that my daughters remembered my recurring vote for Nova Scotia at vacation time. Who knew children actually listened to their parents?

About this writer

  • Susan Harvey Susan Harvey is a humor writer who teaches college English. She lives in Murrells Inlet, and in her spare time enjoys cooking and reading mysteries.

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One Response to “Milestone Birthday Becomes Dream Vacation”

  1. What a fantastic family vacation story. I can only imagine the fun and memories you created.

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