Travel

Are You Daydreaming About Summer Trips?

Mendocino Grove

Winter and I aren’t the best mix. I always arm myself with a sun lamp and a good book and a can-do attitude, but I still get draggy when the sun sets at 4:34 p.m. and the only thing you can think about when you’re outside is when you’ll come back inside. But now that I’m older and wiser, I’ve figured out a trick for getting through the cold season…

I plan trips. Even if they’re not “real trips” that we’ll “actually take,” I love the giddy anticipation of imagining rocky beaches and lime popsicles and summer adventures with the boys.

Mendocino Grove

Mendocino Grove

This weekend, I came across Mendocino Grove, a Northern California spot with canvas tents and two airstreams – plus fire pits, beaches, hikes and even a dry sauna where you can warm up on chilly days. How amazing does that look?

Mendocino Grove

Some tents have adorable IKEA bunk beds! Toby and Anton would go nuts for these.

Are you daydreaming about any summer trips? Where are you hoping to go this year? Do you prefer to visit the same beloved place or try somewhere new? We’ll probably go to England to see my grandmother… but that won’t stop me from planning a bunch of imaginary vacations all winter! :)

P.S. 10 tips for traveling with a baby and entertaining a toddler on the plane. Plus, 16 ways to travel with kids (and actually enjoy it).

(Photos of Mendocino Grove by Mimi Gibion, Jennifer Brierley and Anita Young, via Dwell.)

  1. Jane says...

    I go to Martha’s Vineyard for a week every summer with my family. I’m also hoping to meet up with my best friend in Nashville for a girls weekend!

  2. I visited Mendocino last summer. We ended up celebrating 10 years together over there. It has its own charm!! such a beautiful place.

  3. This looks heavenly! For anyone looking for an East Coast option, FireLight Camps in Ithaca, NY looks lovely. I highly recommend that area if you’re into hiking, lakes, farm markets, and touring old architecture at Cornell (the A. D. White library is exquisite!).

  4. Jeanna says...

    Ha ha. That’s my favorite past time… trip planning. I agree some never happen, but hopefully all will in future. I think planning the trip is almost as pleasurable as actual vacation

  5. Joanna!
    I live in Winnipeg, Canada where it is regularly -20 celsius (-4 in American!) or colder! When you are active and outside it is actually glorious (I know, hard sell!) Having the right layers and wind protection are essential starting points.
    Cross country skiing then warming up by the fire with red wine and cheese! My city has 10K of skating trails throughout the downtown — I have a skate commute every day!
    I even host a ‘winter run club’ for mental health. It is so so so important to still go outside get fresh air, see the world and be around people. Otherwise, it’s definitely a bluesy season. I say, if you can’t beat em – join em! Outside always feels so good.
    That said, it’s also really fun to plan vacations! (I also did a mini room makeover yesterday and freshened up my home with bright colours!)
    XO
    Lindsay

  6. reminds me of the “basket of trips” from Olive Kitteridge =)

  7. edie says...

    NYC in two weeks :)
    packing my lovely parka and reliable walking shoes.

  8. Martina says...

    This looks super, my sons would love it!
    We are looking forward to our soon coming skiing week in the Italian Alps. And to summer holiday in Spain, Costa de la Luz. It’s so beautiful there!
    Oohh, not to forget the girls trip to Dresden, tickets for a ballet in Semperoper already booked:)

  9. I’m so excited to be planning several trips this year! Visiting a friend in Germany in May and family in Idaho in July. My husband is go with the flow but I love all the details of planning.

    I also want people to know that travel doesn’t have to be super expensive! I don’t have tons of money, but I’ve learned over the past few years how to budget so that I can afford to travel. Maybe you guys could do a post on that?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      for sure! in my twenties, i actually had a list with friends about how to get the most out of a budget trip — it was before airbnb so we rented people’s apartments through craigslist! :) and traveling off-season is a huge money saver (although easier when you don’t have kids in school, of course). would love to share lots of tips from people.

  10. Hope says...

    I love to plan holidays. For me, it’s half the pleasure.
    I already have our plane tickets booked for the summer to visit family in England and a stopover in Iceland on the way back. Now I’m researching AirBnBs and things to do in Reykjavik.
    But all it took was one comment from my husband about hoping to go down the Jersey Shore again this summer and I was looking at places for a quick getaway.

  11. Courtney says...

    We just booked our summer airfare this week because I have been anticipating it so much. We are going to Cape Cod so I am staring at photos of Nantucket all day and imaging a day trip to every island off the coast, ha!

    I am a teacher and planning something for Spring Break helps a lot. This year, we are going to Cuba and we leave in exactly….four weeks and five days, but who’s counting?! (actually my students are counting. We have a literal countdown in the classroom until Spring Break because they need to imagine their break as much I do!!!!)

  12. C says...

    Yes! Always! I am glad that other people plan imaginary vacations too, I will take this as permission to indulge. That place in Mendocino looks so lovely… Currently I am fantasizing about Hawaii, Tulum, Jamaica, anywhere warm! I re-watched The Descendents just for the scenery.

    Speaking of which, any suggestions of movies set in splendid places that can help one escape without actually booking a flight?

  13. Oh man we just returned home on Saturday from a week-long Disney cruise and let’s just say the realities of traveling cross-country (and over sea) with a 2-year-old are a little too fresh to have me planning trips…although, I would like to check into a hotel by myself for a couple of days to recover from our “vacation”! ;)

  14. Amber says...

    Ugh, so jealous that you have family in England! I would love an excuse to always go there <3 My husband and I are heading to LA from Chicago for our first time this week, and we are PUMPED!

  15. Caitlin says...

    My husband and I went to Mendocino Grove this summer for 4 nights! It was so amazing- we loved it. And then when we got home we found out we are pregnant- with twins! Which makes the memory of our trip even better :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, congratulations!!!

  16. I’m doing a trip to Europe this year! Trying to keep it around 2 weeks, and debating between:

    London > Paris > Swiss Alps > Milan
    OR
    London > Amsterdam > Paris > Swiss Alps

  17. julie D says...

    Yes! I find that this is essential to survive in Montreal… I just booked our summer vacation in Maine last week, and have been reading up about the area since then! Winter is also the time when I feel motivated to start saving for “one day…” trips: currently thinking about Costa Rica for my husband’s 4oth, Hawaii for mine and French Polynesia for when we are empty-nesters… I know those might not happen but just crunching up numbers and telling me that it is possible makes me feel better…

  18. jenn says...

    oh no, you found it! I have been eyeing up this sweet place for a year or so! isn’t it the cutest thing you’ve seen? but now the cup of jo golden touch has been applied and we may never get a tent. joking. (but kind of serious :) )

  19. Jess says...

    Yes! Planning getaways, that may or may not ever happen, is my form of escapism. I left a browser open recently and my husband said, I see we’re going to Mexico this year?
    We do go to England every year as my husband is English and his entire family is there (and seeing my two young boys play with their cousins while the adults enjoy a pint at the pub is worth every penny of that plane ticket). But this year we’re flying to Rome after England and I’ve clearly gone down the rabbit hole of all things culinary to experience while there. Cannot wait!

  20. I’m a travel advisor so I am constantly day dreaming about trips! For both my clients and myself :)

    Mendocino looks so dreamy!

  21. Lisa says...

    We’ve had a bad winter in the U.K. (not snow bomb bad, but bad enough) and I am SO OVER winter. Having constantly ill babies, having to put 20 layers of clothing to go anywhere and then getting overheated as soon as you step inside, dry skin from cold air and indoor heating, chapped lips – I’m over all of it. But … in 3 days time we are flying out to Cape Town. I cannot WAIT. Even though it’s a long haul overnight flight with a toddler and baby, I’m willing to do it to get away from winter

  22. Molly says...

    My partner took me to Mendocino for my birthday a month ago–beautiful and quiet this time of year. We stayed at the Albion River Inn, which was picturesque, but your pictures of Mendocino Grove makes me want to go back already! Like Amanda, I also highly recommend the glass beach in Fort Bragg, as well as all of the amazing wineries in Anderson Valley. I’m especially fond of Pennyroyal Farms, which has a winery and organic goat cheese!

  23. Noemia says...

    Hi Joanna! Have you ever visited Portugal? I’m sure you would love it! Maybe a ‘little’ detour on your trip to England?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      portugal looks so, so beautiful! i’ve never been, but my sister went to madeira on her honeymoon and LOVED it.

  24. Whitney says...

    Mmm, I love winter. Getting bundled up and walking outside. Coming home to bake some bread and drink a cup of tea. I dream of a winter vacation… renting a cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Cold hikes, sitting by a fire in the evening. I’d also love to visit Scotland in the winter. Summer is fun, but winter gives me time to think and read.

  25. Laryssa says...

    YES!
    We just booked a cabin on Highland Lake in Maine for the end of August and I play it over in my head almost daily. Kayaking! Our girls jumping and fishing off the dock! S’mores! (Always a part of the vision: what great vacation style I’ll have, in this case nailing the ‘New England preppy” vibe perfectly. Reality? Yoga pants and tees. ;)

  26. J says...

    We start planning our trips in Dec/Jan mostly because we have to lock down on summer camps for the kids. It’s crazy to plan so far in advance but it’s also nice knowing that we have these trips coming up and not get stressed out with last minute planning. We have LA, NYC, Chicago, London, Athens, Santorini, Paris, and Sunriver all mapped out for this year. We’ll probably add some local camping trips into the mix!

  27. Melissa says...

    Living in a particularly snowy section of rural Canada, I feel you big time on this. I just planned an April excursion with one of my best friends. It’s not very far away – only about an hour from home – but it’s at an amazing A-frame cabin in the woods, next to a creek. It’ll be the perfect place to recharge and soak up springtime… a season so short, I often feel I miss it.

    • june2 says...

      Be aware of bears waking up from hibernation!!

  28. Lyn says...

    I’m just the opposite. At this time of year I want to hit the breaks and try to make winter last forever. I don’t really like summer and can’t stand spring. I can’t imagine being able to afford a summer vacation, but it sounds like fun if you have tons of money!

    • Emily L says...

      You don’t have to have tons of money to make a small getaway! I definitely don’t have a ton of money but I’ve always prioritized and budgeted for travel. Maybe there’s a town or a spot nearby you can dream about in the summer instead!

    • Laura C. says...

      I don’t enjoy a lot summertime either, Lyn. And right now I am going through a very difficult time, so this summer I hope I’ll stay at the family house in the countryside and try to get through it waiting for the Autumn to come. But I would enjoy a summer vacation at that Mendocino Grove. It seems fresh and nice.

  29. Lindsay says...

    Oh man, Mendocino is utterly magical! That was our first stop on our California road trip honeymoon back in 2005. We stayed at the Brewery Gulch Inn (which appears to have become a little more glamorous over the years than when we stayed there) and I have the fondest memories of the air, the misty cliffside scenery, the charming town and the peace and quiet.

    Wherever you stay, if you do end up visiting, you won’t be sorry. It’s a special place.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that sounds wonderful!

  30. Colleen S says...

    Summer and I don’t mix. I live in the Sacramento valley, and summers get up to 115 degrees. So if I daydream, it’s about cooler weather or being on the coast, where the temps are much more tolerable. I was raised in San Diego, so I imagine that cool beach air.

    • Pam says...

      Right here in Sac with you Colleen! Spring is already here this week, and while yay flowers and leaves, I am sad that winter is almost over. Summer is our most intense season for sure. I love our mild winters, with (hopefully) rain. I also enjoy the introspective aspect of the season, without as much travel, and more time to cozy up and read. It’s funny Joanna, I see how you pine for summer throughout the year, and here I am looking forward to lovely winters!

  31. Babs says...

    My husband teases me because I plan trips all. the. time. For myself, for us, for family, for friends – trip planning is better than board games or surfing the web. When I want to shut off the world, I deep dive into travel blogs and airplane deals. We have an upcoming 14-day trip to Switzerland and I don’t know how the actual trip will hold up to the joy of planning, honestly.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      me too!!!! we are basically the same person, babs. last night, alex was out with friends, and i had the sunday blues, and i was like, instead of reading or watching tv, i’ll make a list of cute rental houses within 3 hours of nyc, lol :)

    • Katherine Friedland says...

      Joanna – I’d love to see a post about that list! Weekend escapes make the (very long) time between big trips much more tolerable.

  32. Katie says...

    Yes yes yes to all this. I was actually scrolling old vacation posts on CofJ last week to get ideas. I am going to Mexico on Friday as an early birthday celebration and just to get a break from my first real Michigan winter. I am so looking forward to being child and snow free for a few days.

    For this summer I just booked a family trip to Macinaw Island. I’ve never been, I’m sure it will be touristy, but I think my two little ones will love it. We are going with a another family – same hotel, separate rooms. Think it’s going to be a lot of fun!

    • Taylor says...

      ^fellow Michigander here. It’s touristy but your kids will enjoy. We have 3 little ones, if your looking for other places up north, sleeping bear dunes, glen arbor are great. We like staying at the Homestead. It costs a little more, but with small kids is great. Zero entry pool on Lake Michigan with a hot tub, and pool side snacks and drinks ? ?. Have a lovely trip enjoying the beauty of northern MI :)

  33. I photographed a wedding in Mendocino and the couple and their friends and family all stayed at Mendocino Grove! They hosted a rehearsal BBQ and all got ready together for the wedding in their tents. I loved it!

    • Lindsay says...

      Do you have a website for your work? I’d love to see the pics from a wedding in such a gorgeous location :)

  34. Ella McCoy says...

    Joanna, can you share your imaginary trips? I’ve taken travel recommendations from you in the past and had a wonderful time. I’d love to see the magical places on your list.

  35. Janine says...

    Daydreaming is just about all I’m doing this year. I’m due with my first child on July 16, and all dreams of a languorous Italian vacation were replaced by dreams of newborn snuggles. I can’t complain, but I can still fantasize.

    • Kate says...

      Janine, I am due with my first on July 20th and my family is spending two weeks in Italy for a wedding in June. Uncanny how my summer plans have changed just like yours have!

    • Em says...

      I’m with you, Janine. Welcoming our 2nd baby in April..no vacation for us since I’m using all my time off for maternity leave. Here’s to dreaming about summer vacation in 2019!

    • Janine says...

      Congratulations, Kate, and good luck! Here’s to healthy babes and toasting with a Bellini in August!

    • Hita says...

      Due in April, Family gathering in Italy in June. :-) I find myself still hoping it can be done, while everyone tells me to get real!

  36. Well, one thing for sure is we have a Summer trip to France planned as my mother is organising a big party to celebrate her 60th birthday. Since my husband is Irish, it’s the occasion for us to take a day trip or two while there and visit different parts of the region I am originally from (my parents live close to the Atlantic Ocean so we often end up going to the island of Noirmoutier for a day). We also have an end of Summer (verging on post Summer) trip planned in the US afterwards where we’ll meet with our best friends and catch up with our family in Massachusetts. Thanks for the post and the sunny California images, it gives me some lovely daydreaming on this rather cold Irish Winter day.

  37. Andrea says...

    I read somewhere that you go on three trips: planning the trip, being on the actual trip and then recalling the trip. The planning part–savoring the possibilities—is so important for me!

    We’ve had a habit of planning a sunny extended weekend somewhere warm in January or February each year and it’s the thing that gets me through the cold weather. Hello Guanica, PR in 12 days!!

  38. Jodi says...

    Daydreaming of many upcoming trips, more notably to Negril, Jamaica come May as well as to Switzerland to witness a family members’ marriage! Road tripping from there in and around the region… I cannot wait!

    • Lindsay says...

      Switzerland is unbelievably beautiful, if this will be your first visit. The air literally smells sweet. I couldn’t believe a place could be so lovely. We visited interlaken, grindelwald, and neufchâtel, but that was (yikes) 15 years ago already!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “The air literally smells sweet.” = how wonderful!

  39. Monica Mulhern says...

    I just booked a trip there for a little escape in June…THANKS, Joanna!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that’s awesome, monica!!! :)

  40. Emily says...

    I actually rarely travel in the summer because I like a deal, don’t like crowds, and can take my vacation time whenever. Most of my trips are in September/October or February/March. I’m enjoying the last few years of flexibility before school schedules start to constrain!

  41. Laura says...

    The Mendocino coast is my favorite place in the world. We stay at Little River Inn, less than two miles from the Mendocino Grove campground. I think your boys would love the state parks, all of which have beaches and hiking. I love Russian Gulch State Park, the Mendocino Botanical Gardens (very kid-friendly!), and the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. There’s also the historic Skunk Train: https://www.skunktrain.com/ Really, Mendocino County should just hire me as its publicist. :-)

    • Katie says...

      Love that place! And that part of the country.

  42. Mandy says...

    Hoping this is the year for a cross-country motorcycle trip. From PA ship our bike out to Arizona, go up the CA coast, hit Portland, somewhere along the Dakotas, Chicago, and back home! PHEW!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      wow!!!!!! my brother LOVES motorcycles and will go all over the place. sounds like a dream!

  43. Jenna says...

    I love planning imaginary trips! It’s been getting me through this winter, where I am currently planning a fake trip to France (that I might make real). I live in the middle of Canada and winter is no joke. Usually we go somewhere warm for two weeks around this time but, I am pregnant and don’t want to travel (zika and health insurance!) Canadians really love their summers, and a lot of people either have campers or cabins. The cities are ghost towns during the weekends! I am not letting a new baby get in the way of a few camping trips this summer! I already have a couple sites booked at our amazing national parks.

    • Lauren says...

      This is awesome! We camped with our baby when she was a few weeks old and she had the best night’s sleep of her life (up until that point, at least) in the tent. It’s a bit more work in some ways, but so so so worth it. Congratulations!

  44. Maywyn says...

    Thank you! The photo of the tents cheers me up big time1

  45. Jennie says...

    My favorite topic! We usually take a big trip each summer. Joanna, we were in Europe last summer when you were: Lake Como, Rome, but also some other places, gone 19 days. My husband plans these trips, every detail. But this year, for a variety of reasons, we are doing a staycation. I have challenged myself to really still take at least 2 weeks off work and make sure it is actually a vacation for me (we live in Highland Park, just outside of Chicago). So this time I am doing the planning and I LOVE the distraction. We are also going to Curacao for Spring Break – can’t wait for sunshine!

  46. Rachael says...

    Haha so timely!! I was just texting my mom and sisters about whether it is a crazy idea to drive cross-country with my six kids. We are headed to Tennessee in March, Lake Placid in June, and Utah in July, but I find myself craving more vacation time than my husband can take…hence wondering if I really could do the 22-hr drive solo! I did it two years ago when I was pregnant with #6, and it was fine, but there’s a big difference now that I have a toddler again! ?

    • Maiz says...

      You’re my hero!

    • june2 says...

      Yes it is crazy and YES you should totally do it! We took road trips (only 3 kids and 5 hours, but still) to the beach for a couple weeks of seaside camping every summer and I cherish those memories now as an adult!

  47. brianna says...

    I have a trip planned to Hawaii in October, but nothing until then. Of course, we’re not exactly having winter on the west coast. I was in San Diego last week and it was nearly 90 degrees every day and it’s been nearly 70 in Reno, Nevada, where I currently live.

  48. Denise says...

    I’ve got a family vacation planned for the San Juan Islands in Washington & about 5 or 6 short tent camping trips in Oregon nearer to where I live. I agree the trick to getting through Jan & Feb is planning ahead and feeling the anticipation of all the fun to come. Now if it just wouldn’t rain for any the tent camping it’ll be the best summer ever!

  49. Vicki says...

    Last summer we took our boys (5 &9) on a cross-country trip. It was amazing to see friends and visit national parks (along with a few not so amazing long driving days that really can’t be avoided on a trip like this)
    But one of my favorite things was glamping at under canvas at Yellow Stone and Arches national park – I loved Arches because it just felt like nowhere I’d ever been because the landscape is just so different from the east coast forest that we are used to. Under canvas had all the amazing outdoor feeling of camping (star gazing, smores, just exploring outside with the boys), but had the amenities I was not willing to sacrifice on a vacation (a real bed, coffee in the main tent in the am). We are considering another shorter east coast road trip this summer and are hoping they open the smokey mountains under canvas in time! https://www.undercanvas.com/

    • Kathleen says...

      Thank you for this!! We’re taking our two kids on a Yellowstone road trip in June and I was hoping for at least one night at a glampground- This fits the bill perfectly and I just booked it. ;)

  50. Amanda says...

    Not too far north of there is Fort Bragg where you can gather sea glass.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      how wonderful!

    • Laura says...

      Yep. Glass Beach is in Fort Bragg.

    • This is just gorgeous! My girls love collecting sea glass and they would go nuts here.

  51. We’ve been watching that Netflix show Homes by the Sea and Cornwall looks so dreamy–hope you make it there!

    I do the same thing with trip planning (and vitamin D for winter blues!!) and we’re headed to the Big Island in Hawaii for some lava trekking and snorkeling soon! And since we’re trying to hit a new continent each year, we’re planning a trip to warmer climes in Patagonia, but sadly it’s not until OUR winter! :) Love this post; so timely for this Brooklyn gloom!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, what amazing trips you have planned!!

    • Denise says...

      I’ve been drooling over that show too!

    • Sandra says...

      Oooh, thanks for the tip about this show! I can’t believe I didn’t know about it. I’m watching (and daydreaming) now.

  52. Lisa says...

    I plan imaginary trips all the time! Currently, I’m daydreaming about an escape to celebrate my husband’s 40th and our 17th wedding anniversary, sans kids, of course. That said, every adventure I explore, I just want to share with my kids. So jealous of New York’s easy access to international cheap fares.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      YES! a big birthday/anniversary trip would be awesome. if you’re looking for a romantic beach-y place, i really love round hill in jamaica, fwiw! :)