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Don’t overlook joys of home

As I type this, I am riding through the peaceful setting of Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains. We’re here for the week with my husband’s family, and we have all kinds of fun and relaxation planned.

There’s nothing quite like vacation.

And, yet, as we coast along, the trees meeting above our to form a dense canopy above us, I can’t help but laugh a little at myself.

Because what have I admired so far about this morning’s drive?

The sweet quiet, perturbed only by the sounds of nature and low humming of car engines at 10 miles per hour.

The cool breeze sliding in one window and out the other.

The magnificent trees, standing tall through ages of time.

The sky. The meadows. The water bubbling down the rocky creekbed alongside our path.

And what’s the funny part?

We have all of these things at home.

It’s true that Cades Cove has a splendor all its own, and its true that anything you enjoy on vacation is going to bring a special pleasure, but do we overlook the opportunity to embrace the same or very similar pleasures we have right in our own backyards?

Last night was the most fun I’ve had in a while, just sitting around the table playing cards with Christopher and his grandparents.

Well, his grandparents live next door, and we could do that anytime. We don’t have to drive four hours away and spend a week in a mountain cabin to make game night memories.

And if I want to for a drive along tree-lined backroads or see a flowing stream or soak in the peace of the outdoors, away from the city – well, there’s almost countless places to do that in sweet home Alabama.

This isn’t to knock vacation. We all need to get away now and then, and being able to cast off our usual routine can be so restorative.

And there are some vacations we certainly can’t enjoy at home. Franklin County will never be able to replicate, for example, the experience of an Alaskan cruise, or viewing the Eiffel Tower, or touring the Bible lands.

But if you enjoy the simple things of vacation – a slow cup of coffee on the porch, a meal at a restaurant with loved ones or a quiet drive down a wooded road – you don’t have to save up for a big getaway.

Let’s not overlook the joys of home.