Summer is slipping away and pretty soon vacation will seem like a distant, hazy memory. We here at VMail Weekend thought it would be fun to see what our optical colleagues were up to this summer and of course we threw in some contributions from VMers. So in honor of August, which just happens to be American Adventures Month (celebrating vacationing in the Americas), we hope you enjoy these postcards, stretching from the Appalachian Trail to Bogota, Colombia.
Creating Forever Family Memories at Appalachian Trail Halfway Point
Bruce Scott, General Manager of Hoya Safety Division
July afforded my wife and me an opportunity to rendezvous with our son and daughter in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia for a summertime family reunion. Harper’s Ferry is considered the halfway point on the 2,181 mile long Appalachian Trail. Our son, Austin, began his six-month journey on the trail at Springer Mountain, Georgia in March and we were all looking forward to seeing each other.
After 1,000 miles of hiking, he had dropped 30 pounds and looked every bit the part of a wilderness animal. The journey for Austin is clearly a life-changing event, and I am extremely proud of both his dedication and perseverance in the face of many obstacles.
Our daughter, Sydney, was able to join us from New York City and together, we celebrated Austin’s halfway point by relishing in his trail tales, exploring the quaint town of Harper’s Ferry and stuffing Austin with decent food before he headed back into the wild. There’s nothing better than living vicariously through the incredible journeys of your children; our meetup in Harper’s Ferry created memories we will cherish forever.
Driving, and Eating, My Way Through Quebec and Ottawa
Andrew Karp, Group Editor, Lenses & Technology of Vision Monday and 20/20
I visited the Laurentian mountain region of Quebec, which was spectacularly beautiful. It's an ideal place for biking, hiking and canoeing, all of which I enjoyed doing there with my wife Debbie. There are also plenty of great restaurants, some of which specialize in regional foods such as poutine, a french fry concoction covered with cheese and gravy.
From there we went to Ottawa, which also has a fabulous food scene as well as abundant culture, including theater, live music and great museums. The National Art Museum was particularly stunning—the architecture as well the art itself.
Here we are riding Segways in Gatineau, Quebec.
Hiking Mt. Hood With Stops for Wine and Alpacas
Janelle Pauli, Marketing Manager, VisionWeb
This summer my family and I spent a few days near Mt. Hood, Oregon, just outside of Portland. We spent three days hiking different trails around the mountain and visiting various orchards, wineries, and farms—my personal favorite was an alpaca farm. The weather was absolutely perfect and provided a great escape from the Texas heat. I would absolutely recommend this area of the country for anyone’s next vacation—there was something to do for just about everyone! Here I am taking a break at Lake Trillium.
Crossing Alaska Off the ‘Visit All 50 States’ Bucket List
Janelle Routhier, OD, FAAO, Senior Director - Customer Development, Essilor of America
It’s always been on my bucket list to visit all 50 states, but what’s even more enjoyable is visiting them with the man of my dreams. This past Memorial Day, for our 9th wedding anniversary, my husband and I visited Alaska for the first time and completed our map, having visited all 50 states together.
Words cannot describe the splendor of Alaska. From the “white nights,” where it never fully get’s dark to the beautiful blue of the glacier ice, you can’t imagine what it’s like until you’ve been there. We did multiple hikes including to the top of Mt. Healy (pictured here), enjoyed a water excursion in Seward, witnessing all sorts of amazing wildlife, viewed the majesty of Denali, worked out on the beach in Homer and ate fresh seafood to our heart’s content.
We didn’t opt for a cruise or train experience, just the two of us in a car, hopping around from place to place with the flexibility to do whatever suited our mood. The Alaskan people welcomed us with open arms, so appreciative of the fact we came all the way to visit their beautiful state and jokingly questioned why we had saved it for last. We would retort, that it’s the last frontier and not all that easy to get to and they would nod their heads in agreement.
Would I go back? Absolutely, and I hope it happens sooner rather than later.
Running on Island Time
Jamie Wilson, Associate Editor, Vision Monday
This summer I went back to Jamaica for the first time in 10 years. My parents were born and raised there, so when I was younger we would periodically make trips back. This time around, I flew down and met up with my mom. We started on the North Coast of the island in Saint James and drove across, stopping on the South Coast in Saint Elizabeth before making our way to Kingston.
I enjoyed getting to see so much of the island as we took routes along the coast, through country areas and up and down narrow, winding mountain roads. It was a great experience seeing so many of the places that often came up in my mom’s stories about life before immigrating to the U.S. as well as connecting with my heritage.
A big bonus for me was getting to celebrate both Emancipation Day and Jamaica’s 55th independence on the island with my family.
But it wouldn’t be a trip to Jamaica if I didn’t mention indulging in all of my favorite foods and some of the world’s best rum! Here I am posing with Jamaican flag decorations that were put up to celebrate Emancipation Day and Jamaica’s 55th Independence.
A ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ Getaway
Laurel O'Connor, Marketing and Communications Manager, Think About Your Eyes
This summer I went to Florida for a girls’ weekend and my main goal was to enjoy as much beach time as possible (while wearing sunglasses to protect our eyes from the sun’s rays, of course!).
I spent most of my time reapplying SPF 70 sunblock and sitting under the umbrella (fair skin problems) while searching for the best sweet tea in town. While I love an action-packed itinerary, there’s nothing like slowing down and spending time with friends and really recharging for a few days.
Returning Home to Bogota With a Stop in La Calera
Raquel Briceno, Marketing Intern, Jobson Optical Group
Two weeks ago, I went back to Colombia for my cousin’s wedding –which was beautiful, by the way. A few days prior to the wedding, I decided to take a break from all the wedding planning by going to one of my favorite places in Bogotá called La Calera.
Founded in 1772 and named after the limestone mine nearby, La Calera is a little town located in a mountain top, approximately 18 kilometers from Bogota, where you can overlook the whole city while enjoying the best food you can get. Bogota natives and tourists come here every weekend to enjoy the view, while drinking Canelazo, a typical cocktail made out of cinnamon and panela.
We enjoyed an amazing dinner in La Calera and then we were able to walk through the sightseeing area, which overlooks Bogota. What I love most about La Calera is that I am able to see Bogota, my home, and its 8 million residents hugged by the Andean mountain range as the sun sets and the city lights begin to glisten. Overall it was a perfect night ending an unforgettable weekend.
A Different Kind of ‘Mirage’ in the California Desert
Nicolas Roseillier, Creative Director, De Rigo REM
Every summer, we take our boys to Palm Springs/Joshua Tree which is one of our favorite vacation escapes away from the city. As usual, this trip was packed with lots of pool time, hikes in the desert with our dog Coco, visits to our favorite local restaurants and shops as well as tons of photos, captured by my talented wife Marissa.
One of the best moments of the trip was visiting Doug Aitken’s “Mirage” mirrored house (of the Desert X Art Exhibition) which is an incredible architectural installation that sits in the mountains overlooking Coachella Valley. We really lucked out because it was actually closed when we arrived but the guard let us have the whole place to ourselves to explore and catch the sunset.
The First of Many Trips to Washington, D.C.
Sydney Scott, Contributing Editor, Vision Monday
This summer, I took my first-ever trip to Washington, D.C. to visit a good friend of mine over a long weekend. Like the shameless tourist I am, I dragged my friend to all of the must-see attractions; the National Mall, all of the monuments, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the Museum of Natural History.
As luck would have it, I was in town the same weekend as the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival and a fun beer festival that was promoting local breweries. My friend and I also had a fantastic time wandering around historic Georgetown and kayaking along the Potomac.