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How I Spent My Summer

I had an incredible summer.  It passed by so quickly and I’m sad to see it come to a close.

As someone who gets to travel for a living, having done so for the past 14 years, I’m often embarrassed at the places I haven’t been.  Take Yellowstone for instance. I’ve been to Cambodia, Uruguay and Taiwan but not Yellowstone, the granddaddy of all our nation’s national parks. A place so overwhelming in size and beauty that yes, I just compared it to entire countries.

This summer changed all that.  I was shooting for Travel Channel in Yellowstone (it’s a pilot, can’t talk about it or I’ll jinx it) and because of logistics and red tape, we actually couldn’t shoot in Yellowstone National Park.  So close and yet so far.  But on the last day something miraculous happened…we finished way ahead of schedule. And so my intrepid stylist Christina and I borrowed one of the production SUVs and drove through the gates.

“We only have two hours, what direction should we go?”  I asked the gate attendant.  You could easily spend a month in Yellowstone and only scratch the surface.  We had two hours.  From the beginning I thought we were going to see some towering trees and maybe a jagged mountain range in the distance.  It was going to be a nice drive through some pretty territory after which I would now be able to say I had been to Yellowstone.  Lucky us! Within 10 minutes we saw a bald eagle perched right by its nest.  Not more than 10 minutes after that, we saw a buffalo grazing on the side of the road.  A BUFFALO!  We passed by ghost forests, walked through geyser mist and listened to the bubbling of mud pots.  We took our photos, ducked out of other people’s photos and basically shared in the glee of everyone, who like us, was totally in love with the place.  My favorite part of that small two-hour window was kicking off our shoes and wading barefoot in the Madison River.  The sky was the purest of blues and the only sound you could hear was water rushing by and the nearly silent cast of a fly fisherman.  Our two hours done, we were sad to leave.

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My next trip for the Travel Channel had me in South Dakota.  We shot at Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and the surprisingly quaint town of Deadwood.  We met vacationers of all types: multi-generational families, men on motorcycle trips, ladies getting together with their best of high school friends–all celebrating the respite that the summer provides.

Then came August. It was my turn to be with my family. The twins are 7-month old giggling, crawling, happy babies. Kevin and I are lucky to have a small farmhouse upstate we escape to where the days are totally relaxed spent cooking, sweeping the front porch, and contemplating how big we should let the wasp nest grow before we do something about it.   We ended our time upstate by heading to the county fair where we enjoyed looking at sleeping blue ribbon pigs and learning about cows.  Did you know a cow secretes up to 25 gallons of saliva each day? We unfortunately had to pass on the 4H milkshake stand since its line stretched over 200 people long.  We found out later that the milk in the very popular milkshakes is fresh from cows at the fair.  Duly noted!  Next year when we come to the fair it will be our first stop.

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Yep, just like the end of every summer we’re making plans for the next.

How did you spend your summer?

Read more:

3 River Cruises for Fall Foliage

Admiring Amsterdam

9 Mistakes to Avoid When Traveling With Kids

Fun and Practical Travel Gear for Kids

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Twin are beautiful. We went to 2 NYS county fairs this summer, Ulster and Washington County.(I live in Ulster County and and grew up in Washington County). I love going, seeing the fair through my twin boys and 5 year old daughter’s eyes. Can’t wait to see the South Dakota show. I did the same three attractions. It was amazing.

  2. Samantha,

    I’ve loved your show (and you) for years – I’m 21 and have watched your show on the Travel Channel with my mom since I was in my early teens. I recently studied abroad in London, and bought your England, Scotland and Wales DVD to study up before I left! Your passion and love for travel is an inspiration for me, especially having a family back at home! Everywhere you go, you smile over everything, make friends with everyone, and roll with the punches, even if things don’t always go exactly as planned. I hope one day my travels and future family vacations are as fun-loving and carefree as yours are! I just wanted to let you know all this, and also to say congratulations to you and Kevin on your BEAUTIFUL twins. They are perfect. I hope to see more of you on Travel Channel soon, I miss your show so much!

    Thanks again! 🙂

    Kelcey

  3. We spent 2 incredible weeks in touring Yellowstone, Devil’s Tower, Little Bighorn National Monument, Deadwood, Custer, Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore (where we were fortunate enough to meet you). It was unanimously our best family vacation ever!

  4. Beautiful babies!! We flew to California and rode bikes on the beach between Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach. Went to DisneyLand. Ate lunch in Malibu right on the water. Visited the Reagan Library. Drove to San Diego and stayed at Coronado Beach. Finished by playing golf at Torrey Pines. Perfect vacation!

  5. Hi Samantha. Your twins are absolutely adorable! What fun they must be. I have a 6 m old gdaughter…my youngest. I spent a week in WDW with my two oldest gkids this summer. Haven’t been there with them in a few years. What a blast we had!

  6. Samantha…oh how I have missed seeing you and your shows, looking forward to whatever show you will be on! Upstate New York is on my bucket list of places to see, you are so fortunate to be able to have a home there! Your babies are gorgeous, just like their parents!! See you soon, hopefully, Love Pam

  7. Twins are adorable and I raised boy and girl twins too! My daughter just gave us a grandson, who is 6 months old . I am watching him full time and loving it. Can’t wait for new “Samantha” shows!

  8. Darling twins! I had my son first, daughter 2nd, & was surprised that the gender differences were so innate & not more learned as I’d figured. I bet u can see that. It’s so obvious how feminine ur daughter is & ur son looks male. Downstate’s definition of upstate is different than those of us UPstate. We did the Erie Co Fair, my fav, & the state fair. A new show? Hoorah! Hoping it’s ALL ur show! Be well! Blessings from UPPstate!

  9. Hi Samantha!

    You look great! And Ellis and Elizabeth have grown so much!!! So cute too. I know you are proud of them. =) Look forward to you new shows this season. I got to visit friends in California for two weeks, the Bay Area, and then another friend in Maryland for ten days. So the summer was good! But it does fly by the older we get. Take care and keep posting pics of those precious babies!!

  10. I spent my summer studying abroad in Dresden, Germany. It was so amazing! Dresden is a gorgeous city and a nice home base for traveling around. I spent a couple weeks in Berlin and Prague and visited a handful of other German (and Polish!) cities. My mum and I use your shows to help us when we travel, especially the UK episodes. Your London tips were great! Can’t wait to see what other adventures you have had!

  11. The children are beautiful! You have so much to look forward to!! Re: summer ending, I live in south Florida where it is ALWAYS warm and perpetual paradise, so I don’t ever think of summer ending as most of the country does when Labor Day comes around. Florida is so varied, you truly could travel to different parts of the state and enjoy vacation after vacation and find something new each time. Come visit us!!!

  12. I too was at Mt Rushmore and met you while on our multigenerational trip with two of our grandchildren. What a wonderful trip we had to South Dakota and it was so much fun meeting you. I am so happy that your show will be back on TV.

  13. Hi Samantha:
    The children are adorable!
    Can’t wait for your shows. We have lived in Italy, England, Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela internationally; California, Connecticul, New York, Florida and North Carolina in the USA. We appreciate and feel your love of travel. Welcome back!

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