Mom memory is a funny thing. We remember their first steps and first words (not for the second or third child, of course), but the summers are a messy haze of carpools, camps and sunburns.
A recent study led by the University of Edinburgh and published in the journal Nature helps us understand why we remember special moments, but not everyday activities. The research involving mice reveals how attention-grabbing experiences activate a specific area of the brain, which then releases memory-boosting chemicals. Want to make lasting memories with your kids? Do something new together. Here are a few of our favorite options.
Monique Christensen of Riverside knows all too well how quickly time can slip by in an unending schedule of after-school activities, practices, games and more practices. She recently took her youngest child, and only daughter, for a special getaway to Baha Mar in the Bahamas. This new property in the Bahamas is a perfect mother/daughter escape. The resort is actually three distinct hotels—a Grand Hyatt (with large, fabulous rooms), an SLS that debuted in spring and a brand new Rosewood that just opened earlier this summer. Guests at all three hotels have use of the seven on-property pools and the swank ESPA spa. Age requirements for spa guests vary; at Baha Mar you must be sixteen to get a treatment, or have Mom in the room. So while Olivia got her first massage, Mom watched a show on her iPhone. That’s a memory neither will forget. Rates at the Hyatt for a room with two queen beds and a balcony with ocean view start at $468
Swimming on a horse in the warm Caribbean Sea is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that’s easier than it sounds. Provo Ponies on Turks & Caicos will take you out for an unforgettable hour for just $110 per person. For $135 Pampered Ponies in Grand Cayman will unsaddle the horse for a magical mermaid-style one-and-a-half hour bareback ride.
Another resort that caters to families is Rancho Valencia in Southern California. The accommodations are separate casitas large enough to feel like private homes. Take a tennis lesson with US Open Doubles Champion Robin White or go for a spin in the Porsche Boxster that the resort loans out in four-hour increments. Driving the Pacific Coast Highway with the top down and the tunes up is a lot more fun than carpooling.
The Blackfoot River in Montana is so spectacular that entire novels and movies have been written about it. Brad Pitt makes fly-fishing look easier than it is, but with a guide from The Resort at Paws Up even a novice can hook a photo-worthy trout. Stay in one of the glamping tents that hug the riverbank; they all come with camping butlers, rustic-chic décor and heated en suite bathrooms. Making memories doesn’t need to be uncomfortable. Summer rates start at $1,450 per night and may require a minimum stay.
CLOSE TO HOME
Can’t get away for a full vacation? Do something new together in NYC. Did you know you can see the Statue of Liberty by Jet Ski? Skip the boring boat ride and cruise down the Hudson River on a two man jet ski, $195 will get you a one-hour harbor tour. Wet suits are provided if it’s chilly. Want a more relaxing option? Check out the Milk and Cookies Spa, which caters to the younger set. The spa menu reads like a dessert menu, with services like a Gummy Worm Mud Pie Treatment. Mommy & Me and Daddy & Me packages include offerings like manicures, pedicures, facials, temporary tattoo applications and haircuts.
Photographs by Alena Ozerova.