A Donut Vacation

mountain, valley, Pixabay, vacation, VermontI remember the trip to the mountain more than the mountain itself. 

Once a year, my brother and I are awakened at the ungodly hour of 5 a.m. We stumble in the back seat of the 4-door Pontiac with pillows and blanket and sleep off and on for the next two and a half hours. But I only doze. The excitement of what is ahead is too stimulating for sleep.

And yes, finally! My dad, driver of our annual camp-in-the-mountains adventure, stops at a place we never go any other day of the year. A place that sells — donuts.

This is a time before Dunkin’ Donuts or Honey Dew or any coffee/breakfast chain. This is a dive – yes, we drive to the donut dive – in which our parents never let Chuck or me enter. I never question why. I just wipe the sleep from my eyes and wait with great anticipation. donuts, vacation, mountains, Pixabay

Dad sinks back down in the driver’s seat with a pack of cigarettes for him (cheaper here, he claims) and four donuts: one for each of us. Glazed. Chocolate. Sugared. Fresh. More delicious than paradise.

We have at least five more hours to our destination – a beautiful mountainous campground in the middle of nowhere-Vermont.

But I don’t care. I bite daintily into my sugary fluffy donut.

Carefully.

Five minutes later, I take my second bite.

A half hour later, I slowly lick the last of the sugar from my fingers. 

And smile.

Best. Vacation. Yet.

donuts, donut heaven, vacation, mountains

WHAT’S YOUR BEST CHILDHOOD VACATION MEMORY?

 

149 thoughts on “A Donut Vacation

    • Bernadette – YES! My first creme de mint parfait was when I was 12 and the entire family drove to Niagra Falls. We dined at a “fancy” restaurant (in my mind) and I fell in love with that parfait. You and I have such a similar experience. Plus, you show us how special grandparent time can be.

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  1. What a “sweet” memory, Pam. I have fond memories of visiting my Mamaw in West Virginia. Upon our arrival she’d always have a homemade German Chocolate Cake waiting for us. To this day, I’ve never tasted one better than hers. xo

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    • That sounds sooooo good, Jill. And reaffirms for me why it’s important that I make homemade cookies for my Grands. 🙂 Must have been a beautiful ride to West Virginia, but as kids, what’s more important is the treat waiting for us. ❤

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  2. NOW I need to go get some donuts!! As the oldest of five, there was no annual vacation for all. Luckily I headed off for a month at Girl Scout camp for four summers!

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  3. How could you not remember such a wonderful memory? And however did you manage to stretch out eating that treat for an hour? It’s funny, we would go up to my grandmother’s for many weekends a year (a mere two-hour drive) but when Mom was feeling in the mood, she’d stop at Thompson’s, just before the bridge that started in Ontario and ended in Quebec and buy us a bag of chips with an orange Crush. The youngest sister would eat slowly, then squish the bottom part so there “were more”, the middle sister, gobble hers down in no time flat, then bug the youngest for more of hers! I probably ate mine at a good pace as well. They were the best-tasting chips ever.

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    • GREAT memory, Dale, and a great way to figure out each sister’s personality — by the way she ate/savored/or devoured her chips. Ha. Your youngest sister who squished them so there would be more – wow, industrious! For me, having a donut was such a rare occurrence that I just didn’t want it to end. Cheers to our memories, where food never tasted better – because we were kids creating those memories. ❤

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  4. Oooh, I enjoyed that donut with you. Surprisingly, my Dad did the same -we always stopped at a Dunkin Donut (so ubiquitous in New England) but we were not allowed to go in. He knew what we liked. Such fun memories!

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  5. What a great memory, Pam. That’s what vacations are all about, right? Making memories and doing the things we don’t do during the rest of the year.

    I think my favorite memory is visiting my great-grandparents in Tampa, FL, with my parents. Thanks for prodding me to take the time this morning to remember some cherished times. xo

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  6. Such a fun, sweet memory, Pam.
    We have special donuts we always buy to eat on Hanukkah. They’re not special Hanukkah donuts, that’s just the only time we get them.
    From my view as a parent, rather than child, when we used to take our kids to Ocean City, NJ every summer, every night, we’d stop at the same soft ice cream stand and get our kids ice cream cones–with sprinkles. 😊

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  7. Best childhood vacation memory…the annual family trip to Rehoboth Beach DE. We always went in July, where an escape to a slightly cooler environment with a large body of adjacent water was truly welcome relief. Mini-golf, soft serve ice cream. Awesome.

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    • Awesome indeed. I lived in DE for about six years, and Rehoboth is definitely a special place for Delawareans. As a child my parents took us to the south Jersey beach (since we lived in NJ at the time). Wherever – can’t beat soft serve ice cream and mini-golf. And body surfing too of course. 🙂

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  8. I’ve never heard of a Donut Dive before. I wanna do a deep donut dive of discovery on this topic.

    On another note, is this a work of fiction, or do you actually have a bottomless well of self control that allows you the ability to take half an hour to eat a single donut?

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  9. What a lovely post, Pam. It’s great how the simplest little things can create such special memories. It brought back similar memories for me… trips to Vermont in the back seat with our pillows and blankets, the parents smoking (ugh), and the sense of excitement. When we arrived at our cabin, the first thing we kids did was jump in the lake, fully clothed. Lol. Year after year. Thanks for sharing your donut… now I want one. 🙂

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  10. How fun Pam! A donut would last me about 5 seconds! My best memories are driving down to Jeckyl Island in Georgia for beach vacations. It was a lightly developed private island with many sand dollars and other treasures to find along the beach.

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  11. Beautiful, Pam. This brought back memories of opening day trout season in NJ when I was very young. My Dad took me out to a diner for eggs and hash browns on the way to the river. We never went out for breakfast except on opening day

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    • I love that my child vacation memory triggered your fishy memory, Bob. (Hey, had to put in a pun there, just for the halibut). 🙂 Diner eggs and hash browns are the best – particularly when it only happens on special occasions.

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  12. I just love this. Growing up, almost everything we ate, we produced on the farm. Mom baked bread, cakes, cookies etc. So a real treat was bought cookies. One day dad took a load of wheat to town and got much more for it than he thought he would, so he bought each of us a package of chocolate cream puffs. Heaven! My two brothers ate theirs that day and had stomach aches!. I, like you, savoured those precious balls of dark chocolate-covered marshmallows with a cookie bottom. My package lasted a week. A great memory.

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    • I laughed (and cringed a bit) that “bought cookies” were the treat. What a difference now, when so few parents have time to make home-baked treats. I can TASTE those chocolate cream puffs. Another example, Darlene, that those of us who didn’t have much appreciated the treats we got SO much more than the many kids now that are given everything.

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  13. Hi Pam, what a lovely memory. I don’t believe I’ve ever eaten a doughnut in my whole life. I’ve never eaten McDonald’s either. My favourite memory is getting a rag doll for Christmas when I was about 8 years old. I still have her.

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    • So sweet. I can visualize that special rag doll, Robbie. I got one for Christmas as well, about the same age as you were. Loved that doll, and wish I still had her. You’re lucky. And you haven’t missed anything by not getting a McDonald’s burger. But never having a donut? Ummm, I think that’s something you should put on your bucket list. 🙂

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    • There’s something about driving in a car with family that brings on good memories of so many, Patricia. Particularly if those drives lead to food, expressively, sweets. 🙂 I used to love rainbow sherbet but haven’t seen it around in a long time. I wonder if there is still such a thing?

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  14. Any destination with donuts somewhere in there is a great trip! How does one eat a fantastic donut taking so long?–this is either super self control or else “sibling torture!” “Discovery”, a coffee haven a block from me, carries Yonni’s, the best donuts in the City. . .AND that takes great self-control not to step daily through the Discovery’s door . . . . 🙂

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    • See? You have self-control also, if you don’t get a donut-a-day at Yonni’s. I’m glad I don’t have that temptation nearby. We have a Dunkin’ Donuts not far away, but I never stop there. I liked the Donut Dive., but I’m sure as a kid I hyped it up more than I would now.
      Yes, I think you’re right, sibling torture may have gone along with me taking such a looooonnnggg time to finish that donut. 🙂

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  15. What a fun memory! Did you ever find out more about the donut dive?

    I remember waking up in the far back of the station wagon, still in my pajamas. That was my nest, before car seats and seat belts. Our special treats came from Stuckey’s, a chain of shops with gasoline and a little sandwich shop and ice cream – my favorite choice. My mom got a pecan roll which is overly sweet nougat in a hotdog shape with pecans embedded on the outside. That thing would be sliced into thin strips and last the rest of the trip up to Michigan. I remember it being something of a game, watching for the Stuckey’s red roof and begging dad to stop.

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    • YES, I used to sit way back in our station wagon too, with a book. But my parents always had to stop because I got so motion sick. Then they ‘made’ me just sit in the regular back seat. And Stuckey’s! We had none near where we lived, but on one looonnnggg trip from NJ to FL, we discovered Stuckeys and I begged every time we passed one to STOP there, please! 🙂 Fun to read how you and I had similar experiences. My grandkids can’t believe my parents drove me to places without a seat belt. Oh, how times have changed.

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      • My brothers were older and larger than me. Other than sitting three across, I had to sit in the way back. There was no seat back there, just suitcases, coolers and me. Amazing that we had such similar experiences. We went to NJ every other year, though I think sometimes via Michigan. My other grandparents lived in Teaneck. So you went to Stuckey’s, how about NIckerson Farms? It was more of a restaurant than Stuckey’s so we didn’t go there as often, but they had a window to a working beehive in the lobby area that fascinated me. That’s also where I was introduced to ranch dressing, lol.

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        • No, never heard of NIckerson Farms. But my parents were “drive until you drop” kind of vacationers, so the only way we got to even stop at Stuckeys was when my brother and I swore we’d pee in our pants if they didn’t STOP NOW!! :-_)

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  16. I really enjoyed this. For me, it’s not that unique, but I used to love the chocolate butternut donuts at Dunkin Donuts back in the day when they focused more on donuts than coffee. What a treat. It was so delicious. These days I have celiac, so no more donuts unless gluten free. 🍩

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  17. Nothing reminds me of our family camping trips more than root beer floats. First thing after we got our tent set up, we would walk over to the campground’s store/cafe and each order one. My husband and I drove through Yosemite a few years ago and I had to stop for a root beer float. It brought back wonderful memories.

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    • Yummm, root beer floats! We used to drive our kids to Yosemite every fall and stayed in the Camp Curry (very rustic) cabin, but sadly, never found your root beer float store/cafe. Hmmm, wish I’d known about it – my guy and I just visited Yosemite this past fall. No camping this time, and the Ahwahnee had no root beer floats. 🙂 Must try again.

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  18. I think you’ve hit on the critical elements of the experience. When it only happens once a year, we’re more likely to be observant and savor each moment. The actual event becomes less important when we know it can also happen tomorrow.

    I had a flashback to going out on an annual bird count with my dad. I have an appreciation for nature, but Dad was obsessed. What made it special was it was something we shared once a year at the crack of dawn. Riding in the car when it was still dark and sipping some hot broth on a cold spring day made it all the more special.

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    • You write of your time with your dad, as a kid, birdwatching so lovingly and with such sweetness, Peter. THIS Is what it’s all about – parenting, teaching, spending precious time with our children. Thanks for sharing your memory. Now I’m off to read more about you in Sally’s post. 🙂

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  19. Oh, Pam, you are made of better stuff than I. That donut would be gone if I’d had one. I was always an addict to sugary things when I could get them. We didn’t vacation, we transferred. Not fun in any stretch of the word. But I do remember twice being left with my Oma and Opa for a week and managed enjoy myself though things were still quite sparse. My Oma made a treat of egg white whipped with a little bit of suger. I loved it. They had children’s books for me to read as well.

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    • Your memories of your grandparents are why grandparents get special wings in heaven. ❤ The treat of "egg white whipped with sugar" sounds like what I make for the grandkids – called "Forgotten Cookies." (After whipping the egg whites and adding sugar – and some chocolate chips – they're dolloped and put in the oven to "forget" about for 12 hours). And the fact that your Oma and Opa had children's books for you – priceless and worth any vacation.

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  20. Reading the comments, it’s clear that many favorite memories are food-centric! Mine too.

    Peppermint Stick Ice Cream at HoJo’s; Italian Ice at riverfront concerts in Red Bank; picnics “on the hill” in Vermont; my grandmother’s home-baked cookies (pilfered from the pantry); sipping a Shirley Temple during the adults’ Happy Hour; “sugar on snow” at the first snowfall; shared quarts of fried clams at the Clam Hut in Kennebunkport ~> YUM!

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    • Seriously – the HoJo’s peppermint ice cream sundae (with hot fudge) was my favorite bar none. I’m ashamed to admit this continued throughout college, where a HoJo’s was near the campus. I love reading all of your childhood food memories. Yes, we kids loved our food! 🙂 And now my grandkids are thrilled when they can order a “Shirley Temple,” even though they have no idea who Shirley Temple is.

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  21. I am wondering if anyone else in your car nibbled their donuts in ecstasy for so long. Or was it just you? I am thinking of my worst vacation memory. It involved throwing up almost every morning before driving off in our station wagon. Sorry, Pam. This was probably not an appropriate memory in the middle of such a lovely donut post.

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    • I was the only one who ate her donut slowly savoring, savoring, savoring. My brother ate his so fast he forgot he had a donut five minutes later. 🙂
      Unfortunately, I have the same memories of being car sick every single vacation. But not before we drove off (I wonder, were you nervous?). Mine happened an hour in. Ugh.

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      • I don’t remember being nervous–but who knows? Maybe the nervous system was just unsettled about the whole traveling thing even though I loved traveling? Can’t remember exactly when it happened–right away or a bit later. Sorry to hear you were sick too.

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  22. It really is the simple things that make life worth living. When I was a child, there was a donut shop by my grandparent’s house that sold the BEST donuts, and even when I was older and visited my grandparents, I made a point of going to the shop to buy some. All these years later, that shop has closed, BUT it’s sister shop is still open a few blocks away. And I still stop by there regularly, to get a piece of my childhood…….

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  23. Your dad takes you there only once a year. Super anticipation. And you cleverly and with great self-control make the donut last as long as you can. No wonder it tasted so good. Plus, it became a tradition. Traditions always makes the event better.

    I can’t compete with your donut story. I have lots of lovely childhood memories, but nothing in particular stand out. Camping was fun. We always went with a couple other families with kids, and the kids went off exploring the area while the moms cooked over the campfire and the put up the tents and sat around talking. Then there were all the memories of staying with my grandparents. Our grandma always had so many wonderful things for us to do.

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    • Camping itself was fun but even at 10 I wasn’t into the bugs… and dirt. Your experience sounds great. I wasn’t able to stay with grandparents when I was young so I love building memories with my own grandkids now. You give me hope that they will have great memories many years after I am gone.

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  24. Interesting enough… one of my favorite childhood memories involves snow. As much as I despise the stuff nowadays, I remember anticipating snow days with bated breath as we waited for our county to scroll across the bottom of the screen along with the report of how many inches we world get. Then we would watch it fall praying for enough to go sledding. We would bundle up in long johns, sweaters, 3 pairs of socks, coats and scarfs and go to the big hills at the country club and sled down that hill laughing and giggling until we were worn out. We warmed our hands over the big bond fires as we drank hot chocolate from a thermos. Fun memories…. ❄️⛄️🛷

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  25. Isn’t that great? Simple pleasures when today every child is presented with everything they could wish for, all the time. Reminds me of 60 years ago when, as a city child, I’d stay for weeks on end with relatives in the west of Ireland. Things like a trip to the well or leading a donkey down a lane were priceless.

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  26. Pam, I love your sentence more delicious than paradise. I do not eat donuts often but when I do they must be very fresh and have jam inside. Best childhood memory? There are so many but one that is sticking out right now is with my friend, Lucie, riding our bikes to the local swimming pool and on the way home stopping by this store that sold penny candy. We stood for so long trying to decide how to spend our Nickle. I often bought these small bags of chips, which were really only crumbs!

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  27. Oh, boy – can I relate! That jammed in the car at 5 a.m.! In summer, we were off to the shore, sometimes in Jersey or sometimes the ones Beach West End in LI. All so we could leave when the beach got crowded around 2. Or … in the winter? Up to Bear Mountain for the first session of ice skating. Thanks for stirring up those wonderful memories!!

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  28. Wonderful childhood memories. Eating a doughnut so slowly and carefully for a child is impressive indeed.
    That is one thing I remember from my visit to the States – all those doughnuts – the biggest variety I have ever seen

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  29. A beautiful road trip to Jaipur, the pink city is one of my favourite childhood vacation memories. The comfy bed in a hotel that we owned and a delicious breakfast made up my day:) Pam, those donuts look yummy! I bet you didn’t finish them all in one bite did u? 😅

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  30. Wow…. That must be a record for the longest time to eat a donut lol… You certainly savoured every morsel and sugary bite..
    We hold some great memories of our childhood holidays, even though mine were few and far between..

    My eating memories on holiday were of going to the coast, and eating shell fish and prawns, for the first time… I remember being scared of these tiny pink prawns no bigger than your thumb, with black dot eyes with numerous legs and spidery things lol… Until my Dad showed me how to de-leg them peel off the shell and and eat them. 🙂
    Thanks for evoking that memory Pam. Lots more good ones flooded in with it… ❤ ❤ ❤

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  31. My favorite memories are of traveling and having chocolate 🥰 in doing both right now actually! A trip to glacier National park & Yellowstone. 31 hours of driving one way! Loved your descriptions and the little story 🥰

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  32. Pingback: A Donut Vacation – Jesús M Solís M

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