As of about midday yesterday (June 21), we officially began the summer season of 2019. So, basically, what this means is that if you haven’t already scheduled an amazing summer adventure, then you’ve missed out on the best beach rentals, the hot summer shows and much of the off-peak visiting times for just about every national park.

But it seems the majority of Americans are very good at planning ahead when it comes to summer travel. According to AAA, about four in 10 U.S. adults (or 100 million Americans) are expecting to take a family trip. This is slightly more than last year, and why wouldn’t it be since the economy is still humming along and unemployment is at or near record lows.

The website is expecting even a higher percentage of Americans to hit the road for vacation and travel this summer. Its survey during the spring indicated that of 2,577 adults, 52 percent are vacationing this summer.

This means roughly half of the population will be putting a chair down on a sandy beach, lacing up the hiking boots or waiting in line at a kid-friendly amusement park, or doing whatever it is that one likes to do on vacation, at some point over the next three months. We hope you have fun and have enough time to truly enjoy the experience. (And, of course, there will be time for checking e-mail, too, for those among us who just can’t get away from work.)

To get a sense of what colleagues in the optical business have planned, we asked a few people to let us in on their summer vacation plans: Here’s what we found out:

Dennis Peek
National Optometry Product & Clinical Specialist
Essilor Instruments USA

[Dennis Peek will depart July 17 for the Lake of the Ozarks in the heart of Missouri.]

I went on Airbnb and found a house right on the lake, and it sleeps 14, I think, with its own dock right on a cove in the lake. Each of my kids is getting to bring a friend, and we are bringing the in-laws with us. It should be fun. …. My kids are 13, 20 and 26, so the only place I can take three kids who are 12 years apart is water. But because I am taking my in-laws, who are in their 80s, I can’t take them to water that’s far away. Lake of the Ozarks is a great lake, and it has everything you need. There are wineries, helicopter rides, go-carts, miniature golf, caves to explore and zip lines to do. I have a whole list of things we can do if it rains, and a whole list of things we can do if it doesn’t rain. And we rented a boat for a day.

Terri Ossi Hannah
Sr. Marketing Manager

[Terri Ossi Hannah got an early start on her summer vacation when she traveled to Italy in late May.]

I’ve wanted to visit Tuscany since I read, “Under the Tuscan Sun” by Frances Mayes in 1996 (ripped out her recipes in the back of the book that I still have!). So my husband, Alan, and I planned a “land & sea” Italian vacation this May. We flew into Florence (WOW!), then travelled to Volterra to stay in an Agriturismo (villa accommodations in a working vineyard). The Del Duca family at Podera Marcampo were amazing hosts and the history of the Etruscan civilization (700 BC) in Volterra will be forever etched in our minds.

Day trips to San Gimignano, Grave, Pisa and Siena (Must read: “Juliet” by Anne Forier, a gripping read for a different perspective of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”) kept us enthralled with Tuscany (and Chianti Classico).


Of course, since water is in my DNA, we then traveled by train to the Ligurian coast and stayed at the Hotel Villa Adriana in Monterosso overlooking the Mediterrean Sea and spent the next three days to immerse ourselves in each of the Cinque Terre seaside villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. Specifically, the town of Vernazza was most impressive with its commitment to be a plastic-free community, which personally resonated with me and Costa’s Kick Plastic initiative. The emerald-green waters, rugged cliffs, the church bell towers that were used for communication were amazing.

Overall the food, the vino, the history and the people were unsurpassed. We will never eat pasta out of a box again!

Jacob Cook
Chief of Staff
Eyecare Partners

My family and I, including my four kids, are going to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. I grew up going there and I learned to ride a bike there. We have four kids (ages 4, 6, 10 and 12), and we are trying to teach all of them to ride a bike, and we’ll do it [in Hilton Head] this summer. There are great bike paths down there, and great beaches, too. It’s just a great family location.

Hilton Head is about a 12- to 14-hour drive [from St. Louis] depending on stops, but we have a TV, iPhones and iPads [prepared for the car].

Once there, we will go to the beach, we’ll play some golf and we’ll go out to eat. The kids will do fun things down by the Harbour Town, where Gregg Russell sings, and they can climb up into the lighthouse.

I was in Hilton Head two summers ago, in a house with my family, near the beach at Sea Pines Resort and Harbour Town golf course.

Steve Diamanti
Senior Manager, Technical Marketing

[Steve Diamanti departs, somewhat reluctantly, today, June 22, for Phoenix.]

I’m going to celebrate the start of summer by going out to one of the hottest places in the United States, Phoenix, where I am from originally. And when I left there when I was 18 years old, I vowed I would never go back to [Phoenix] in the summer. And yet I have managed to go back there every year in the summer since I was 18.

But we are very lucky this year. It’s mild in Phoenix, and it’s only going to get into the low 100s. Yes, it’s a dry heat – much like an oven.

But both of my sisters are there, and my older sister has four kids who are all teenagers. My younger sister has a 2-year-old, so we are going to visit all of the kids.

We’re only staying until Tuesday, so this is just three days that I think I can handle. And then we’re heading back to beautiful California.