Uniting the Clan
6/1/2000
A 9-step recipe for combining family reunions and family vacations — and keeping your sanity.
It was the age range that almost did us in. For the fifth year in a row, my husband and I were planning an extended-family holiday. But through marriage, mating and the passage of time, our British (his) and American (mine) combined family of Baxters and Slades was 19 strong, ranging from 8- and 10-week-old cousins and adolescent nieces to Granddad, my father-in-law, age 80.

“You're not alone,” said Andrew Norman, with classic British understatement. “Your numbers and ages may, er, present a bit of a challenge.” (A bit?) “But lots of intergenerational families are currently taking holidays together. And with the proper arrangements, they do rather well.”

Ah, yes, arrangements. Norman was familiar with those. When we met up with him, he was the director of Portledge Estate, a collection of seven rental cottages on 1,900 acres on England's North Devon coast. “Children-of-Merlin” is what we christened his staff after they conjured up 25 bath towels and a second hair dryer (remember the nieces?) within minutes of our arrival.