Nathan Ryan Reeves

The Birthplace of the American Vacation


Vacation is a fun time to spend away from the stresses of everyday life and is a period of time where all your stresses can drift away into the wind, revitalizing your soul in the peacefulness of the contrasting environment. Tony Perrottet wrote an article on the life of William H. H. Murray, who was an influential writer by expanding the idea of travel to the rest of America. Murray, a Connecticut native, published a guidebook that made an impact on city folk, romanticizing the landscapes in Upstate NY.

Steven Engelhart, who was inspired by Murray, explains the Adirondacks is an estate of revitalization saying,

“… that’s equally, if not more, beautiful as an idea than if it had always been wild. It shows how we’ve changed as people. We agree that wilderness is not something to be exploited, but something to be valued.”

Simply put that the attraction for the beautiful streams and magnificent peaks came from the idea of romanticizing the effect of nature on one’s soul. Murray was revered as being an influencer on the future attraction his books gave to the area.

The contrasting nature of the Adirondacks to the bustling cities was what made the place so loved and intriguing. Before Murray died, he wrote,

“God made them and made them stand for what money cannot buy”.

Due to his advocacy for the parks in the area, he was emphasizing the importance of what the mountains hold, but what they are meant for in the future, to bring a soulful experience to the traveler.

This experience of revitalization can be replicated in other places of attraction. In the second reading, there’s this other side to appreciation in the beauty of the environment, but in a different and contrasting way to what Murray advocated for.

“…our desire for the tranquility and beauty of the ocean shore is now so commonplace that it feels eternal.  Justification for the common middle-class family beach trip, when it is given at all, centers on the calming effect, and the “obvious” beauty, of the environment.”

This is what the author explains as an eternal feeling, like the one that Murray had described in his infatuation with the wilderness. The similarities point to saying that all you need is a place to have time alone away from the everyday hustle and bustle stresses that come with modern life. A time to disconnect can be a time of salvation and the conservation of the soul.

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