Summertime is here! Road trip! Nothing says summertime like an extended vacation in the family car. Visiting friends, family, favorite destinations or in search of a new and exciting location … the long days of summer are meant for road trips. With the lower cost of gas, more people than ever before will be hitting the road for their summer holiday. According to Skift.com,  drivers will take both long, cross-country excursions and shorter, close-to-home weekend escapes. Either way, the road trip is trending strong.

Looking back over the years, I have so many fabulous memories of car-based vacations. The trip to Kansas with my parents was amazing. Imagine four kids under the age of 10 and a dog all crammed in a station wagon (without air conditioning) for a trip across the country. Fast-forward many years, and I still swoon as I dream of the next road trip. Much easier now, it is just my darling husband David and me.

Driving through Iowa one summer, we searched out the state flower, the wild prairie rose.  It took very little “searching.” Designated the state flower in 1897, you can find this gorgeous rosebush everywhere. To this day, a bowl of beautiful roses on my desk takes me back to the trip across Iowa and food memories of the most fabulous corn fritters I have ever tasted.

Roses-David-Kesler,-Floral-Design-Institute,-Inc

Heading south through Washington, Oregon and California, David teased me with, “Wait until you see this!” for days. (OK, maybe it was hours.) He was right. As beautiful as the trip south had been, nothing compared to the first sight of the The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch in California. As far as the eye could see, ribbons of ranunculus bloomed. Red, yellow, pink, white, orange … oh, wow! If you have not seen these, add this trip to your bucket list now. We stopped, photographed, and purchased bundles to take back to the hotel with us. Nested in a vase, it’s like a floral fireworks explosion.

Ranunculus David Kesler, Floral Design Institute, Inc., in Portland, Oregon

On a trip eastward to Nebraska for a family visit, we were greeted with vast fields of sunflowers nodding their heads with a sunny “hello.” They brightened the long drive. The happy face of a sunflower can brighten anything. Tuck the happy bloom into an arrangement and watch for the smiles to appear.

Sunflowers-David-Kesler,-Floral-Design-Institute,-Inc

Visiting the desert brings a different kind of beauty and a true appreciation for air conditioning. The cactus and succulents always amaze me with their dramatic beauty. Bringing a planter of succulents home reminds me of the barren drive and the wonder of the desert sky.

Succulents David Kesler, Floral Design Institute, Inc., in Portland, Oregon

I’ve saved the best for last. One year David and I took a road trip to visit the Niagara Falls. Days, weeks and months of dreaming, planning and research let me know the best views would be from the Canadian side. Little did I know, the views would be laced with the fragrance of flowers. Where is that fabulous scent coming from? What a wonderful surprise as we found the Centennial Lilac Garden in full bloom. Closing my eyes and smelling the flowers, to this day I can hear the roar of the falls.

Lilac Arrangement David Kesler, Floral Design Institute, Inc., in Portland, Oregon

If you don’t have time for a road trip this year, you can take a virtual trip through your florist. Think about where you want to go. Do a bit of research and order up the perfect bouquet. Craving a trip to the rain forests of Washington? A design of textural botanicals based upon a wood stump accented with berries and a snail shell can give you a virtual vacation.

Woodlands-Photo-Courtesy-Françoise-Weeks-in-Portland,-Oregon

So, where do you want to go? You’ll save so much money with a “stay-cation” that you can splurge on weekly virtual vacations with floral creations. Hawaii, anyone?

Arachnid-Orchids-—-Leanne-and-David-Kesler,-Floral-Design-Institute,-Inc.,-in-Portland,-Oregon