Are we there yet?

Every time I fill up my little Honda with gas these days, I cringe at the prices. When I’m driving the minivan, with its 20-gallon tank, I can almost physically feel the pain at the pump. Is there an end in sight? Regrettably, not likely this summer.

Summer is supposed to be the time to pack your kids and pets into the family station wagon and take off somewhere on an excursion that may last for days and may require sunscreen and bug spray – especially if camping is involved. Ideally, there should be a good mix of learning and fun – that’s why museums and historic sites are so popular.

Probably my most memorable summer vacation, if you can call it that, was a day trip to an attraction in southern Wisconsin called the House on the Rock. Frankly, the five-hour drive seemed endless with six of us squeezed in. I am sure we four kids pestered our dad a time or two with “Are we there yet? house on the rock.jpgHow much longer?” while trying not to bicker in the back seat. It was definitely worth the agony.

Designed and built by Alex Jordan of Madison, Wis., the House on the Rock is an architectural marvel perched on a 60-foot chimney of rock. Begun in the early 1940s, the 14-room house is the original structure of what is now an extraordinary complex of rooms, streets, buildings and gardens covering over 200 acres. Furnishings include Oriental art, stained glass lamps, bronze statuary, a three-story bookcase filled with rare books and so many antiques – dolls, carousels, you name it.

It would be wonderful to get back there now, as an adult, when I can appreciate the beauty, the rarity, the history. And, of course, share it with the next generation.

Are you going to visit any historic points of interest? Will you be traveling to any antiques shows in search of your own national treasure? This show season is going to be a challenging one for both dealers (who have to travel and haul their goods around) and buyers (who may be pinching their pennies for fuel).

Let’s do our best to support each other in these uncertain times. If you can take a day trip to attend a show, please do so. Better yet, grab a friend and split the cost of gas. The dealers and show promoters will appreciate your support. And you may find something worth a tank of gas or two. These days, that’s a pretty good return on investment!

Antique Trader would like to know how the rising gas prices will impact your summer shopping, selling and travel plans. E-mail us at or post a reply here.
Travel safely!

— Robyn