For Mitt Romney's Family, Vacation Is Mandatory

The candidate takes his sons and their families on an annual trip to the lake-whether they like it or not

Ah, nothing like a holiday week to remind us what a bonding experience a family vacation can be. But what if those pesky kids grow up and don’t want to be a part of the experience anymore? Well, you could take the Mitt Romney approach and declare that your family’s vacation is mandatory. Period. Look alive, Romney sons!

The candidate is taking a few days away from the campaign trail to celebrate America’s independence on a family vacation at his estate in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire; it’s an annual tradition that is non-optional for his five offspring and their families. The brood numbers 30 in all.

And it’s not going to be an idle experience either: The annual trip is fully scheduled with competitive sports, and family meetings among the adults in the evenings, according to a report by The Washington Post. And no family trip would be complete without a portrait of the clan, for which the Romneys pose on the lawn each year in coordinating outfits. The photo later becomes the family Christmas card.

One summer when Romney’s eldest son, Tagg, who is now 42, was working for the Los Angeles Dodgers, he tried to bow out of the vacation on the grounds that he’d be missing a key part of baseball’s season. “My dad said, ‘No, you will make it.’ I had to beg forgiveness from my bosses at the Dodgers,” Tagg told the Post.

If all of that forced recreation sounds like a lot of demands on a large group of busy people—whose patriarch leaves no room for negotiation—it probably is. But it’s not exactly drudgery either. The backdrop for the retreat is the family’s $8 million estate on Lake Winnipesaukee, with six bedrooms, a $630,000 boat house, tennis and volleyball courts, and a private beach on a shoreline that stretches the length of two football fields.

Hey Mitt: Can we come?

Alesandra Dubin is iVote's chief election news blogger and a Los Angeles-based writer. Follow her on Twitter: @alicedubin.

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