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Sunday, July 6, 2014

We're Going on a Staycation!

Staycation Planning

stay·ca·tion

 [stey-key-shuhhttp://static.sfdict.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pnghttp://static.sfdict.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngn]   noun
a vacation spent at home or near home, doing enjoyable activities orvisiting local attractions.
Origin: 
2005–10; stay
1  + (va)cation
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014

We have not travelled to a "destination vacation" for several years.  If I remember correctly, our last vacation was to go hunting in the U.P. of Michigan in November 2011 where we visited Fred’s family and stayed at his Dad’s hunting camp.  That may not suit everyone, but we had a wonderful time, and it was Mollie’s first long trip, and good field training for her.

Days Gone By

I was never one for wanting to take a vacation during the traditional vacation months of June through August. When my children were young we had less leeway in planning vacations, and usually spent a week in the Pocono Mountains and then a long Labor Day weekend at Ocean City, NJ.  

We took a few additional summertime family vacations as well. 
I remember visiting Lake George in New York state,  Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, and a multi-city tour of Tennessee to name a few.  Tennessee was the last "family" vacation due to the proclivity of the resident children to constantly battle each other.  That decision saved my sanity.

Since 1999 my husband Fred and I have visited Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, Reno, Orlando, Hawaii, and various short trips throughout California, which were close to being considered staycations.  Pretty much every weekend festival we attended could be considered a staycation…it’s one of the things I loved most about living in Southern California.  Plus, we actually lived in vacation destination cities, so staycations made terrific sense.

Vacation to Staycation

We had planned to travel to Frisco, Texas to attend a convention, but the plans had to be altered.  Although disappointed about missing a convention (always good times!), we were really excited to have that same week to spend with two of our grandchildren.

Three grandchildren live in Florida and one lives in Pittsburgh.  The two youngest Florida kids spend a week in Pennsylvania before they go back to school in August.  The eldest is at the “I need a job ‘cause I-want-a-motorcycle-and-I-have-a-really-cute-girlfriend-I-would-miss-and-besides-I’d-probably-be-bored-spending-time-with-my-grandparents” stage in life.  God Bless him!  We will miss him, but we understand (having been young once way back in the stone age).

Casual Planning

 I have past experience, I do realize that in order for a staycation to be successful, some advance planning needs to occur. 

Many people live in cities or regions that they never actually visit.  You know how it is, you live in a really fun location with a huge tourist draw, but you don’t take the time to really visit your city as a tourist.  You are too busy working or doing all the day-to-day activities you need to accomplish.  If you have children, they have school.  Come to think of it, it must be difficult to live in a really awesome vacation area and have to attend school when you could be doing seriously fun stuff!

I lived in California for 12 years, and tried to make it a priority to be a “tourist” whenever I could.  The sense of awe that struck me every time I realized I could see snow in the morning and be in the desert later the same day never left me.  

No matter where we lived, there was always a festival to attend, i.e. orange, lemon, avocado, salsa, garlic, strawberry, beach…you name it, SoCal has a festival to celebrate it!  I LOVED it.

So with time available for a staycation with the grandkids, I have been able to indulge in some planning.   Now, our grandchildren have 4 (count them), 4 sets of grandparents, 2 complete sets of parents and assorted “greats”, cousins, aunts and uncles.  It’s a real family fest. 

While they are in Pennsylvania, we will share our grandchildren with their Grandpa and Grandma (my son's dad).  I have conferred with them, and we’ve discussed a plan of action.  Fortunately Nana Dee (yours truly) and Grandpa Fred live in the same town as Grandpa and Grandma, making logistics very simple.

I’m excited to report the planning of two full days to enjoy with the kids!  One day will consist of touring a potato chip/snack factory, then a candy factory followed by an Amish buggy ride and dinner at a traditional PA Dutch Smorgasbord. (Plus who knows whatever other site looks like fun).

A second day will feature a trip to our local zoo, and probably a Bucca di Beppo dinner...meal locations are always flexible.    At any rate, I’ve got directions, coupons and information printed out and ready to go in a binder. 

We will also include time for them to hang out at our house, play with the dog and maybe play some board games.  I know Grandpa and Grandma have some fun things planned for them, and we are trying to slip in a couple of “quiet days” as well. I tried to tell myself it was so the kids would not get exhausted, but who am I kidding?  The quiet days are for the grandparents.