Staycation Snaps

In mid-June I blogged my requirements for the perfect vacation on short notice,

We’ve blocked off a week for a family vacation, but I haven’t planned the trip yet.  I am seeking a destination that is nearby, yet exotic; inexpensive, but not tacky; great fun, but known to few.  The hotel and all attractions will be pet friendly.  Last minute reservations are no problem.  Tipping is prohibited.  The restaurants are casual and economical, but serve four-star, quality fare.  Is that too much to ask?

Against all odds, I found a location that met all this criteria:  We stayed at home.

Okay, the truth is this:   I never pulled my act together in time to plan a family get away.   Add in the reality of our current home economy being, shall we say, a bit tight, and it became clear that a glamorous vacation destination wasn’t going to happen this year.

That is when we announced our plans to the kids – STAYCATION 2013!

At first they were disappointed (okay, so was I), but then we became more excited when we began planning intentional opportunities to be together as a family.   In the end, we spent six solid days in family time activities, all without leaving our corner of the world.  We made the decision to be “on vacation” even though we never wandered much more than an hour’s drive from home.

Our staycation was scheduled to begin last Tuesday, but because I wasn’t feeling well I missed out on a bit of the action.  While I recuperated, Brian and the kids went on a bike riding adventure.  When I felt a little better, I joined them for a walk around town, shopping at thrift and antique stores, and treating the kids to a chocolate bar at the local candy shop.  Unfortunately, I forgot my camera that day!  After that I made certain to take photos of the rest of our week.

Here are some of the highlights:

Wednesday was spent flying kites at Lake Erie.  (For the record, flying kites on the beach is still one of my favorite things!)

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After a day in the sun, an ice cream cone was the perfect cool treat.

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Thursday was spent at the mini golf course.  We knocked quite a few balls into the water hazards, but isn’t that part of the fun?

Another fun day as spent on the mini golf course.

On Friday we traveled to the Asbury Woods Nature Center  in Erie.  It turned out to be a woodland treasure.  There were well tended trails,

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live animals in the center,

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and a boardwalk trail leading to a swamp.

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 That evening we spent time with our friends Tom and Betsy, swimming and sharing dinner together.

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On Saturday we took a trip to the Linesville Spillway on the Pymatuning Reservoir, a popular attraction.  The water is churning with fish, and the ducks walk over their backs to grab for the bread crumbs that visitors love to toss in the water.  We’ve been there before, but we were happy to go back again to watch the ducks and geese compete with the fish for their daily bread.

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Just up the road a small nature center  (no live animals this time, only what they refer to as “mounted specimens”),

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and a state fish hatchery round out the experience.

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On Sunday, we relaxed after church and then drove to Franklin, Pennsylvania for dinner with our extended family followed by surprise Birthday party for a cousin.  Happy Birthday, Jen!  We had a fantastic time at your party.

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A staycation isn’t for everyone, but it fit our family well.  We enjoyed the time together and avoided the stress of overspending.  Our family budget stayed on track because we ate most of our meals at home, and we didn’t have to pay a pet sitter to take care of our animals.  We slept in our own beds and when the vacation was “over” we didn’t have a long ride or airplane trip back.   If the point of a vacation is to relax, enjoy life, and spend time with your loved ones, then our staycation was a complete success.

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