Monday Musings: The value of a staycation

5 Aug
I felt like I was away on vacation yesterday, even though we were less than an hour from home.

I felt like I was away on vacation yesterday, even though we were less than an hour from home.  Photo credit: Caroline Cowart

Yesterday was Sunday, and on that one day, three very random and totally unrelated things happened to me that really got me thinking.

The first thing happened on the way out of church in the morning. Our priest was sitting on the bench near the walkway as we walked to our car. He said to me, “Are you guys around this week or do you travel?”

My somewhat cynical answer was, “Yes we’re here, we never travel.”

Because in general, we don’t often get to take trips. We stay close to home other than the occasional visits to out-of-state family, which we do enjoy whenever we get the chance to do it.

Once home, we were sorting out our plans for the day, and what we’d originally planned on doing got nixed because one of the girls has Swimmer’s Ear, something we’d totally forgotten about when we were making our water-based plans.

We thought about what we could do instead, last minute, and I remembered that we had five free passes to The Breakers, a mansion in Newport, RI, about 45 minutes or so from here, courtesy of the reading program the kids participate in at the library. Of the five of us, only Caroline had been there on a field trip with the teen library program a couple of years back, and other than Caroline, the kids had never been to Newport even though we live so close to it.

So we grabbed some coupons for dinner, our cameras and sweatshirts, and jumped in the car.

On the way there, I was texting continuous photos of the ride, over the bridges, crossing the bay, and into Newport, to my out-of-state friend, Paula. She’d mentioned that visiting Newport was on her bucket list, and so I was helping her to “see” it along with us.

“Imagine that?” Don said to me on the way. “People hope to see Newport one day before they die, and here we are jumping in the car at the last minute, on our way there right now. We’re so lucky.”

He had a point. We *are* so lucky.

We arrived in Newport, taking the long way through town to show the kids the sights. In the car, they were bursting with excitement as they took in the sights around them.

They were giddy.

We may not live in a mansion but we can visit one whenever we'd like to!

We may not live in a mansion but we can visit one whenever we’d like to! Photo credit: Don Cowart II

We toured The Breakers inside and out, for free, along with tourists from all over the country and even all over the world, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We had an inexpensive dinner at a local restaurant with our coupons, without breaking our budget. Then we hopped back in the car and went to enjoy the streets of Newport.

It was a gorgeous night. We had a blast. So much fun.

And we felt like we were on vacation.

We had.The.Most.Fabulous.Day.

We watched the sun setting over the bay. We saw yachts, went window shopping, heard a live concert from some of our favorite bands, went to an arcade, bumped into friends, had ice cream, and I even splurged and bought the kids Newport t-shirts ($10 for all three, I couldn’t resist!)

And later on, when I posted a photo on Facebook, a friend of mine from high school commented on it, noting how wonderful a staycation in Rhode Island can be.

She too, was right. We are incredibly lucky, living in the Ocean State. We can be to the beach in less than an hour, all summer long. We have many, many free summer events taking place throughout the season. The scenery is incredible, no matter where we are. The food is amazing; we get to eat many delicacies that people travel hundreds of miles to get a taste of.

Without leaving our home state, we are blessed with a vacation, or as my friend Sarah said, a staycation, that can’t be beat. Many people would give anything for what we have.

And so last night when we arrived home, happily exhausted from our amazing day, I rethought my cynicism from that morning’s answer to our priest. I’m not normally a cynical person, and I do try to count my blessings on a daily basis, being thankful for what I have rather than wanting for more. But this time, I think I needed a reminder.

Several reminders.

We may not travel often, per se, but we do get around and we are incredibly blessed to live where we live, to have what we have and to be able to do what we do, without a whole lot of effort or expense. We don’t need to rent a beach house, board a plane, or take a vacation week off from work.

We are incredibly lucky.

We are blessed.

What are the chances we'd get to hear the Gin Blossoms, Sugar Ray and Smash Mouth while we were walking through Newport?

Listening to the bands: What are the chances we’d get to hear the Gin Blossoms, Sugar Ray and Smash Mouth while we were walking through Newport? Pretty good!

5 Responses to “Monday Musings: The value of a staycation”

  1. Lisa August 5, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    Love this post. We travel to visit family in the summer, but honestly I’d rather they all came here instead. Rhode Island is beautiful this time of year. People spend a lot of time and money traveling to see beaches just like the ones we have a few miles from home. We love living here.

    • thewholebagofchips August 5, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

      Thank you! I always say that if I did get to travel more in the summertime I would want it to be somewhere we never get to go here in RI. So I wouldn’t want to take an ocean vacation any summer. Mountains maybe, dessert possibly, but ocean, we’ve got covered. lol

    • thewholebagofchips August 5, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

      Not dessert. ooops. ;0

  2. Sue Meyerson August 5, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

    We had a stay cation, too yesterday….we went to Blue Shutters Beach in Charlestown, and it was gorgeous! Walked down to some beautiful houses and rocks to climb on..on the way home, we drove the opposite way, into Watch Hill..drove through the town, and past Taylor Swift’s house and The Ocean House, and poked our way back up on Rt 1, through Misquamicut Beach, down West Beach Road, down to Charlestown Town Beach, and even found a remotely obscured Dunkin Donuts right off Rt 1 that you would miss unless you knew about it…was fun and relaxing..did it with no kids, cuz they would have HATED it! I felt like we were “old folks”, out “for a drive”– something I HATED as a kid, when I couldn’t understand WHY my parents would ever want to just get in the car to DRIVE! How boring! But it was fun, so I guess now we are officially “old”!

    • thewholebagofchips August 6, 2013 at 8:13 am #

      It sounds like you had an amazing day! It’s probably one you will always remember! xo

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