I recently began following an interesting blogger named Key West Lou, and happily anticipated reading staycation types of stories about his life in Key West. I was surprised to learn his current series of daily posts focused not on my favorite getaway locale, but on his travels in the Mediterranean. As a travel lover and writer interested in others’ perspective on things, I find his articles as enjoyable as those he may write about Key West. However, the idea that someone living in a tropical oasis such as the Conch Republic finds the need to venture away for a vacation, leads me to believe we often take our hometowns for granted, no matter how exotic or popular they may be with tourists.
Anyone who travels east on the Long Island Expressway on a Friday afternoon or west on a Sunday evening in the summer knows all to well how many thousands of city dwellers trek from New York for a weekend in the comparative country, attracted by the beautiful beachfront of Dune Road and Hamptons nightlife or the quaint country fairs and rustic vineyards. At the same time, millions of tourists travel to The Big Apple each year, drawn by its frenetic energy, cultural events, shopping, and dining.
It’s normal, I suppose, to want to explore others’ hometowns.
Being a Long Islander by choice rather than by birth, I’ve dragged my husband and kids to many touristy places, especially the first decade after moving here. We visited the Montauk and Fire Island lighthouses, the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum, Northfork wineries, local and state parks, and numerous beaches.
One of my favorite public beaches is Smith’s Point. An Atlantic Ocean beach like the more famous and tourist beach of Jones Beach in Nassau County, it’s also a perfect place for a staycation. Unfortunately, our family has yet to take advantage of more than its sand, surf, and concession stand for a few hours at a clip. Live local bands perform there six hours every Sunday during the summer. Have we ever been? No, but maybe it’s time we go.
Smith’s Point Park has a camping site, too, which brings to mind childhood memories of growing up in the Adirondacks. When I was in middle school, my mother convinced my dad to buy a pop-up camper, and we were off to local camping sites on summer weekends. We often stayed within an hour of our home (Although we once traveled as far as Pemaquid Point, Maine–the first time I ever saw the Atlantic Ocean.), but it was a break from the ordinary.
My parents knew the value of a staycation long before the term became fashionable in 2008. They realized that beauty and leisure could be found in their own hometown, and they took advantage of it. I’m thankful they did. Some of my best memories with my little brother and parents are from those days at various KOA campsites. Perhaps I’ll share a few with you someday soon. In the meantime, here’s a Consumer Reports article, Tips for the Best Staycation, you may find useful when considering what types of places to explore in your region.
Have you ever had a staycation? Do you enjoy your local attractions and amenities as much as a visitor to your hometown would? What childhood vacation or staycation memories are dear to your heart?