I spent the past several days out of office on a getaway to a coastal town. Salt air, a dog-friendly airbnb, and a no-rush approach to soaking in the things the town has to offer made it a perfect mid-August trip. I have been guilty of wondering if I could move here, a place I’ve been before on vacation; I need to remind myself that my problems would still exist, even if the locations were different. On a different note, I’m a strong fan of the staycation or being a tourist in your own town. You can spend a lifetime in some spots without ever seeing all it has to offer, or without taking advantage of local “best of” lists. Whether you are going around the corner or around the world, here are a few suggestions on how to make your vacation spot feel like home and how to bring that sense of your getaway back with you.
Eat: A few months before your trip, follow restaurants in your destination on your social media accounts. This will give you a good idea of the type of meals on special, if a certain night is local’s night, or if a location is known for an item or dish. Pay special attention to the hours as well – I’ve been guilty of showing up at lunch to a cafe that only does breakfast on weekdays. When you arrive at a certain restaurant, note what they have for sale to take home. A few places this week offered their specialty sauces and dressings, which would be a great way to enjoy a taste of your vacation at home – or could make a great thank-you gift for the person watering your houseplants while you are gone.
See: One of my favorite authors, Kate Bowler, has shared that she loves absurd roadside attractions in one of her recent books. Inspired by this, when I went to South Carolina to see Congaree National Park in 2022, I took a photo with the world’s largest fire hydrant because *why not*. See the big attractions, of course – but also make room for the ridiculous. Along this line, make an effort to seek out the smaller museums alongside the world-class ones. You’d be surprised at how special a small place can be, especially when they are staffed with enthusiastic local volunteers.
Do: You’re on vacation or stay-cation: so if you need to rest, let yourself rest. My first day visiting anywhere is usually spent recovering from travel. Sometimes this means doordash and staying in pajamas, others it means relaxing outdoors and making a very un-fussy pasta and sauce for dinner. Even if you have incredibly high hopes for your itinerary, cut yourself a break before you start go-go-going.
Wishing you a locally known, playfully absurd, restful weekend,