I've been MIA the last two weeks with a visit from the in-laws and can I just say...1) I love them and 2) I love where I live! Have you ever had guests and rediscovered your town just by playing tourist alongside them? It's what some call a "stay-cation". A vacation enjoyed by staying home. It can be a weekend in, lounging on the couch with a good book and some board games...or a tour around the local hot spots, as we've done over the last few days. No stress of flights, converting money, burning money, suitcases, tight itineraries, or jet-lag. Just you, your zip code, and going wherever the wind takes you. Here are a few ideas for the ideal staycation:
1) First, tell work/friends/fam that you'll be MIA. Unplug computer/phone/etc so you can be inaccessible...can you even remember what THAT is like? Freedom, pure freedom.
2) Make a list of places in your area you've never been before. I've lived in the Bay Area for almost 15 years and I've NEVER been to Alcatraz. I've also never driven down Lombard's crooked street (or whatever it's actually called). Wait, come to think of it, I've also never walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. The first two shall be done but that, I dunno, my legs go spaghetti when it comes to heights. And I just KNOW there's some mondo sharks under there just waiting for me in case someone pushed me over the rail. Just sayin'.
3) Besides city attractions, discover nature again too. We took the fam to Cascade Falls (photo above) in the quaint town of Mill Valley, on a hike from Tennessee Valley Beach to Muir Beach (finishing at the cozy Pelican Inn for fish and chips and cold ales), on another hike from San Anselmo up Mount Tam, and out to Point Reyes to catch sightings of tule elk and elephant seals. Those seals were uglay and aggressive...take pics at your own risk!
4) Taste the best of local eateries...with a little adventure. We made sure the Scottish fam had their fair share of fresh oysters, extra spicy Mexican food, Thai iced tea at our favorite haunt, port in the Napa Valley, and hopefully sushi (if we can convince one member of our party...working on it). They returned the favor with homemade shepherd's pie and chocolate eclairs...whipped up in seconds. (Let's face it, you'll never be as good as your mother-in-law.)
5) Most importantly, RELAX! Put a movie on and your feet up after a long day of sightseeing. Spend hours around the table chatting over wine and cute babies. Hit the hay early and sleep in—phones STILL off! Make an effort to have quality time with loved ones and solo time for your sanity (bath with a book is my M.O.). You'll go back to your daily grind refreshed, renewed and with a new love for where you live. "Talkin' bout Mill Valley California that's my hoooommeee!"