By: Crissie Miller Kirby
A new term has been rising in popularity over the last few years as people search for ways to both entertain their families, but also still provide enjoyable and memorable experiences: Staycation. It’s become so popular that even a quick Google search pronounces that it is a word that can be found in Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary.
Staycation: blend of stay and vacation. A vacation spent at home or nearby.
I don’t know if any of you have ever enjoyed a staycation before, and, honestly, until recently, I had not either. New Year’s Eve 2014 was my first real experience, and I can guarantee it won’t be my family’s last.
This year I had the boys on New Year’s Eve and since it fell during the week, it was going to prove a little more difficult for us to travel to the coast as we do over many short holidays. But, I wanted to do something fun; something different; something out of the ordinary.
What to do?
For starters, I decided to rent a hotel room in Columbia; at a hotel with an indoor pool. I was able to grab up a suite with two queen sized beds and a sitting area at the Comfort Suites near Harbison for less than $90.
Then I decided to take the boys downtown to the Family Fun Fest. Many people said that with the Famously Hot New Year’s celebration down the street, Main Street would be packed and miserable to deal with. It was exactly the opposite. Upon arrival, we were able to park in a City of Columbia parking garage and walk a very, very short distance to our first stop: the ice skating rink. Neither of the boys had ever ice-skated before and it has been many years since I had. So, to the ice we went. Our ventures there did not last long, but it was enough to say “we did it!”
Next we walked just a block down Main Street and both boys were able to get wristbands for the rides for $10/each. When the boys tired of the rides, we traveled back to the hotel stopping to get pizza and drinks that we would eat on the beds in the hotel room.
We watched tv and laughed and ate and watched the ball drop over Times Square.
The next morning, we rose early and had breakfast at the hotel; changing in to our swimsuits shortly after and then spending about an hour in the indoor heated pool before we needed to run up, change clothes, and check out.
While it may have seemed so simple in thought and theory, my boys have talked about that night many times and have asked about swimming in the indoor pool again.
Staycationing may seem like a “waste” to some, but it was a wonderful experience for my family and I think that we will be doing more of them in the years to come.