This past weekend I went ‘camping’ with my in laws at Elk Neck State Park. (By camping I mean they have an RV that they parked at a campground with electric and water hookup. I pitched a tent next to it in an effort to try to emulate the ‘true’ camping experience but sleeping on the ground sucks and I only made it one night.)
The park is 11 miles from the house where I grew up. Even so, I was only there one time as a kid and that was a park and walk trip to see the light house there (Turkey Point Lighthouse). This got me thinking about vacationing where you live. Not a staycation, mind you, as a stay at home mom of sorts I already have too much stay, not enough ‘cation.
I’m talking about the old idea of seeing where you live like a tourist would. If I was a Californian and found myself visiting here for a few months, what would I do?
I found the book 1,000 Places to See in the USA and Canada Before You Die on my bookshelf. While I have no real recollection of purchasing the book, apparently I’ve thought about vacationing locally before. The book actually mentions Adamstown’s Antique Mile* (6 miles from my house) and Central Market in Lancaster, where I shop regularly for food, and a myriad of other local attractions that I don’t give a second glance. There are no doubt guests in local hotels right now gearing up to go to places I drive past mindlessly on the way to the vet.
(*Sure I’d rather pull my fingernails out with pliers one at at time than go antiquing but that is not the point I’m trying to make here.)
In addition to the smaller scale local attractions, I’ve got some pretty heavy hitter east coast cities within day trip driving distance from me: Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and if I’m really ambitious, New York City. As a tourist, I would have thoroughly sucked the marrow out of those destination cities. As a local? I haven’t even taken my kids to properly see the Liberty Bell. (Though, in my defense, we drove around the block several times because my seven year old son could never quite get a good enough look at it while moving at 25 mph.)
A friend of mine, who happens to be a scientist, was talking about how the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History did a nice job on their ocean exhibit. I, in turn, mentioned that I thought it would be great to take my kids to something like that with a scientist and off we went. It was an amazing trip for my kids, who are still talking about it over a week later, and it was remarkably inexpensive. Had we packed a lunch, we would have just paid for gas and parking. I’m telling you, I’m on to something, here.
On a side note, said scientist, who does not live in Pennsylvania, was in line to see the Liberty Bell while we were on the phone discussing our D.C. plans and bought me a small replica of it. (She seems to already have this concept down.) It is my new reminder to tour where you are planted.
I like to throw things.