20 Great Stay-Cation Ideas (how to vacation without leaving your home)

 

Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

Visit The Art of Domesticity, where I shared the below ideas on how to vacation without leaving your home.  My friend, Sandra Maddox, has a passion for creating a beautiful life-giving sanctuary within the home.  Her home and life reflect her passion.  I treasure being able to share my thoughts.

There are numerous misconceptions about traveling these days. The thought of traveling can be daunting depending on the season of life one currently is in. After all, if you have several little ones in tow you might think twice before embarking on international travel. One’s budget might impose travel constraints. Maybe current travel restrictions or the recent media circulation of airlines removing paying passengers from planes have you less excited. My family is staying close to home this summer as our teenager has various summer commitments allowing us only a week of family togetherness. The idea of traveling when everyone else does isn’t very appealing either considering the lines are longer, the prices are more expensive and the weather tends to be hotter. For various reasons, staying close to home can be an attractive option.

Early in our marriage, while living in the Washington DC area, our weekends provided for lots of new adventures as we visited monuments and museums, rode bikes along the numerous trails, and visited nearby points of interest. Living on a small budget, we sought activities that were cost effective or free. I was flabbergasted when I’d share about our weekend adventures with locals and they would remark that they had never done such and such. Having had the opportunity to stay in Portland for two summers, we would make the most of our weekends taking in the local sights via walking tours, sightseeing buses, or driving to areas close by such as the beach, vineyards, and mountains.

Why is it that we can live in the same place for over a decade and never explore what’s right under our noses?

Let’s admit it, we probably have spent more time exploring places far away from home than we have in our hometowns. This is common. People tend to put off local exploration assuming they will eventually get around to it but life gets in the way. There are bound to be places around us we haven’t explored or activities we haven’t tried. So, lets purpose this summer to be local explorers and tourists in our hometown. Some call this a staycation.

  1. Don’t know where to begin? Of course, you do it’s just a click away, the Internet offers a bazillion ideas. Some possible searches might include: Things to do around (your place of interest), Top 10 Thing to do in (your place of interest), 10 best places to eat (your place of interest) —Visit tripadvisor and click on things to do.
  2. Plan for FUN!!! Set a reasonable and realistic budget for your at home adventure.
  3. Seek input from all family members and incorporate something from everyone participating.
  4. Subscribe to a local monthly magazine(s). I receive Austin Monthly plus subscribe to their website as they curate the best of what our city has to offer from culture to cuisine. FYI, a local magazine makes a great welcome gift for newcomers.
  5. Search and sign up for local city deals through TravelZooGroupon, and LivingSocial. You can save up to 70% on hotels, events, food & drinks and things to do. When I knew we would be spending previous summers in Portland, I purchased many fun excursions including places to eat and things to do.
  6. Download a traveling app as many are available to guide you to awesome places around any town. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut going to the same places. Use this opportunity to explore new places. Musement helps travelers get the best from destinations by providing a great choice of local tours and attractions. likeAlocal is a city guide of sorts. See Mashable’s 5 apps for exploring a new city like a local, Instagram offers suggestions on various locations by simply tapping on the search icon from the front screen, open the Places tab, to browse through most popular and recent photos people are posting at a certain location.
  7. Document your adventures by taking lots of photos.
  8. Incorporate what you enjoy most to the discovery process. Personally, we explore new cities by searching for third wave coffee shops or walking trails. Our search for the best coffee and trails makes exploring more exciting.
  9. Go camping in your backyard or search for best places close to home as most kids love being outdoors.
  10. Visit the local convention and visitors bureau for maps, discounts, and other helpful suggestions.
  11. Consider booking a hotel, if finances allow, as the point of a staycation is to feel as if you got away and makes it easier to see all the urban sights if you live out in the ‘burbs.
  12. Catch the summer blockbuster movies or rent those you might have missed.
  13. Take a nap. This is a great time for R&R 😉
  14. Be adventurous. Do something you’ve never done.
  15. Book a city tour to experience your hometown with new eyes. Consider a Segway, bus, bike, or walking tour.
  16. Make day trips to local tourist sites close to home.
  17. Tour local museums and galleries.
  18. Leave work where it belongs. Avoid contact with colleagues plus resolve not to conquer the to-do list while at home.
  19. Unplug from electronics and step away from the computer.
  20. Purposefully engage with one another by being fully present.

Do you have other strategies for getting away from it all in your own home? I would love to hear!

Blessings,

Cherie Werner

5 Ways to Nourish Your Soul This Spring

“For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.”  Song of Solomon 2:11-12

Photo by Cherie Werner

Spring Has Awaken

Spring is my favorite season. I love how this season invites us into the great outdoors where the air feels fresh. It is amazing to see the new life that is all around. It truly is a season of renewed hope.

 “Behold I am making all things new.”  Revelation 21:5

He makes all things new! We are included in this. He redeems, restores, renews, and transforms us.

photo by Cherie Werner

Sping Has Awaken

Join me over at The ART of Domesticity as I share 5 Ways to Nourish Your Soul This Spring.

Why Date Your Mate

I am privileged to be sharing over at The ART of Domesticity.  Sandra Maddox is an outspoken advocate for Christian Motherhood, a speaker, ministry leader, mentor, teacher, children’s book author and accomplished interior designer. She and her husband, Dr. Ron Maddox, live in Newport Beach, California.  Be sure to check out her lovely blog The ART of Domesticity.

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Before delving into the importance of why you should date your mate, my husband and I wanted to share a portion of our story to raise the question, is dating simply a prelude to marriage? Dating is important for couples who are exploring the possibility of matrimony, but it is also important for couples already in wedded bliss. 

Jon: I remember the first date I had with Cherie. We were in college and looking over my fraternity’s membership yearbook that had a picture of all the active members in alphabetical order. Cherie was doing an early version of tender by telling (swiping) which of the members she wouldn’t mind dating. We were friends at this point so this wasn’t as awkward as you might have thought 🙂 When she came to my photo, near the end as my last name starts with a “W”, she glanced up from the yearbook and said she wouldn’t mind dating me! I was shocked then quickly recovered and immediately asked her to go on a date to see a movie and grab dinner together. Thus began a year of dating followed by a year of engagement before I could call Cherie my bride.

Cherie: Before my prince charming came along I dated many toads.  While dating before marriage was fun, the process had several drawbacks including broken hearts, rejection, and confusion. During high school and my early college years I wasn’t  ready to settle down. For two years I had been a little sister for a fraternity that Jon was part of but we were not on each other’s radar. Thankfully, we both enrolled in summer classes my junior year. We were already friends so there was no stress to impress. We began hanging out, talking, playing tennis, jogging, watching movies, and sometimes he would hang out at the pool where I worked as a lifeguard. It was so much fun!  The intentionality of planning these fun outings together knit our hearts together over time and I began to wonder if he had any romantic feelings towards me.

While Jon and I are not always perfect in the field of marriage, we have over thirty years of experience and have equipped numerous couples for marriage by guiding them through premarital counseling. 

10 reasons we continue to date and counsel married couples to do the same:

  1. Dating is spending quality time together and we know that time strengthens any relationship. Couples that play together stay together.
  2. Dating builds oneness.
  3. Dating allows us to reconnect, eliminating the two ships passing in the night syndrome.
  4. Dating provides for deeper communication.
  5. Dating provides opportunities to create fun memories through shared experiences.
  6. Dating shows your spouse that they are a still a high priority and everyone wants to be wanted.
  7. Dating rekindles the flame of romance.  A fire that is not fed or tended to will eventually die out.
  8. Dating keeps things exciting which often leads to passion.
  9. Dating helps children feel more secure about their family dynamic and provides a great example for how they should treat their future spouse.
  10. Dating is a tangible expression of our love for each other and an example to others. 

Once married, dating your spouse should be done with intentionality. Block out time and put it on a shared calendar. Don’t let routine set in nor allow your career or children to push your dating aside. Dating is a simple way to nurture the most important earthly relationship we have by spending time together. To do this, it is important to intentionally disconnect from your everyday world and reconnect with the one you love.

Dating can involve simply doing fun things together to enjoy each others company. This looks different for everyone, but it is our opinion that couples should date as often as possible because it provides as safe space to reconnect. A date doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate in order to strengthen your marriage, however, it does need to be intentional. You are seeking quality time together. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Speaking of fail, a few date killers for us have been running errands, discussing finances, children, family issues, or work. Decide what boundaries you need to enforce ahead of time in order to enjoy the intentional time together.  

We have enjoyed sharing the responsibility of planning our dates. This allows for creativity, excitement, and fun. Part of the date should include hubby opening the door and gratitude at the end of your date.

Having lived in LA, VA, TX, OR, and CA we’ve been able to experience dates on the beach, hiking the Shenandoah Mountains, apple picking, visiting historical landmarks in Washington DC, hiking Multnomah Falls, and so much more. Depending on where you live, I encourage you to make the most of the free and fun opportunities that are around you. 

After thirty years of marriage, we have gone through numerous life stages that have impacted our dating. From having toddlers to teens, extensive travel, a demanding job, or a financial flux, it is important to keep in mind the season of life that you are currently in while planning your dates. 

2015 Dates with my mate

A few of the many dates we had in 2015. From mud baths, wine tasting, doing laundry, pedicure, hiking, walking, sunbathing, canoeing, etc… all of that with my hubby being on the road 100 days in 2015.

Below are numerous ideas to help you get your dating mojo going:

  1. Walking and talking. We do that several times a week.
  2. Biking 
  3. Have a picnic overlooking the ocean as the sun sets or out in the country after picking apples
  4. Serving the homeless or any other outreach in your community
  5. Gardening or landscaping
  6. Grocery or Home Depot shopping
  7. Being a tourist in your own city by visiting local attractions
  8. Visiting museums and historical landmarks
  9. Painting or wallpapering (when we were younger)
  10. Walking through model homes or visiting a parade of homes and talk about your dream home
  11. Test driving cars and talking about what your ideal car would be
  12. Planning vacations together and, of course, go on them together!
  13. Reminisce over old photo albums or your wedding album
  14. Watch your wedding video
  15. Explore local cuisine.  Your local magazine, newspaper, or a google search can help you compile a list of restaurants. Cut out//print out the places that interest you and then place them in one of three jars: (special occasions, casual dining, or inexpensive).  When it’s time to decide where to eat, randomly pull a place from the jar of choice.  
  16. People watch in a public place (airport, mall, downtown)
  17. Enroll in a class together (dance, cooking, educational)
  18. If struggling in a particular area regarding marriage (communication, respect, etc,)  buy a book to read aloud to each other.
  19. Visit the zoo
  20. Hang out at a local bookstore
  21. Take a scenic drive to enjoy the landscape and beauty of nature.
  22. Hot air ballooning is a once in a lifetime experience
  23. Find a couple’s devotion and nightly read from it together. One of our favorites is, Moments Together for Couples: 365 Daily Devotions for Drawing Near to God & One Another by Dennis and Barbara Rainey
  24. Once the kids were all in school we were able to have special dates in our house or meet up for lunch outings.  
  25. Plan and splurge once or twice a year for a weekend date away together.
  26. Learn each other’s love language and begin to give love the way your spouse best receives love. We give and receive love in one of the five ways.
    • Physical Touch
    • Acts of Service
    • Words of Affirmation
    • Quality Time
    • Gifts  

Do you feel like you are in a rut and stuck on planning a date?  Below are resources and blogs to help you become more creative.

  • 40 Unforgettable Dates with Your Mate by Dr. Gary & Barbara Rosberg
  • 10 Great Dates to Energize Your Marriage by David and Claudia Arp
  • 10 Great Dates for Empty Nesters by  David and Claudia Arp
  • 52 Fantastic Dates for You and Your Mate by David and Claudia Arp
  • The Dating Diva’s this blog was started by 11 women desiring to make sure they continued to date their husbands plus stoked the romance fire in their marriage. They have lots of ideas for various budgets.
  • Focus on the Family along with Greg Smalley’s expertise did a series dating your spouse.
  • 52 Date Night Ideas FREE printable cards categorized by
    • Outdoor & Active
    • Artsy & Cultural
    • At Home & Inexpensive
  • Date Box Everything you need for a fun and creative date delivered monthly to your door for about $30/month.

I hope you have found these resources inspiring and helpful. Have fun and enjoy planning your night out!