Staycations: Vacation Where You Live

by Laurie Van Zandt
Ogden Valley News – February 1, 2009

With a changing economy and time constraints felt by so many Americans, “Staycation” has become the buzzword of a new generation of vacationers. defines ‘staycation’ as “A vacation that is spent at one’s home, enjoying all that home and one’s home environs have to offer.”

A 2005 study by the Families and Work Institute found that up to one-third of employees feel chronically overworked, and will not use all the paid vacation that they are entitled to. Many people said they would get too behind on the job if they took time off, while others cited not being able to afford to take a trip.  Vacationing at home may be the answer.

Economics aside, staying at home for a vacation can be enormously restorative and transformative and fits better into a lot of people’s schedules.  Relaxing at home in the tranquility, comfort and security of their own backyard can be a great alternative to a traditional vacation, while still allowing people to experience what they often desire from their vacations.

A home’s landscape can be specifically designed to provide sanctuary, increase the quality of life and provide the luxury of a place to share with family and friends.  Custom pools designed to look like natural water features or equipped with  waterslides, tunnels, and attached spas;  outdoor lighting such as tiki torches, chandeliers,  and candle light; outdoor kitchens complete with bar-b-ques, sinks, pizza ovens, blenders, and refrigerators;  fire pits, fireplaces or other unique fire features; custom patios and decks; lush flower and herb gardens; portable movie projectors, sound systems,  putting greens, volleyball or croquet courts and unique water features can all be incorporated into a beautifully laid out garden to create an ultimate ‘vacation destination’, if sensitively and thoughtfully designed and constructed,

A landscape designed with a “Staycation” in mind has the added benefit of allowing you to Go Green.  Lower noise levels, lower heating and cooling bills, and less money spent on traveling are added bonuses.

Investing in exterior real estate improvement is still a solid long-term bet, and rivals the return on kitchen and bath remodels, while providing incredible personal return on investment by the homeowner who gets to enjoy it in the meantime.  Upgrading or installing a new custom home landscape and choosing to remain in your home can be a prudent, as well as personally enjoyable alternative to selling in today’s market.

In addition to your own backyard, the greater Ogden area provides wonderful adventure and vacation opportunity close to home.  Charming and historical 25th Street has great shopping and dining opportunities. The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and Bear Lake are nearby.  Take time to visit Timpanogos Cave, the Huntsville Trappist Monastery Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Trinity, Antelope Island, Hill Field and its museum, the Bonneville Salt Flats, dozens of local ski resorts and nearby National and State Parks.  Try mountain biking and hiking, ice skating, snow shoeing, cross country skiing.  Watch semi-pro baseball or bike ride along the Ogden River.  Visit the Ogden Convention and Visitor Bureau’s website at, to find local symphony, light opera, live theater and musicals, dance and ballet performances.

There are new, innovative ways to think of vacation and staying close to home is one of them.

Laurie Van Zandt lives in Huntsville and is the owner of The Ardent Gardener Landscape Design. She provides custom landscape plans for new and remodeled landscapes. Visit her website at , or she can be reached at 801.388.8103

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