Staycation, "Mad Men" Style

by Katy on August 6, 2009 · 12 comments

Katy Wolk-Stanley

I am currently on another Portland staycation, staying in one of my mother’s rental cottages in the Sellwood neighborhood. This may seem pointless to some, but is actually entirely relaxing. Cleaning this house means making the beds and loading the dishwasher. That’s it. (At home cleaning the entire house would be an all day endeavor.) Getting away from my hopelessly needy house is incredibly freeing.

So for me, a Sellwood staycation is a blessed break from the drudgery of home owndership.

Ideally, we should be out and about, experiencing our home city as a tourist would. In reality, we’re laying about and then sleeping in.

My younger son got invited to go to the beach with a friend’s family and my husband works nights, which means it was just my teenage son and myself. We went out for lunch, scoured two different libraries for Manga and even hit up one Goodwill, where he found a brand new looking Homer Simpson hoodie.

And then when we come home, my son lays in bed reading his books and I lay on the couch plodding my way through the second season of Mad Men. (Thank you On Demand cable TV!)

Food is simple yet tasty. Dinner last night was a loaf of ciabatta bread, a round of camembert cheese and a basket of strawberries. Tonight was a pan of Trader Joe’s enchiladas, heated in the microwave. Nothing is to be chopped, baked or peeled.

Alas, we head back home tomorrow, as my mother has a paying tenant en route. But I will head home relaxed, well rested and ready for the responsibilities of being a grown up. And I will not be exhausted from the travel home from an exotic location.

Have you ever vacationed at home? Please share your favorite actually relaxing vacations in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

P.S. Make your own Mad Men image at I actually think it kind of captured me. Well . . .  except for the cigarette, which I just had to add!

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Kris-ND August 6, 2009 at 8:12 pm

I have not staycationed, but my husband and son have several times. When we bought our first camper, they camped out in the driveway, watched movies, popped microwave popcorn, etc. They have also camped in one of our tents at the state park 3 miles away.


Kristen@The Frugal Girl August 7, 2009 at 3:42 am

My husband and I did once before we had kids. We took off from work and did a bunch of day trips in the area.


Andrea August 7, 2009 at 5:31 am

We staycationed this year…we had a bit of drudgery getting projects around the house finished, but then we took the children to some fun local museums and state parks, took bike rides and had bonfires. Thoroughly enjoyable AND affordable.


karen August 7, 2009 at 12:08 pm

I worked on house chores a little bit each night of the week, got grocery shopping done, then did a 3 day wkend of not leaving the house except to walk the dog. I took the phone off the hook. I ate when I was hungry, slept when I was tired, drank coffee whenever I wanted, did no housework, dressed as I felt comfortable, read books under the quilt until wee hours, & worked in my studio. By Monday, I came out of my ‘cocoon’ refreshed mentally & physically — ready to face the world again. One of the best staycations ever — I highly recommend it


Angela August 7, 2009 at 12:16 pm

That’s great that you got to spend time alone with your 13-year-old.

It has been relaxing and invigorating for me to actually take Sundays off. I work about 60 percent of the time at home, and since I like my work, it has a tendency to drift into all hours of the day and the weekend. Then there are always chores, etc. By making Sundays chore-free and all about resting and reading and relaxing, I start the week refreshed. It’s a simple but useful tactic.


Jupe Blue August 7, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Hey, after following your blog for the past year I just noticed that your mom’s cottages are in Sellwood. That’s my neighborhood! Does she have a websit about renting them? We have lots of visitors and not enough space to always house them. Would love to have a nearby resource for visiting friends and family.


Julia August 7, 2009 at 8:21 pm

We’ve staycationed three times already this year. (My husband has worked at the same company for 24 years and gets 4 weeks off per year.) I love it because I’m a bit crowd-phobic (to coin a phrase) and I like being able to visit museums, parks etc. during the week when they are not so busy. Of course, being a homeschool mom, I could take my son anywhere during the week as part of our usual routine. But it’s much more fun when my husband has the time off and can join us. We always run out of days off before we run out of fun places to go and things to do.
(And if some extra chores, like cleaning out the garage, get done on one of the days, so much the better.)


Alison Wiley, Portland Oregon August 7, 2009 at 9:35 pm

My husband and I here in Portland did a four-day house swap vacation last month with friends in Bend. They were delighted, so were we, and it cost all of us nothing except gas. We’re going to do it again!


Miss Blueberry August 8, 2009 at 5:00 pm

What fun to create my “mad Men” person! After much thought about my selections, when I was finished I realized that MY creation ended up looking just like my mother! They say that happens to us all!


Tracy Balazy August 10, 2009 at 11:38 am

I’ve taken two weeklong stay-at-home vacations this year. Actually, last week’s was unpaid furlough from my Detroit newspaper job. When I’m on staycation, I like to ride my bike to run errands instead of using the car, and this time around, my husband and I pickled cucumbers from our garden (a first for us, we’d never canned before) and hosted a two-day garage sale. I enjoyed it!


Penelope Deotte August 11, 2009 at 2:32 pm

I would love a “staycation” like yours. While not in an exotic location, you’re also not at home. When I am on a staycation at home, I feel constantly guilty about all the things that I should be doing around my “needy” house.


WilliamB August 13, 2009 at 10:17 pm

For the most part staycations don’t work for me, because I end up doing chores instead of actually relaxing. Getting chores and to-dos done is a good thing, mind you, but it’s not a vacation as such. Better I should camp out at a friend’s house than mine own. I may still do chores – I’m a whiz at dealing with other people’s pantries and overstuffed fridges – but they’re voluntary.

I had one staycation that was a true vacation. It was when I worked a job that required me to travel 9 days out of 10. A week planted at home was a luxury.


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