Nothing like a new buzz word to get you going.
As much as I hate to see summer leave, I will not miss hearing all the hype about staycations. Staycations are those modest close-to-home family getaways that became popular last year with gas prices hovering around four bucks a gallon. Since tourism rings the register big time in New Hampshire, staycations seemed like a win-win situation for everybody. Frugal Yankee folk found clever substitutions for their formerly costly vacations.
"So, Ed, you taking that lei-cation to Hawaii again this year?"
"Nah. Stayin' local. Goin' up to the big lake for an Alton Bay-cation."
Conversations like that were heard all over the Granite State again this past summer.
"Hey, Leo. I hear you're skipping your usual Canadian Eh?-cation this year."
"Yup, it's true. We'll just hit the outlet stores and ride the Scenic Railroad with the grandkids for our North Conway-cation this summah."
I would like to suggest the permanent retirement of "staycation" in favor of a healthy vacation option that still keeps everything local. I've tried it and it works: "Weigh-cation."
I weighcationed all over New Hampshire this summer and researched how many calories I burned at various attractions. For example: An hour of leisurely swimming at Hampton Beach is good for about 422 calories for a guy my size at 155 pounds. Since you can never find a parking space along Ocean Boulevard, you'll have to leave your car two miles away at Rye in author Dan Brown's driveway, adding about 120 more calories for the walk and 200 bonus calories if he turns the hounds loose on you.
Another weighcation involved hiking the Flume Gorge. Since I was also on a no-paycation, I walked the two mile loop on the day New Hampshire residents got in for free last summer. The whole trail is stairs and steep hills. I figure about 600 calories for the hour. Then we drove 25 minutes to Littleton and hit Chutters on Main Street, home of the world's longest candy counter. Five chocolate turtles later and my day's efforts at the Flume went for naught.
The crown jewel of a New Hampshire summer is always the Hopkinton State Fair. Research shows that less than 1 percent of Granite Staters consider any fair to be a weighcation. If a funnel cake is 750 calories, how many times do I have to ride the tilt-a-whirl to burn off the added poundage? And who would dare sit across from me on that 35th ride? Guess I should have said "No" to a second grape slushy.
Try hiking Tuckerman Ravine. Backpacking uphill is worth 500 calories an hour. Walking in circles because you forgot your GPS is good for about 300 calories an hour. That one's called a stray-cation. Last August Barbara and I spent a completely cloudy week at Acadia National Park. I'm calling that one our gray-cation. Whenever I give in to her vacation destination whims, I consider that my pla-cation. Since I've become a huge Food Network fan, I'm considering attending a weeklong cooking school with the Iron Chef himself. That'll be my Bobby Flay-cation.
If a weighcation doesn't float your boat, consider a pray-cation at Cathedral of the Pines. Or work off the pounds with a spray-cation at any of the state's many water parks. Do you suppose General Stark was eating a funnel cake when he coined the phrase, "Live Free or Diet?" NH
This article appears in the September 2009 issue of New Hampshire Magazine