In honor of its enshrinement into Merriam Webster’s dictionary, let us consider the “staycation.”

First, it’s a contradiction. A prerequisite of vacationing is getting away. If the homefront afforded opportunities to relax, there would no reason to leave it.

Second, it’s a vapid buzzword of the recession. Nobody talked about “staycationing” during strong economic times. The phrase is a sorry byproduct of a mindset that says, hey, instead of spending vacation dollars in somebody else’s tourist trap, be cheap and spend them close to home.

To our thinking, this unfairly belittles the vacationing opportunities in our backyards as being somehow less than better vacations elsewhere. The last time we checked, Maine’s great beaches, mountains, rivers and parks were all within an hour’s drive of most everywhere, as are good restaurants, quiet lodging and serene beauty.

Vacationing in Maine hasn’t changed much. What’s different is the economy, which has spurred this local recreation movement — staycationing — under the frugal auspices of saving a few bucks in the process. We’re all for thriftiness, but not when it may send the message that local is cheap and therefore inferior.

It isn’t. This state, as a place for recreation and relieving the stress of everyday life, offers opportunities second to none. It’s the reason our borders are flooded with escapists every weekend, our turnpike is snarled every Sunday and why we can — and do — boldly brag of ourselves as “Vacationland.”

For those of us living in Maine, every day can be a staycation. Does this make us cheap?

Nope. More like blessed.


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