A Summer Stimulus Package

By Hannah Wallace June 30, 2008

Summertime in America contradicts the views held by many Europeans that we’re overachievers with too much work ethic and too little savoring of life’s pleasures. With more Europeans coming to our shores for their holidays, they might get to see our other side. We do know how to eschew “all work and no play.”  Not wanting to become “dull boys” (and girls) may not be our motive, but it is a worthy benefit. We’re simply exhausted and want to get away from our routines. We want to play, and we need to relax. If we are as good at vacationing as we are at work, we’ll also develop fresh perspectives on everything—including our work—which may help us become better at what we do the rest of the year.

In New York, where the pace is most intense, many leave Manhattan on Thursday afternoons for long summer weekends in the Hamptons, Berkshires and Jersey Shore. (The escapes used to begin on Friday afternoons.) Beating the traffic to have more time to lay back in shorts and flip-flops is as serious a commitment as beating last year’s sales figures during these holiday-like months.

Our current bi-county summer breather is especially welcome after a rough six months preceded by a challenging 2007. So here’s an idea that can help us secure more balance and smiles in our lives that in turn might make us more productive and, at the same time, provide a needed stimulus to our local economy. Forego that increasingly expensive trip to other countries, states or counties, and stay home. Not home-home, but here in Sarasota and Manatee, just not in our houses. How many times have we wished we could be a tourist slowly walking our beaches on a Monday or having a late lunch with a bottle of fine wine or leisurely enjoying a late dinner on a weekday night at one of our best restaurants? Or spending Tuesday afternoon at the Ringling Museum, chartering a fishing boat on Wednesday or playing a relaxed round of golf on Thursday?

With gas prices and the value of our dollar at ridiculous levels, vacationing in our own backyard makes a lot of sense. Reduced summer rates at our local hotels and resorts allow us to comfortably unwind close to home and cherry pick from our attractive vacation resources. And with all that we’ll be saving by not traveling, we can treat ourselves to some new fashion items and maybe a piece of jewelry and even some home furnishings we can fondly remember as bought on our memorable backyard vacation—which also helped our troubled local economy.

And let’s leave our BlackBerries at home.

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