(Mirror) The word staycation is a portmanteau of stay and vacation. Supposedly the term was first used in the Canadian television show “Corner Gas” in 2005, however the Merriam-Webster dictionary cites the earliest use of the term in the Cincinnati Enquirer, July 18, 1944. 

Wherever and whenever it originated, the term, and its variations - nearcation, holistay and daycation - became widely used in the U.S. in 2008 as the summer travel season began with gas prices reaching record highs, leading many people to cut back on expenses including travel. 

With air travel becoming more expensive and awkward, with added fees for just about anything (I swear Spirit Air is going to start installing straps and handrails like subways instead of seats) and gas prices fluctuating by the day in reaction to President Trump’s tweets, staying home and planning day trips to local attractions makes even more sense, especially since we live in one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world.

Folks travel for a variety of reasons: entertainment, to see the sights or just to relax and be pampered. Here are some staycation suggestions you can mix and match to create the staycation experience you want.

Less than an hour’s drive north, at Eau Resort in Palm Beach(www.eaupalmbeach.com), you can book a two-night stay spa package that includes a deluxe room, customized health-conscious meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a choice of two fitness classes daily, an afternoon "mocktail hour" featuring healthy smoothies for two, a choice of massage or facial and daily access for two to Eau Spa zones, bath lounges, and garden. 

It’s not cheap, but luxury seldom is. Booking this package mid-week will run about $3,000 a couple. A similar deal is available at The Pelican Grand Resort (). Of course, you can book your spa treatments without an overnight stay and bring down the costs considerably, while still getting the use of the resort facilities.

If you’d prefer an all-male environment, many of the area’s guest houses and resorts offer spa treatments. Booking spa treatments usually also includes access to the resort’s pool and other amenities. Most also offer day passes, should you just want to lounge by the pool and have some eye-candy. Check with each location for its guidelines. The Grand Resort and Spa(www.grandresort.net) offers discounts to Florida residents and spa packages and midweek discounts, such as 15 percent off a Grand Signature scrub or organic coconut oil and sugar scrub and a free express manicure with the purchase of an extreme ultimate pedicure, and it’s a short walk to Sebastian Beach. 

The Cabanas Guesthouse (www.thecabanasguesthouse.com) and its spa offer a wide range of amenities including two pools, a hot tub, some rooms overlooking the intracoastal, and an aroma therapy steam room. The cozy day spa offers an expansive array of treatments and a variety of packages, such as its honeymoon package (for two, obviously) for $297, which consists of pairs of sixty-minute massages, anti-aging facials, full body exfoliation with body wraps and lunch salads as well as a dozen roses, a crudité tray and a gift package featuring Babor for men products. This package includes an overnight stay in a standard queen room. If you prefer to just lounge by the pool, day passes, which include use of all of the resort’s facilities, are $20.

Pineapple Point Guesthouse (www.pineapplepoint.com) doesn’t offer a slick modern experience, instead it revels in its history as a 1930s old world Florida property. The owners, Judd and Phil, rebuilt and restored the unique architecture, adding modern conveniences while keeping the feeling of Bogie and Bacall in Key Largo. While the guesthouse does not have a spa, it does offer on-site massage in its studio and personal training sessions in its gym. Day passes are good from 10-5 and are $25 daily, except Saturdays when they are $50 and include a poolside barbecue, wine and beer. 

If you’d prefer a bit more education in your staycation, check out some of the area’s local cultural attractions. Boca Raton’s Morikami Gardens(www.morikami.org) began as a tomato farm owned and operated in the early days of the 20thcentury as the Yamato Colony, a small community of Japanese immigrants. Prosperity during World War I and the land “boom” of the 1920s resulted in many of the settlers leaving. By the beginning of World War II, few Japanese remained.  

In May of 1942, farmland in the Yamato area still owned by Japanese settlers was confiscated by the U.S. government for a military installation. In the mid-70s, one of the last remaining settlers, George Morikami, donated his land to Palm Beach County with the wish for it to become a park to preserve the memory of the Yamato Colony. The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens opened in 1977 and serves as a shrine to the original settlers. Plan at least four hours to tour the gardens, visit the museum and, of course, have lunch in the incredible on-site sushi restaurant. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., admission is $15, $13 for seniors. 

Other museums to visit celebrating Fort Lauderdale’s rich cultural heritage include attractions and events that honor its multicultural heritage; the African American Research Library and Cultural Center and Old Dillard Museumand the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum(www.ahtahthiki.com) where you can learn about the Seminoles’ way of life in the late 1800s and wander nature trails through a recreated Seminole village. The International Swimming Hall of Fame (www.ishof.org) on A1A is a shrine to renowned swimmers and water polo players and features a collection of memorabilia and Olympic Gold medals of famous swimmers. Bonnet House(www.bonnethouse.org), like its sister property to the north, Hugh Taylor-Birch Park, was a grand estate, but now serves as a museum dedicated to historic and environmental preservation and creative expression. 

So much of what the Stonewall National Museum(www.stonewall-museum.org) does takes place behind the scenes in the archives, but you can always catch  new exhibits as well as regular displays at its Gallery Space on Wilton Drive. While you’re in the area, be certain to pay a visit to the World AIDS Museum(www.worldaidsmuseum.org).

Looking for thrills and chills? Take an air-boat ride in the Everglades or, for something a little more laid back, hop on the water taxi and learn the history of the grand houses along the intracoastal. 

Of course, if all else fails, you can always visit one of the many casinos in the area or the horse races at Gulfstream Park.

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March Mirror Travel Stories