This holiday season, try a DIY “Staycation,” and Discover It Yourself in Downtown Davis. As Davis resident Kyle Monhollen uncovered this fall, there are treasures around every corner. Below, Kyle describes the unexpected rewards of his adventure with his wife and two daughters:
This summer my friend Nina wrote an article announcing our family’s intention to take a Staycation - a vacation without leaving town. Our plans conflicted first with Lance Armstrong, then with an army of parents delivering mini-fridges and high school graduates to UC Davis. So our summer Staycation finally took place in the first days of autumn, but this is Davis so it might as well be July until October, right? Staycation, 2011, woo-hoo!
Due to soccer schedules we didn’t accomplish everything on our list (sorry U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame), but we still painted the town in fine fashion. We started by checking into the University Park Inn, then took a walk Downtown for lunch. On our way, we visited our pal Nina who was hosting the Indie Davis craft fair, showcasing talented locals who are doing their best to make Downtown a creative, community-minded destination.
Eventually we wandered back to the hotel for a swim. A few cannonballs and warm towels later we were showered and ready to walk back Downtown for dinner and ice cream. Soccer, swimming and all that walking made for a satisfying day and early night by vacation standards.
Sunday started with a run for Amy, and cartoons and continental breakfast in pajamas for the rest of us. The morning culminated in brunch—coffee, carbohydrates and crayons at Café Italia—the perfect thing to sustain another leisurely afternoon downtown. We stopped by Outdoor Davis, Fleet Feet, Alphabet Moon and Avid Reader, and that was just 2nd Street. We paid a visit to Cultivé for some frozen yogurt and Peet’s Coffee for further sustenance. Our weekend ended with a late matinee complete with the big bucket of popcorn and contraband licorice.
Our decision to vacation at home was initially financial, influenced by the gift cards and coupons for Downtown businesses we had accumulated. We spent less than $200 out of pocket for a weekend “away”—food, lodging, entertainment and a new pair of shoes. But the value of goods and services purchased Downtown was easily three times that, and money we might have spent elsewhere.
In terms of contributing to the local economy I realize this is small change, but there is a bigger payoff.
My eight year old begged and pleaded to visit Alphabet Moon, what for her must be the epicenter of Davis. Then, while sitting in our booth waiting for French toast her pleading turned playful, asking instead “Do you think this town has a toy store?”
The question, even in the context of tourist role-play, put her in a reflective mood. “Other towns don’t have an Alphabet Moon,” she pointed out. “Every town has big stores but Alphabet Moon is only in Davis and that makes it special.”
The wheels continued turning. “Shouldn’t we buy things only at Alphabet Moon,” she wondered, “wouldn’t that make them more special?”
Yes it would, but not nearly as special as hearing my child discover the very idea that could sustain the heart of our town.
-- Kyle Monhollen, Davis resident