phpgRb81fPMThis week, I asked parents of college bound kids to describe their empty nest dream vacations. Most couldn’t shed the idea of finally having a quiet home to themselves. While there are decades of exciting travel plans ahead, the Staycation is the first “trip” of choice for many empty nesters. Here’s 5 Staycation “musts”, along with some exciting Pittsburgh examples that might have you looking at a Pittsburgh destination vacation real soon.

#1. Find your local celebrity roots. 

Every town and city can lay claim to a celebrity if they dig deep enough. Find your local claim to fame and tour related landmarks and museums. Pittsburgh has Andy Warhol, Mr. Rogers, and August Wilson. The Warhol Museum is a not-to-be-missed treat, chock-full of Jackie O, soup cans, and every unique angle Andy explored (including his cookie jar collection!). A slice of the Big Apple in Pittsburgh, it’s a museum that won’t disappoint.

#2. Act and be treated like royalty.

You don’t have to stay in a hotel to enjoy what they have to offer. Dress up a little (or not) and find the closest destination for high tea. No kids whining about microscopic sandwich sizes or cucumber dislike. There might even be a glass of champagne involved. Pittsburgh’s Omni William Penn Hotel boasts a lovely afternoon tea Monday through Saturday that’ll never make you feel like a lady-in-waiting.
#3. Focus on pampering and health.

Spa moments can be relaxing and cost-effective if you do them on a day-cation basis.About 70 miles from Pittsburgh, nestled in the Laurel Highlands, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort offers 5-star and 5-diamond travel opulence, and an internationally acclaimed spa. Massage away your troubles, glamorize your eyes, or catch a couples’ facial at the Woodlands Spa. Follow up with a stroll around Chateau Lafayette (inspired by the Ritz Paris) and a $45+ million private art collection that boasts Tiffany Studios, J.J. Audubon and Toulouse-Lautrec. 

#4. Identify unique food options.

Remember when it was all about highchairs and coloring placemats? Find the Ukranian Food Festival or other unique ethnic food tasting opportunities. Go to the restaurant you knew the kids couldn’t handle. Or go to their favorite one and toast your parental success. The days of sippy cups may be over, but there are plenty of dining adventures ahead. A few of my Pittsburgh Favorites: The Greek Food Festival, Mallorca, Taj Mahal, and Ali Baba. PS: When I’m whining about my weight, please do not remind me of these suggestions.

#5. Slow down and walk. 

After years of running from one soccer field to the next, you’ve probably lost sight of the opportunities around you. Reconnect with your geography and your partner and friends. Take to the rivers, mountains, fields, or desert and find the beauty. Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers’ Heritage Trail System includes 21 miles of opportunities to enjoy the city’s rivers and parks. From walking to biking and skating, the trails are also wheelchair accessible.

Enjoy your Staycation and then visit Pittsburgh!