Different than a staycation, my brand of home holiday would be a way to fill a long summer day in a unique way. Sure, I could take them on one-off trips to get ice cream, swim or play in the park. But I thought there might be something to making a day of it.
We committed to the vacation theme by ditching our car, bringing our bikes and swimsuits and an explorer's attitude.
My kids quickly grasped the concept: "Can we go out to breakfast?" asked Jack, 10. Of course, I answered, because that's what you do on vacation.
"Yes! And we can have Coke. Because it's a special day," added Luke, 8.
Holladay Boulevard and Murray Holladay Road formed the T-shaped spine of our trip, for good reason: They're filled with local restaurants and public amenities all within easy biking distance. There are lots of possible itineraries—add a picnic in the park, a pedicure or different restaurant stops. Tack on a concert — free ones start Saturday at the park behind City Hall. Here's how we spent our recent June day:
We parked and ate at Holladay Village, a block of two-story red brick buildings with a clock tower that faces a gray-and-white-bricked pedestrian-only plaza. It stands at the heart of Holladay's commercial district on Holladay Boulevard, with restaurants with outdoor seating facing construction sites that will be home to a new Harmons grocery store and luxury condos.
We ate at 3 Cups, the neighborhood coffee and pastry shop, where working professionals and boisterous families are welcome in the space decorated with a black-and-white palette. There's something for everyone: the house-made lemon poppy sweet buns and pear lavender scones for kids and a savory spinach and gruyère morning tart topped with a soft-boiled egg for me.
Sing and swing
You probably wouldn't look up the library toddler time schedule while on a real vacation, but our home holiday required places to escape the heat. We biked down Murray Holladay Road to the Holladay Library, and Margot, my almost-3-year-old, spent a half-hour dancing, singing and learning about farm animals.
We biked back to the park behind City Hall. Half the playground is covered in large shades, but we could still only stand about 20 minutes playing on the swings and zip line in the early afternoon sun.
Ditching four wheels for two, with biking's relaxed pace and remove from routine, is crucial to the vacation vibe. We borrowed a locally owned Madsen Cycles cargo bike, which has a bucket in the back with four seat belts — perfect for carrying Margot and our swimsuits, sunscreen and water. While we like to bike, we likely never would have traveled around Holladay that way without our tourism goal. Had my kids been better cyclists, we could have taken advantage of the bike lanes on Holladay Boulevard and meandered among the mansions. Instead, we stuck to the sidewalks on our route, veering off here and there to check out surrounding neighborhoods.