One of the hardest realities we have to face as grown-ups is that we will never have another real summer vacation again. You will never again get two to three months of riding your bike in gangs with your friends, soaking up sun, reading books, playing softball every afternoon and getting on a first-name basis with the lifeguards at the outdoor pool.
But all is not lost! If you’re a hard worker — and we know you are — you deserve to call in sick every now and then. Now, it isn’t a great idea to use up all your sick time on things that aren’t being sick — that’s just asking for a month long flu in December. But we all need a little vitamin D, nature and/or non-computer time to keep up our mental health. Here are a few reasons to fake a case of food poisoning and experience summer.
1. SURFING IN SANTA CRUZ
You don’t have to be the girl from Blue Crush to catch a few waves. Just get yourself down to Santa Cruz! Any place worth its salt will have boards and wetsuits for you to use and if you sign up for surf lessons, you’ll be standing up before the end of the day. If you already have a little surfing knowledge, check the surf report to pick the optimal day for your illness and head down to Cowells for a nice manageable day in ocean. Bonus: you’ll be very hungry when you’re done. Best to hit up Cole’s BBQ on the way out of town, since you have just used up so many calories it is totally okay that you are eating a slab of cheese-covered garlic bread with your fries and ribs.
2. MOVIE DAY
Get up when you would usually go to work, grab some breakfast, and then get to the earliest movie — it might even be at 10:30 am. Matinees only cost $6! Here’s the trick though: don’t leave when that movie is done. Go to more movies! Go to all the movies! The Metreon in San Francisco recently underwent a huge remodel. Now there are tons of food choices so you don’t even have to leave the building for lunch. Bonus: no sunburn means no one will doubt your food poisoning story.
3. BIKE RIDE TO MARIN HEADLANDS
Just because the days of pre-teen bike gangs are over doesn’t mean you can’t have adventures on two wheels. Pack a picnic and take a ride over the Golden Gate Bridge up a (very serious) hill to the Marin Headlands. Don’t worry, it’s totally acceptable to walk your bike. Visit the Visitors Center or old military ruins and take pictures of yourself looking out over the Bridge and the city. Just don’t post them on Facebook.
4. WINE TASTING IN SONOMA
So, you aren’t the type to spend a day off getting sweaty or sitting alone in the dark. Avoid the Sideways crowd (and maybe your boss) and head for Sonoma, Napa’s prettier but less self-promoting cousin. Start with the Jacuzzi Family Winery, mainly because the building and grounds are so gorgeous you’ll feel like you took your sick day in Italy. Then, go wherever the spirit moves you! There a couple good lists of wineries in the area (here and here) but why not just drive down the road and check out the ones that look interesting? Extra points if you can get one of your children who is over 16 but under 21 to act as a designated driver.
5. CANOE ON THE RUSSIAN RIVER
If you already have a base tan and are not at risk of developing a suspicious sunburn, head out to Healdsburg and rent a canoe at River’s Edge Canoe and Kayak. All you have to do is make a reservation and they will bus you up the Russian River to a beach full of boats. Get in a boat and paddle downstream. Bring water and snacks and stop wherever you want. You’ll spend a couple hours on the water and then you can pull your boat up on shore and a strapping young man will put it away for you! Don’t forget to drive to Healdsburg for a meal and your weekly quota of cuteness.
6. LOOK FOR ELEPHANT SEALS AT ANO NUEVO STATE PARK
If a brush with wildlife is what you need, drive out to Año Nuevo State Park. If you get a permit at the Visitors Center, you can take a walk out to the elephant seals. If you haven’t seen elephant seals, you are missing out. In the right light, regular seals are little and cute. Even sea lions are a manageable size. But elephant seals are named after elephants first for a reason. Don’t be surprised if at first you mistake an elephant seal for a sand dune. Note: bring a windbreaker! It gets cold out there!
7. BOULDERING AT CASTLE ROCK
Want to practice climbing rocks without all those pesky ropes and anchors? Check out Castle Rock State Park, southwest of San Jose. It helps if you know a little about climbing so you can make sure you are doing it safely but once you get that taken care of (you’ve got to know SOMEONE who can help you), take a nice day trip. Just try not to hurt yourself, as that will be difficult to explain to your boss tomorrow.
8. SHUCK OYSTERS
Exercise, movies, sunshine and drinking are all fine but let’s get down to business: if you take a weekday off of work you might actually be able to get a reservation at Hog Island to shuck oysters! Oh, what’s Hog Island? Only an oyster farm in between Bodega Bay and Point Reyes where you can have a picnic and shuck oysters for three hours with all your closest friends. The problem: it’s really popular so you have to book months in advance. So book now! Call your friends and plan a sick day together! Just remember the important axiom of the “sick” day: Instagram no pictures, leave no oyster shells laying around if you are part of the carpool.
-By Lizzy Acker