Now that spring is nearly here, you’ve probably started planning your summer vacation. Have you ever stopped to think what vacations were like during other eras? Did you realize that there was a time when people did not vacation?
Leisure Time Becomes Acceptable
Prior to the mid-19th century, few people took vacations. For farmers, for example, the idea of taking time off was unthinkable because it wasn’t practical. Paid time off was not something offered by employers either, so the notion of taking time off to travel for fun wouldn’t have crossed most people’s minds.
In addition, religious leaders and society frowned on leisure as being frivolous and unnecessary.
The word vacation originated in the Middle Ages. It was related to the word “vacate” and meant freedom from something. It wasn’t until modern times that it came to mean freedom from work.
The Affluent Summer Home
In the early 20th century, the wealthy abandoned their homes in the city and took up residence in summer homes. In places like Newport, Rhode Island, the wealthy built what they called cottages. Today, we would call them mansions. They contained dozens of rooms and were run by large staffs of servants.
The wealthy also traveled to resorts in the wilderness where they pretended to rough it.
The Middle Class Week Away
The middle class couldn’t afford to leave the city all summer, but they could afford to get away for a week.
Popular destinations included mountain hotels, islands, beach resorts, and national parks. The construction of railroad lines made access to faraway spots possible during a short timeframe.
The Working Class Day Off
The working class, if they were lucky, could afford to take a day off. Usually they saved all year for a break at an amusement park or the beach.
What is your favorite vacation spot? Leave a comment below.
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