Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why We All Need More Day Trips

   First of all, let me apologize for the length of time between posts. I hope to make two new posts happen every week. Of course, some weeks become crazier than others and we end up with less time to fulfill our goals. But here we are at a new post! So please except my apology and enjoy.

   As I often say, we are a people on the move with little time to make "quality" time. The goal of my blog is to give helpful tips and answer questions my friends have, so that we may add special things to our lives that create quality time. One thing that if revived would give us all a "quality of life" increase is the day trip. You may remember these from your more youthful days as things you did with your grandparents. Day trips are fun at any age for any age depending on the destination itself. They do not need to be an all day thing lasting from 6 in the morning until 9 at night. They don't even have to be expensive. A day trip doesn't have to involve a large group of people either. You can take one all by yourself! They just have to be pleasant excursions that get you out of your house. Here are a few examples that I hope give you some ideas for a fun outing or several.

1) When I was about 7 or 8, my mother's parents, Nana and Papa took my brother and I to a monastery about an hour away from our homes in the city. We spent a few hours walking the gardens and chasing each other on the lawns. There were shady trees to rest under and trails to explore. I remember several of the statues in the gardens around the house and that there was a shrine to the Virgin Mother on top of a hill nearby a reflecting pool. After that Nana and Papa took Adam and I out to lunch and then home to our parents.
 The monastery is now sold off and the land was used for subdivisions. I don't think the house even stands any longer. But the memories do carry on nearly 20 years later. That's some quality time!

2) Early last month I coordinated a picnic at a local farm with some friends. It was an ideal early October day and the five of us, plus Kathryn and Mike's puppy Arwen, had a wonderful time! The farm hosts a weekend farmer's market with a bluegrass band and cider donuts, hayrides, apple picking, and a petting zoo to boot. There was plenty to keep us enterained after we had a nice long picnic lunch (We used an old china dinner service I got at a yard sale to help stay "green" and look really elegant too.). There was no admission fee or parking fee so one just had to pay for whatever was picked or had to have at the market. After food for the picnic, cider donuts, food for the animals in the petting zoo, and apple picking I don't think our group spent more than $60.00. And for several hours of entertainment for five people that's money pretty well spent.

3) Last summer I had a day off from work and nothing to do at home. I didn't have a lot of money, so shopping was not a viable option. I didn't know what to do with myself that morning and ended up making a big breakfast. As I chomped that down it occurred to me that I might find some diversions in nearby Portsmouth. I looked online and found that the Wentworth-Coolidge mansion was still opened for tours.
 The place itself is on a charmingly rural dirt road not ten minutes from downtown Porstmouth. When I arrived and found the ticket counter, I was told that New Hampshire residents may tour the mansion for free, quite the pleasant surprise. The was a large group that had started a tour ten minutes before I got there and so I was given the option to join their tour or have a private one. Do I have to tell you I chose the latter?
 Being a history major, I was enthralled to tour the house and hear the stories of the families that had lived there. Since it was a private tour I was able to speak with the guide and focus on certains rooms and articles that really interested me. After my tour was completed I walked the gardens where I found century old Lilac bushes still blooming and an art gallery in the old carriage house.
 I wrapped up my excursion with a side trip to downtown for some tea and people watching. It was a worthwhile afternoon that cost me hardly anything!

4) In early September I took a weekend trip to Albany to visit two wonderful friends of mine. On Saturday Richard and Fred took me to an antique show/flea market about an hour away in Saratoga on the old county fairgrounds. We spent maybe five hours visiting vender after vender (There were well over 150 to peruse) and ended up with a couple treasures for our collections. I remember Fred found a really nice ceramic rooster for the kitchen. Richard got some sheet music. I left the fair with a wooden pedestal for a bronze statue I had at home.
 The fair offered several different, but equally and delightfully greasy, food vendors to choose from. Richard and Fred took me to their "Schnitzel Man" and I had German food for one of the few times in my life; Delicious!
 Our trip fed both or collections and our conversations for the rest of my trip. Aside from the antiques we had to have and the Schnitzel, the only other costs to bare were for tickets and gas to get there. It made for a great day trip!

   And so there are some examples of memorable, and somewhat recent, day trips that I've been lucky enough to enjoy. These trips are a wonderful way to get away from the house without dealing with airport security and keep within budget. I really recommend that if you have out of town guests to entertain or family to spend time with, or friends to reconnect with, or an afternoon by yourself that you go online and look up local attractions in your area. Get out of your house and make some memories! Even if you only walk the beach or local trails or call up a few friends to play ball in the park, those thing will make for good memories and true quality time for yourself and your loved ones. So go out and enjoy!

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