Small Scale Adventures: Discovering What Your City & State Have to Offer

Cookies local adventuresAll Gates Lead to Texas

We live near enough to the MSP airport that we can hear all the planes taking off and landing just about every hour of the day and night. As I write this very sentence I'm listening to what sounds like a jumbo jet taking off on its way to somewhere.

When Darling 1 was younger, we had an inside joke about the airplanes taking off. Every time we asked him where one of the ascending planes was headed, Darling 1 would always say, "Texas"; which has always been his destination when flying.

We rarely go on vacation, and when we do leave town it's usually to go to Texas to visit family. And truth be told, even those trips are few and far between. It's not that we're opposed to travel or can't steal away from work and the daily humdrum for a trip to refuel or get our fill of family fun. No, it's simply a matter of cost.

Staying in the Budget

The price of airfare or gas, hotel, meals, boarding the dogs, entertainment, etc. adds up quickly. This is not a cost that fits into our budget. That doesn't mean we don't get out of the house and have adventures. We do.

We happen to live in a metropolitan area with no shortage of things to do, but I've also lived in smaller, more rural areas, too. And, really, the same rules apply. No matter where you live, there are adventures to be had; exploring to be done; food to be tried; and lessons to be learned. I firmly believe this, and have been putting this tenet into practice my whole life.

Life's an Adventure

As I have mentioned in previous posts, my family loved to go on mini excursions throughout the state of Texas during my childhood; all of them involving food along the way. As I got older, I did the same with DH.

Since meeting over 16 years ago, DH and I have lived in 4 states and had 7 different addresses {before meeting me, DH had lived at one address for most of his life}. In each of the areas, once the boxes were off the truck, we started exploring. We've found amazing hole-in-the-wall joints, parks, shops, bistros, bakeries and whole neighborhoods that locals didn't even know about or hadn't bothered to try.

The point is this: You can turn an ordinary day into an extraordinary one just by trying a thing or two you never have, even if it's in your own neighborhood, city or state. We often do this as a family: a trip to a new café or an excursion to the Iron Range or Duluth or an apple orchard, a berry patch, a farmers' market, a fest of some sort, etc. We may not be able to afford a trip to Florida, New York or Hawaii, but we can create fun memories and family traditions no matter where we are.

The Quest

My mom was visiting from Texas last week. I had a writing assignment involving cookies. So, last Friday, the Darlings, my mom and I piled into the minivan and set out on our hunt for fabulous cookies. A few days prior to this I had tweeted and posted on Facebook asking for opinions about the best cookies around. I got a great response to my query; ah, the power of social media....but I digress.

Based on those suggestions and my own knowledge of area baked goods {which is pretty darn good}, with GPS app and notebook in hand, we headed off on our quest. We visited 7 locations in 6.5 hours. We were quite determined in our search, but we had lots of fun with much laughing and a bit of a sugar high by the end.

Our adventure took us to locations and 'hoods I'd never been in the 8 years of living in the Twin Cities. Not only did we try new bakeries, we also found other shops, restaurants and areas that I've heard of, but never knew exactly where they were; or some places I hadn't heard of, but looked interesting enough for me to take note of to go back another day. All in all, it was a day that we will all look back on with fondness and chuckle about.

Local Exploring

Now a local quest doesn't have to take 6 hours or involve going to so many locations, but the beauty of it is that you can choose to go or do whatever you want to do and spend as little as an hour or as much as a whole weekend or however much time you have. It could even be an ongoing excursion; say, once a month, visit a new pizza joint or a different museum in the area.

The Scoop

If you don't have the funds or time to leave on a jet plane don't despair. I'm betting there's a thing or two you haven't experienced in your area. There's no time like the present. Now go find an adventure.

If you need help in finding things to do in your area, remember the Internet is your friend. You can find just about anything on the World Wide Web, but another great resource is any printed publication about your area. I would love to hear about your exploring. Drop me a line if this or something else inspires you to go on an excursion.

Oh, and if you live in the Twin Cities and want to find out more about adventures I recommend, check out WCCO's Best of Series for some of my articles and many other Best of Resources. The one that took us all over town tasting cookies will be up in early May. Over and out...


You might also like:

Blowing Bubbles in the Wind: Giving an Idea a Chance at Life

Gastronomical Adventures: Favorite Eats Part 1

Culinary Adventures: Favorite Eats Part 2


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