Springtime has me thinking about summer plans and travel. I definitely want to venture outside of Maine this summer, I haven’t left Maine since 2020! Traveling can be tough though. It’s expensive, takes some planning and you need to be able to take time off from work. That is not always easy.
So, I thought I would share tips for exploring your own city. I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know my hometown and the surrounding area better, especially these last couple of years. Believe it or not, you can still find joy and adventure close to home!
Eat Someplace New
We’re all guilty of wanting to dine at our favorite places. It can be expensive to go out to eat and you don’t want to be disappointed in your experience. When you travel you have to try new places and things to eat so why not do this in your own city? Try doing a search of “Top restaurants” in your town, or “hidden gems”. If you’ve always wanted to try a certain cuisine, do it! Push yourself to go a bit out of your comfort zone.
Ask Where to Go
I always love to hear what people like to do around here. Every Monday it’s the hot topic among my colleagues; How was your weekend? Do anything fun? By asking these questions I’ve heard about new cocktail bars, gallery openings and forgotten favorites like going bowling. When you live somewhere you forget how much fun it is to grab some beers and play skee ball at the arcade.
Be a “Tourist”
What are the places and things to do that you recommend to others who visit your town? Maine is full of beautiful lighthouses so that it is always one of my must sees when people visit. Are there museums in your area that you haven’t visited lately? Art installations are always changing.
Look at your local events calendar to see what might be going on near you. Couldn’t make it to Italy this year but there’s an Italian wine tasting at your local market? Grab a friend and go go go! Another thing that I like to do is check out blogs.(big surprise right?) It’s always fun to see what other people recommend to do in your area. Like going to eat a lobster roll from the food truck at Fort Williams while checking out Portland Head Light! When you start to think like a tourist you may be surprised at what you discover.
Check Out a Sports Event
You may do this already, show support the home team. Try attending a sporting event that you normally wouldn’t. For example, if you love cheering on the baseball team but have never attended a basketball game give it a shot. Be open to trying new things and you may discover a whole new side of your city!
Support the Arts
If you are fortunate enough to have a theater company or playhouse near you that is amazing. What a great way to spend an evening or afternoon. Supporting young thespians is also a fun way to get out and explore your city. Many middle and high schools put on amazing performances and you are giving back to your local community by attending. Also, don’t shy away from the opera. It’s a great opportunity to dress up a bit (although it’s not a requirement) and experience something that is truly powerful and impressive. Opera singers are amazing and I promise you will not be dissapointed.
Explore the Outdoors
Do you have a wonderful trail system in your area? Set a goal to complete a certain number of hikes or bike trails. It’s a great to explore your area in a different way. Getting out on the water is another way to explore your city in a different way. You can kayak to places that you can’t walk to! Many towns have groups that get together to enjoy the great outdoors. If you are into meeting new people while exploring your area see if there is a meetup group near you! In Maine there is a site called Fit Maine that has a social group.
Learn About the History of Your City
When exploring some place new I love to learn as much as I can about the area. You can do the same in your own town. The city where I live play in intrical part in WWII by helping to build Liberty ships from 1941 to 1945, employing about 30,000 workers, including some 3,700 women. Portland, Maine just across the bay from me,has burned to the ground multiple times and is nicknamed The Phoenix. Portland was also part of the Underground Railroad. When you look, you are surrounded by history and everywhere tells a story.
Stay at a Local Hotel or Bed & Breakfast
A great way to explore your city and make you feel like you are on vacation is to stay at a local hotel or B&B. Being able to “get away” for an evening is something that can make you feel like you truly are on a vacation even if you are in your own city.
Remember there are adventures to have no matter how near or far you physically go. Enjoy exploring!