Yesterday I looked outside my window and saw snow flurries. Thoughts of traveling to a sunny, exotic location, lying on a beach, sipping a cool mocktail or reading a book, began to fill my mind. Reality check. This is peak season to destinations like that and the costs of airfare, hotel, etc., would probably blow my travel budget into smithereens. It’s just a pipe dream. So, if this is your dilemma what can you do and where can you go? I propose a staycation.
I am especially fond of the holiday season, albeit cold. Usually around this time, my travel plans whether using bus, car or train, are limited to the Northeast for these simple reasons: It is a time to enjoy my colorful backyard, a time to give thanks, a time to enjoy Christmas, and a time to spend with family.
I live in the Hudson Valley and at this particular time of year it is a picturesque place to be. 70 miles north of New York city, you can begin to enjoy nature’s foliage as you drive along any of the major highways to the upstate suburbs. If you pack a lunch basket, don your walking boots, you can take your family on an outing to witness the explosive kaleidoscope of colorful leaves. Browns, reds, oranges, yellows splash across the mountainside and along the rippling Hudson River banks like Holi (the Hindu festival of colors). I especially like to take the ride up through the Taconic State Parkway or the Palisades Parkway. These two routes present some of the most advantageous views and scenic photo ops for both the professional and amateur photographer. Hiking on Bear Mountain and the many national parks that make up the Harriman State Park is another great way to witness the colorful leaves and explore the trails.
Do not feel left out if you live alone. Plan a surprise visit to a friend or family member and spend Thanksgiving or even Christmas with them. Choose a destination away from your town so you can see some different scenery. Drive half hour or more if you have to. I am not talking turkey when I tell you that I love Thanksgiving. On such occasions, I drive two and a half hours just to be with family. Here are my reasons why. Giving thanks is a priority when my family sits down together for our meal. We acknowledge in our daily devotions thanks to God for being our provider, sustainer, protector and redeemer. Thanksgiving day is no exception. When we gather at a pre-selected household to break bread, before laying into the delectable spread, every person present is afforded the opportunity to give thanks. Sincere expressions of thankfulness for: kindnesses received or given, thoughtfulness of and to others, love-in-action demonstrated by friends and family are often recited. The food, though mouth-watering, is not the priority, as one by one we tell each other why we are so thankful. Sometimes these moments can be very nostalgic, moving each other to tears (happy tears), or being outright hilarious. After all is said, one person says the corporate pray of thanks giving to God for us all and then we dig in. It is a beautiful, special moment with family.
Christmas is another favorite holiday of mine. If in the city, a great travel plan would be to attend a local concert. Many church choirs in the area renders the ageless Handel’s Messiah or the Hallelujah Chorus much to the delight of their audience. If you like the ballet, The Nutcracker is another staple performance for theater goers. I attend a choir concert or two just to enjoy the music of the season, but it begins for me much sooner than December. Every September 1st, I swap out all the music in my car to only play Christmas songs, carols and hymns as I drive. My friends think it is strange (you might think so too) to be playing this holiday music so early, but I think the month of December is not long enough for me to enjoy them. Besides, my quirk was adapted to de-stress after a long, hard day. The combination of listening to favorite carols, watching twinkling lights, feeling crisp cold air, and seeing snowflakes fall, helps to make my travels extra special as I whiz up and down the highways.
Although mentioned last, spending time with family is by far the most important reason for liking the holiday season, whether Thanksgiving or Christmas. Without the love of family and friends, and the ability to share with them, all the aforementioned would probably be less enjoyable. According to Statisticbrain.com it is estimated 39,000,000 people will travel this Thanksgiving day. I like the fact that travelers will crisscross the nation to see and be with their loved ones. Too much cannot be said about the value of being with family during this season. Quality time spent with the people you love and appreciate makes great, unforgettable memories later on.
Here’s a question for my blog followers and viewers. Do you have a favorite holiday plan you would like to share? Please let me know in the comment section below. I find your comments very interesting. Don’t be shy to drop me a note via my website, Google+, LinkedIn, or email. If you have gotten this far, thanks for reading.