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What's your "go-to" when on vacation? Something you have to do, no matter where you are?

missyrcrews

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I'm at Rangeley Lakes Resort this week. This is admittedly VERY different from my usual timesharing stay, but I love to come here! I think that part of why I'm enjoying it so much is because I can still do several of my Go-To vacation activities, even though I'm in the wilds of Maine. I do not fish. Or hike. Or swim. And I'm still soaking up every minute of my time here! Here are a few of the things I always try to do, no matter where I'm at. This list has evolved over the years...used to have things like "playgrounds" and "swimming holes" on it. :)

1) Thrifting: I am not too proud to wear or use somebody else's hand me arounds. :) This morning, I hit up the Lutheran Church's Thrift Shoppe here in town. I have lots of new to me clothes, and the total was $14. There are several other thrift stores in the area to enjoy.

2) Bookstores: preferably used books. (see above!) I don't think I ever pass up a bookstore. There's always something new to discover inside.

3) Museums: Today I discovered the Stanley Museum in Kingfield. So fun! I also dearly love town historical societies. This area has several of both kinds...lots of history to learn!

4) Farmstands and/or coffee shops: I try to watch for parking lots full of in-state plates. These types of spots are great fun to just sit and listen...one really gets a feel for the place. <3

5) If the timing works out right, I like to find a church (of my denomination sometimes...and sometimes not!) and worship there. There's much that is the same, but the regional differences are interesting as well.

What are some things that you enjoy doing, no matter where you find yourself timesharing?
 

ScoopKona

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1) Thrifting -- but only if the area makes sense. There are thrifts here in Hawaii. And a couple of them have a nice array of Aloha shirts -- even some of the vintage flammable kind. But most of the things I tend to buy at thrift stores either can't be found here, or are such low quality/beat-to-the-very-end-of-their-lifespan that it's basically a waste of time. Santa Barbara on the other hand, has never let me down -- Le Creuset enameled cast iron, induction cookers, a commercial "UFO" burger maker, straight from Korea. (Soon to be available at a farm in Hawaii.) And the biggest haul of vinyl records in my life happened at a thrift store in Carbondale, Colorado. (Also bought a mandoline there.)

2) Farm stands and/or food trucks and/or night markets and/or "joints." Fine dining is fine. But what really impresses me is someone who can take cheap ingredients and turn it into something amazing. It takes no skill to make Kobe beef and foie gras taste amazing. Whacking cheap cuts of meat at a night market and turning that into something sublime is far more impressive. This is where I go to poach recipes. I've never come back from a vacation without at least one dish to add to my bag of tricks.

3) Concerts. We always try to find a show on vacation. One of the best was the day we hopped off the train in London; passed by the Albert Hall for tomorrow's Roger Hodgson show. And the marquee read, "Tonight only, Mark Knopfler." There were precisely two tickets -- one near the front row. One in the last row. "You're the world's biggest Dire Straits fan. Take the good seat. I'll sit in the back and enjoy the ambiance." So that's what we did. And then we went back the next day for some Supertramp songs. (Roger signed one of my albums. Not bad.)

4) Museums, cathedrals, castles, universities -- any place that has old, interesting art and artifacts.

5) Pubs, wineries and breweries. We build entire vacations around this. Still need to go to Plzen for the ultimate zenith of this kind of traveling.
 

klpca

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What a fun topic.

1. Breweries. We go to a local brewery everywhere we travel. It's fun to taste local brews. Even if our local favorites show up as guest taps in other breweries, our rule of thumb is to get something that we can't get at home. The vibe is always friendly.

2. We also travel with a cribbage board and we always play during our trip. I used to fancy that I was winning on an overall basis, but the law of averages seems to have kicked in and it's been evening out lately. When we travel with friends, euchre is the game of choice.

3. Hiking or city walking. The pace is perfect for seeing what is around you. Some of our most memorable travel memories have been from hiking/walking. We tried to make a list of all of the hikes we have done throughout the years but gave up because it got too long. We don't hike in Mexico (it mostly has to do with our personal rule of being able to get ourselves out of a pickle and between the language barrier and the heat, Mexican hiking feels less than ideal). Otherwise, we hike everywhere we go.

Btw, the last time that we visited our daughter I found a "mexican" blanket in a local thrift store for $7. I have been looking for something to use to make lap blankets for when we sit outside in the evenings to keep our legs warm but hadn't found anything. It was perfect and I was thrilled!
 

artringwald

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Biking. I like to rent a bike to explore the area. I also like to take photos, and a bike make it easy to go places where a car can't easily maneuver. I also enjoy tours where you bike down a mountain. I've gone down Waimea Canyon several times, and did two bike tours in Alaska.
 

clifffaith

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I seek out local bakeries and sweet shops. Still kicking myself that we were in freaking Nanaimo years before I heard there was such thing as a Nanaimo bar! We will check to see if any of the small restaurants appearing on Diners, DriveIns and Dives are close by. I am a sucker for folk art so we like artisan markets and shops with cunning dust collectors. Historic homes and museums large and small are always on our to do lists. When traveling to Europe I pre-Google “music in historic places” — it is so cool to spend extended time in venues we might otherwise rush through to get on to our next stop. My favorite was listening to the Four Seasons in Paris at Sainte Chapelle.
 

marmite

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I agree. A fun topic but depends on the location, so I don't do all these things all the time (except number 3).

1. Any beach place I will be seeking out snorkelling spots. I'm not a beach person, I'm an ocean person!

2. Cities with ancient and beautiful architecture I will seek out somewhere that combines a great museum or other collection inside of a beautiful building. I also have a bucket list of paintings I'd like to see, so that might drive me to a certain museum even if the architecture isn't amazing. I usually have a plan for what I want to see, and get in line way before it opens. I love being one-on-one with a great masterpiece before the crowds arrive.

3. Food is a big category, but seeking out regional foods and kitchen-tools for wherever we are is always part of our plan. If there is no new-to-us regional cuisine to track down, then even going to a chain-restaurant only found in that one state might do the trick. Usually we have the most fun in Europe or Asia putting together our own food-tour and snacking on a specific cheese, pastry, crab-soup etc. Even locally made food items that are easy to pack (coffee, chocolate, stollen) are great to seek out, so we do local grocery shopping even if we're not cooking while we're there. I love kitchen tools, especially for making specific dishes. In Russia I even had our guide help me find a pelmeni maker, only to later discover I could have bought one on Amazon. :) So sometimes it doesn't work out and takes up precious luggage space.

4. Is watch-thrifting a thing? Provided it is a city destination, we always hit up the watch stores that have both new and used watches (stores that are well recommended by the watch community). Sometimes we walk away with something, but often not. It is so fun to see the latest styles or unique movements in person, as well as older pieces that I've only seen in photos before. I love men's watches, so often I am a helpful-shopping assistant for my DH but don't end up with anything for myself.
 
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rickandcindy23

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Our friend got us doing jigsaw puzzles on our trips. It's relaxing and fun.

The same friends love to play Ticket to Ride, and we take it most every trip with the kids, older grandkids, and friends. We didn't bring it along this trip.

We also love Pinochle with couples. We take other card games for the grandkids to play with us as well. Here in Myrtle Beach, our granddaughter is enjoying our afternoons together with just us, while the babies are taking naps. We are playing Cover Your Assets--a card game, also Uno, Skip Bo and Eye Found It, which is a Disney card game where you search for items on your cards. So fun.

Because we go to beach locations for almost every trip, I like to seek out a good restaurant for fish and chips. It's a bit of an indulgence because the calories are crazy high on that meal.
 

HikerBiker

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I always enjoy your posts! We spend most of our time hiking and walking in the area we’re staying. When we’re not on the trails, we visit libraries; they are such a source of information, books, cds, videos, use of computers,and local history. In the past, we would use the computers to print our boarding passes. Also, there are often authors speaking or other special presentations. Even though it’s a quiet atmosphere, people there are so friendly and helpful. My husband takes a picture (the architecture and history of the building is interesting) and posts it in a notebook, and writes about our experiences there. Last year, a tugger posted about passes you are able to get and use in the area with no or minimal charges. In the past, we searched for biking trails and biked. When inside, we play Quiddler and when friends visit, we play Qwixx. Oh, we always have reading material with us and read.
 

missyrcrews

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@rickandcindy23, I've started bringing a puzzle as well! I begin it the first night, and the goal is to finish it before the end of the week. This is something I could have never accomplished when I was traveling with littles, but now it fits! I can't handle much more than 300 pieces....my attention span is too short...so I watch for them at stores through the year and nab when I see them, since that piece count can be hard to find. And I just noticed you are going to Estes Park next month. Caught my eye, because at the little museum I was at yesterday, one of the Stanleys spent his summers in Estes Park (and built the Stanley Hotel, where the Shining was filmed!) Have fun with your family in Myrtle Beach!

And @HikerBiker, I hadn't thought of libraries. Of course, I frequent the one at home...but I wouldn't have thought to check the ones in the towns I travel to. One of the things that I dearly adore about New England is that EVERY little burg has a library!
 

rickandcindy23

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You will all get a chuckle out of this one. Rick and I went to Williamburg years ago and I saw my first red cardinal. Rick didn't see it. I saw several that trip, Rick saw none. Never did he see a red cardinal until 3 days ago. We were walking around the little turtle pond here at Sheraton Broadway to go to our kids' unit for dinner, and Rick heard a pretty birdsong, and he turned to see a red cardinal on the bush just 50 feet into our walk. He got a picture and it was a thrill for him, really for both of us. We have no red cardinals in Colorado. We have blue jays, but maybe the altitude is just too high for cardinals, I have no idea.
 

BM243923

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We own at the Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. As soon as we arrive we bring our stuff into our unit and then head to Primanti Brothers for traditional hot dog and fries. We have done that since we bought in 2006.
 

bjones9942

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I like to hop on public transportation and ride it to the end of the line. I get to see a lot more of the places I'm at - and a lot of areas that tourists don't typically see too.
 

easyrider

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One thing I like no matter what resort we go to is decent internet and a deck. We also try to buy something unique , strange or swanky at thrift shops , gift shops or estate sales which we display on a wall or shelf. My wife collects Christmas ornaments from different places.

We play it by ear regarding activities but occasionally we do plan a trip around an event like a wedding, fishing, Jeeping or whatever. We get pretty lucky regarding unplanned happenings and events on our trips.

Bill
 

b2bailey

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I like to hop on public transportation and ride it to the end of the line. I get to see a lot more of the places I'm at - and a lot of areas that tourists don't typically see too.
My funny story -- regarding riding bus to end of line.

Many years ago, when it was safe to travel to Acapulco, I owned a unit there and was on a solo trip. I caught a bus in town (one of those individually owned and decorated) and rode to the end of the line, planning to ride it back into town.

At the end of the line, I was the only passenger remaining.
The driver turned and asked: "Do you want to come to my house?"

I replied, "no thank you" , jumped off the bus and ended up walking the beach quite a distance to get back to town.
 

rickandcindy23

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I agree. A fun topic but depends on the location, so I don't do all these things all the time (except number 3).

1. Any beach place I will be seeking out snorkelling spots. I'm not a beach person, I'm an ocean person!

2. Cities with ancient and beautiful architecture I will seek out somewhere that combines a great museum or other collection inside of a beautiful building. I also have a bucket list of paintings I'd like to see, so that might drive me to a certain museum even if the architecture isn't amazing. I usually have a plan for what I want to see, and get in line way before it opens. I love being one-on-one with a great masterpiece before the crowds arrive.

3. Food is a big category, but seeking out regional foods and kitchen-tools for wherever we are is always part of our plan. If there is no new-to-us regional cuisine to track down, then even going to a chain-restaurant only found in that one state might do the trick. Usually we have the most fun in Europe or Asia putting together our own food-tour and snacking on a specific cheese, pastry, crab-soup etc. Even locally made food items that are easy to pack (coffee, chocolate, stollen) are great to seek out, so we do local grocery shopping even if we're not cooking while we're there. I love kitchen tools, especially for making specific dishes. In Russia I even had our guide help me find a pelmeni maker, only to later discover I could have bought one on Amazon. :) So sometimes it doesn't work out and takes up precious luggage space.

4. Is watch-thrifting a thing? Provided it is a city destination, we always hit up the watch stores that have both new and used watches (stores that are well recommended by the watch community). Sometimes we walk away with something, but often not. It is so fun to see the latest styles or unique movements in person, as well as older pieces that I've only seen in photos before. I love men's watches, so often I am a helpful-shopping assistant for my DH but don't end up with anything for myself.
Our son is a nut for watches. We couldn't go to the Premium Outlets near Disney World without stopping at the Invicta store. He now has so many huge watches, and he bought me one that is cute, a Mickey watch, but it's so heavy, I feel like I am wearing a weight on my wrist.
 

amycurl

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@missyrcrews, we'll be driving from Boston to SWH in August. I'd love to meet you for ice cream or a cup a coffee in Bath when we come up the coast. My daughter would probably love to go thrifting with you (I don't have the patience, or the body type anymore, LOL!) I'll PM you closer to the date, but just wanted to give you a head's up here. :)

Things on my to-do list: local farmer's markets, local farm-to-fork restaurants, walking near/alongside any body of water, local ice cream, and--like you--local bookstores and local museums. Local theaters, either live or independent movie houses. Playing games (board games or card games.) Swimming or hot tubbing (a hot tub with some kind of a view is one of my main requirements of resorts, LOL.) If we have a car, we'll sometimes just go on an "explore," choosing "left, right, straight" at random intersections to see what we find to stop and get out and explore/walk around, and then using GPS to get home when we're done/tired/ready for supper. :)

@rickandcindy23, do you have some of the alternative versions of Ticket to Ride? We've found that Ticket to Ride NYC (a big miss because they should have used the subway system, and didn't, for some unknown reason) is a little bit easier to travel with. But we really love the Scandinavian version. Playing Ticket to Ride is what my daughter did for the last week of classes in her AP Statistics class (her high school math teacher is a big board game nerd, too.) My spouse has an eBay store where he makes customized storage solutions for nerdy table top games, like Ticket to Ride, so that all those expansion sets don't take up so much space, LOL!

Ooooh, and if I am in a city that has one---I will ride any subway, teleferic, local light rail/trolley system, and/or an incline/cog railway. I just love cities that have "unusual" modes of public transportation (maybe why I love Venice so much, LOL.) I might not ride just the general bus system (the Arubus is one of my favorites, however) but if the public transit system features anything unusual, we're in. In Venice, I always recommend that people take the vaparetto to the end of the "line" all the way out to Lido at dusk; it's a great view of the sunset, and then you have a great view of the city at night, sometimes with fireworks, as you come back. Another great value in public transportation is taking the ferry from Manhattan out to Rockaway, again at sunset. You'll have *amazing views* of the Statue of Liberty with the sunset behind it as you head out from lower Manhattan, and then views of Coney Island from the water. You can grab some ice cream/snack from the food trucks that meet the ferry at Rockaway, and then just hop on and head back to Manhattan. Total cost per person: the cost of a single subway fare. It might just be the best value there is in NYC!
 
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slip

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We like to visit local Brewery's, Winery's and Distillery's. We've been doing that for decades.

We always try local foods from Fine Dining to hole in the wall places. My wife and I will try just about anything. We haven't run into anything we said no to yet.

We would also do Thrifting but since we moved to the condo, there's no room for collectibles or knick knacks. We added some local Molokai items when we bought it years ago.

We also love anything history. Especially local history that you wouldn't see anywhere else.

Since Kim has some mobility limitations when don't do any long hikes. We plan a lot of picnics that require a short walk like those on the beach. We love doing this on Molokai. We mostly have these places to ourselves. 🤙🏻
 
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Breezy52

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We love to hike as well as walk the beautiful and interesting neighborhoods we fInd. We also love to visit the botanical gardens and see the plants that we can’t grow in Oregon. If we get bad weather, we visit aquariums and local, nonchain bars & restaurants.
 

oceanlane96

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We love to do the thrifting thing as well! We were in Hilton Head last and they have some fantastic shops! We'll also always go for a walk around the "neighborhood" our first full morning - whether that's the resort or an actual neighborhood.

We also like to visit local botanical gardens (we're members of AHS - great program if you are interested in flowers/gardens - the membership gets you access to hundreds of gardens across the country).

If the area we're visiting has a Needlepoint Shop - I always stop and try to find a "local" needlepoint canvas that I can stich once I get back - and I always bring a needlepoint project to work on wherever we go!
 

rapmarks

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My funny story -- regarding riding bus to end of line.

Many years ago, when it was safe to travel to Acapulco, I owned a unit there and was on a solo trip. I caught a bus in town (one of those individually owned and decorated) and rode to the end of the line, planning to ride it back into town.

At the end of the line, I was the only passenger remaining.
The driver turned and asked: "Do you want to come to my house?"

I replied, "no thank you" , jumped off the bus and ended up walking the beach quite a distance to get back to town.
I have a bus story also. We checked into Solara Surfside, north Miami Beach. The concierge told us to take the bus which went on a twenty minute loop and we could see the area. We got on the bus, but my son saw a playground and wanted my grandson to do some running around. We stopped for about twenty minutes and apparently got on the wrong bus. We drove for about 15 minutes further away from our resort. The driver parked the bus, got off and went to a diner. My son finally called an Uber and we eventually got back to our resort.

then there was the time in New Orleans we took a train just to see the city, and on the platform, I met a tugger who guessed who we were.
 
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