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  If you have any ideas of places for us to visit or goods to include in future boxes please let us know!  You can email all your ideas or comments to sales@explorelocalbox.com

See past newsletters below

June/July 2018

  

It’s summertime and that often means vacation time! – but what happens when bad weather threatens to ruin your plans? You plan for months for your vacation. You envision leaving the snow behind and relaxing on a sunny beach, but instead its pelting rain and wind….or you plan challenging hikes with great photography, but instead get smoke from forest fires … or you think horseback riding in Yellowstone and instead get 4 foot snow drifts and closed roads… or are you ready for some serious miles touring a city on foot and the temps rise to 98 degrees! These are just a few things that happened to me, but everyone has their vacation “disaster” story. 

So what do you do when things don’t go as you planned? We’re talking clouds, heat, rain, and wind not hurricanes, floods or volcano eruptions -those are real disasters and a whole different situation.  Maybe that is the first thing we have to remind ourselves - that things could be worse and then adjust our thinking a bit. Sure we have put a lot of time and money into this, but we are not going to let the weather ruin our time!  There is no magical solution, but here are a few tips:

Be flexible Sure you are hoping to scuba dive to the famous wreck in the aqua-blue island waters, but the dive is cancelled. The water is choppy from some far-off storm you cannot envision as you are sitting by the peaceful shore waters.  What other activities are available in the area? I usually have this researched ahead of times – places I’d like to checked out, restaurants that might be good. I also talk to the local folks. It may be a great time to try some of the local restaurants, museums, and bars. Think flexibly, if everyone is in the same boat so restaurants may be crowded. It might be good to go at an off time.



 

Plan ahead – If the dive is the primary reason for your visit, be sure to check out the best times to go for the calmest waters, even calling the outfit and talking about it over the phone. I have gotten a lot of tips that way.  I did this once and was advised to plan 3 days in the area to allow for rescheduling, that they make extra effort to get those who missed rescheduled. Try this if you have your heart set on something.

Be prepared – There’s an old saying -there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Be sure to have a rain jacket (there are lots of great compact ones), a backpack/camera bag cover, wool or synthetic socks or extra pair of shoes, and a travel umbrella. With some planning, these items do not need to take up a lot of space in your suitcase. And of course, bring some good reading material which usually is no longer a problem with on line sources, but I have been places (like that time in Yellowstone) where internet was not available. I was so happy to have books with me. 


 

Carry on with your plans outside anyways. Assuming you’ve got proper footwear, hiking and walking in the rain can be fun in its own way. Just be sure you have a way to deal with your wet muddy clothes! Swimming can be even more fun – the water feels so warm. I did this recently and it reminded me of being a kid when we could not believe our good fortune swimming with our cousins in the rain. Our parents were probably desperate, but my father framed it as an exciting adventure. For some reason, we thought our mothers were not to know, but it was probably their idea - and they were home reading and drinking tea!

Rest  You are in a new place with lots of exploring to do and adventures planned, but vacations are supposed to be restorative, so take the opportunity to go at a slower pace, catch up on some rest, read some books you have been wanting to read. You have the perfect excuse to be lazy! 


 

Join the fun – all those fellow travelers who are in the same boat are somewhere- check out a local bar or coffee shop. Once when we went out walking in the rain, we went by a cozy pub full of travelers commiserating so we stopped in for a drink. It turned out to be fun hearing everyone’s stories of where they traveled from and what they hoped to do, but couldn’t. Misery loves company, but hearing all the laughter, these travelers were not that miserable!

Remember that you can still have a good time. It may be different than you planned, but still fun!

May 2018

 

Does your Mom love to travel or explore new places?  

Explore Local Box would be a perfect gift to let your mom know that you  are thinking of her this Mother's Day (and all the time).  She will love  the locally made food and items, while exploring a new USA city each  month from home!
 

                                 

(Me and my mom visiting San Francisco CA 10 years ago!)
We are thrilled by the wonderful feedback we have gotten from our  customers who have given the subscription to their parents or who have  received it themselves. Here’s what mothers think about Explore Local Box:
“My mother waits until I visit so we can open the box together.  I look  forward to it too. There is a nice combination of edibles and products,  plus we love the fun facts about the city.”
“My children gave me a three-month subscription for a gift. I liked it  so much, I continued the subscription on my own which they thought was  the best compliment!”                          

April 2018


Do you have a favorite travel destination that you return to over and  over?  For me, Bozeman, Montana is one of those spots. I love exploring  new cities across the US, but sometimes I do want the familiar.  Lots of  travelers return to familiar vacation spots and for a variety of  reasons. Here is some of them:
 

They have great memories  of previous vacations at that spot. They know the pleasures that lie  ahead and can clearly look forward to a favorite view, restaurant or  activity. When I’m in Bozeman, I love to go skiing or hiking, go to my  favorite tea shop, read on the balcony of the independent hotel, check  out favorite restaurants, go mountain biking and just walk around  exploring.  It is something I never get tired of and often think about  through the year. Also, for lots of people, it’s a guarantee – they know  they’ll have a good time. If they have limited vacation time, they want  to make it count!   

                        

Long-standing traditions  are often associated with a locale and can bring back wonderful  memories.  For me, Cape Cod holds a special place: playing on the  beaches, bike riding along the canal, eating drippy ice cream cones,  collecting hermit crabs with my siblings and cousins. This is especially  fun for kids, because they know exactly what to look forward to and it  allows the whole family to have beautiful shared memories. Even  childhood vacations that were “disasters," like when my siblings and I  all got chicken pox on our one week vacation, are a fun family memory  when retold!

Travelers may be in the mood to relax  rather than explore. Sometimes it is less stressful and time-consuming  to go back to a place you have already been.You already know the hotels,  flights, car rentals, restaurants, even a great coffee shop so you  waste no time getting to your favorite activities.

 The location speaks to them in some way.   I think this may be the case for me with Bozeman.  I live in the Boston  area, spend lots of time at the ocean and even lived on the opposite  coast, but feel drawn to the mountains.  Hiking in the mountains of  Montana renews me. It’s a place to really unwind and disconnect and just  experience the beautiful outdoors. There is nothing like nature to make  you feel physically and mentally present which is a great antidote to  our busy connected lives.

                    

Travelers sometimes want to return to explore their favorite locale more fully.I do this every time I’m at Glacier National Park  in Montana.I think of new hikes I want to try or new spots to  photograph. Traveling this way, you get to know a place in greater depth  rather than just touching on the highlights of a locale.It can even start to feel like a second home!

                       

Bottom line, sometimes we need a place that is comfortable and familiar, where we can just recharge.
Where is your favorite place where you want to return over and over again?  I’ll let you know some of our  readers favorite places in future emails.  Who know – it may inspire a  future Box!  I’m so looking forward to hearing from you.
 

Happy Travels
Jessica
 

                  

March 2018

 I  love to walk around any new locale, but I especially love to walk  around Chicago – and apparently I am not alone!  Despite its reputation  for wind, rain and cold weather, locals and visitors alike venture  outside to explore the Windy City.                             

 I  am always struck by the beautiful combination of modern architecture  and vast public green spaces.  Walking around downtown in Millenium  Park, the energy of the city is palpable. There’s 25 beautiful green  acres right in the middle of the city complete with walkways,  playgrounds, gardens, and the famous Bean.                             

I  must have a hundred pictures of this Bean! If you wanted to amp up the  exercise a little more, you could go the Lakefront where runners,  bikers, and walkers burn calories while taking in the breathtaking  skyline view.  That is if they are not checking out the creative  sculptures just sitting along the lakefront. That’s something fun about  the art in Chicago – it is so accessible, not just in a frame in a  museum, but outside in the parks for all to see.            

                 

The  water’s accessible too. You can take a walk to a beach along the  Lakefront or step down along the Riverwalk, a beautiful waterfront along  the Chicago River where you can eat, drink and play – perfect to listen  to live music, take an evening stroll or have a margarita. There’s so  much creative energy here!

                    

With Mother’s and Father’s Day approaching, I thought I’d share a few comments from customers who have given Explore Local Box to their parents or who have received it themselves. We are so excited about the wonderful feedback:
 “My mother waits until I visit so we can open the box together.  I look  forward to it too. There is a nice combination of edibles and products,  plus we love the fun facts about the city.”
 

“My parents used to love to travel but have not been doing much of it  lately.  They were thrilled with their gift which allows them to travel  without leaving home.”
Thank you. As always, we love hearing from you. 
 

Happy Travels
Jessica 

February 2018

 In the last newsletter, we asked “how do you like  to travel” and we loved hearing your responses!  When we travel, we try  to experience the area like a local - getting off the beaten path,  talking to people who live and work there and exploring like a local,  checking out what makes the area unique.  One reader said he has the  same philosophy of travel, but “give me a nice hotel with a great shower  and comfortable bed at the end of the day.”  Sounds great – you can do  almost anything, walk all day long exploring to your hearts content if  you end the day like that!  Everyone’s different – some adventurous  folks said their first choice is to camp in good weather so they have  more resources for experiences. One woman admitted to “spending more  time researching and preparing than I do at the destination, but that’s  part of the fun” and someone else said, “other than having a place to  stay, I don’t plan a thing, just do what I feel like once I’m there.”   There really is something for everyone!   

                            

Planning,  this month’s box got me thinking of my first time visiting Savannah. It  wasn’t planned;  I happened to be in the area and had a little extra  time so made the drive to Savannah and was so glad I did!  Since it was  spur of the moment, I did not do my usual research beforehand.  Luckily I  was able to jump into a walking tour of Savannah.  The guide was lots  of fun and his love for the city was contagious.  As we walked the city  streets, he regaled us with interesting stories about Savannah’s  history. He then announced “let’s make like a lizard and find the sun!”   We found one of those wonderful squares with huge moss-draped oak trees  and a beautiful old fountain.  We all sat on the warm bench in the  beautiful Georgia sunshine. I got a great lunch after and then was on my  way. I’ve returned to check it out further, but this is my favorite  memory of the place – warm and welcoming.
 

I hope you enjoy exploring Savannah too!
                

Happy Travels, 
Jessica          

     

January 2018 

From all of us at Explore Local Box,  we wish you a Happy New Year and hope it is full of exciting  adventures, delicious food and great times with family and friends!  We  are so thankful for all of you who are following us, exploring with  us, and chatting with us about Explore Local Box.  You have given us so  many great ideas about interesting cities and fun products.  We can’t  wait to check everything out!
 

I am writing this on a plane heading home from my latest destination to  explore – Montana. Watching all the travelers at the airport, I thought  about the many different ways to travel: cruises, tour groups,  international, camping, all-inclusive resorts, hotels, hostels, house  rentals, timeshares, rural, urban, etc.  These choices shape how we  experience the destination. How do you like to travel? Let us know on Facebook/Instgram/Twitter @explorelocalbox
 

                                                                                When I travel, I enjoy going at my own pace  and exploring - checking out what makes that area unique and different.   I get off the highway and explore the area like a local. I try to visit  restaurants that are unique to that area and check out little shops to  get a feeling of the local culture.   By trying to experience the area  like a local, I feel I get to see what daily life looks like in the  community and experience a different side of the place.  Plus, it is fun  to interact with the people who live there.
 

I love finding craft markets and farmers markets because it’s another  way to interact with locals from the area.  I was lucky to come across a  small craft market the first day I was in Montana. I met and talked to a  few artisans there and purchase some unique items from them.  One is a  bricklayer from Arizona who spends summers in Montana now that he is  retired.  To make extra money, he carves wooden bowls from local trees.   Another is a potter who makes clay items from Montana clay.  Not only  does purchasing souvenirs from them support the local economy and help  the artisans make a living, but also it helps keep these communities  thriving. These are the places that make each community unique. While  chain stores play a role in the national economy, we all know that it is  the small businesses that create the distinct character of a community.  Plus, it is so much more interesting to interact with the artisans and  small business owners and hear their stories.
                                           

  After  traveling to all 50 states, most of them multiple times, I love  comparing areas and seeing how one place can be so similar to another – a  place in Arkansas can remind me so much of Billings, MT. It is also fun  to experience the great contrasts in this country from the white beach  coasts to the red-rock deserts, to granite mountains and scenic farmland  and see how the locals live. I started Explore Local Box  because I love traveling and exploring local culture.  I want to share  my experience with others who get to “explore” the city with us and  experience some wonderful, delicious products and learn about the  interesting people who have created them. Tell us how you like or would like to travel - sales@explorelocalbox.com or on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram @explorelocalbox
 

Happy Travels,
Jessica 

 

December 2017  

Celebrate the Holidays by Shopping Local 

We love to travel and are passionate about all things local –  seems an unlikely mix, but that is how Explore Local Box was born! When  traveling, we always get off the beaten path and try to see the city as  a local would.  We go to the little coffee shops, talk to the local  merchants, and just walk and walk around the city.  We find unique  products, delicious food and wonderful gifts.  The best we include in  our boxes so everyone can explore the great cities of the United States!   

Here are three reasons why we like to buy local for the holiday: 

1. By shopping local we support the local economy. By shopping local you will be giving a present to the local community as well. Buying  a gift locally is investing in that community. Who doesn’t like a  community shopping experience where you see the business owner and often  their family members, where the local shopkeeper often recognizes your  face and greets you? These are  the places that make each community unique. While big box and chain  stores play a role in the national economy, we all know that it is the  small businesses that create the distinct character of a community. Plus supporting local businesses is so much more fun than facing crowded stores and fighting for a parking spot at holiday time! 

2. We can give original gifts that are often made by hand.  Products by small businesses and artisans are usually unique and have a high degree of craftsmanship. They  are not trying to scale their product for the mass market so they are  usually personally invested in the quality of their product. Many  people are trying to be mindful of their material stuff and into having  “less.” For those people and for those who are hard to buy for or have  everything, Explore Local Box is a great gift because it focuses on the  experience. It also encourages sharing the experience of exploring a new  locale with children and family. 

3. In shopping local, we have a personalized experience.  We have loved this aspect of our business. Whether  it is talking to our Portland vendor about repurposing old trees for  wood products, supporting a local coop of former refugees now living in  RI who are making a healthy granola or working with a producer of  delicious caramels who started out making them at home, it has been one  of the most enjoyable aspects of our work. We have learned a lot and we are excited to bring these experiences to our customers. So,  whether you shop local in your own community or you support local  communities in wonderful cities throughout the U.S. with Explore Local  Box, we wish you an enjoyable shopping experience and a wonderful  holiday season!  

Our gift boxes can be found at http://www.explorelocalbox.com   See us named in Real Simple Magazine’s 30 Surprising Subscription Box Ideas - https://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/gifts/gift-of-the-month#explore-local-box