What to do when you head to visit friends and family

Marvin Bond

Marvin Bond

The number one reason people take trips of 50 miles or more is visiting friends and family, but what to do when you get there? Whether it’s a holiday visit or weekend trip, those are not just occasions for building bonds and better relationships, they are great opportunities to see something new.

Instead of sitting around the house looking at each other, make the effort to get everyone out and explore. Fall is a great time to do just that. Small towns and big cities are full of festivals at this time of year. Even the better-known attractions are less crowded. Wineries and breweries have interesting events for the adults in the crowd. There are a plethora of artists’ studio tours that let you see the artists and artisans where they create their works. And there’s always a Halloween-themed event happening. The possibilities are almost endless.

This month we take a snapshot of those artists’ studio tours around the Mid-Atlantic. When you buy something from an artist directly, you generally learn more about what inspired it and how it was made. All that, and the experience of a fall drive, makes the whole thing more memorable.

In this issue of Recreation News, we also take a look at some of the ways you can taste the libations created in the Mid-Atlantic. What started out a few years ago as a special wine issue has morphed, along with the times, into a Mid-Atlantic wine, beer, cider, and distilled spirits issue.

Several of the “wine trails” across the region have embraced the change and now include local craft breweries, cideries, and distilleries as partners. In some areas, the growth of craft breweries has resulted in beer trails. It seems whatever your beverage of choice, you can find someone who is handcrafting it.

In the picture I’m a “guest bottler” on the line at A. Smith Bowman Distillery on the Grapes & Grains Trail around Fredericksburg, Va.”

One beautiful thing about this phenomenon is it provides a great reason to visit areas you might not have thought to visit before or gives you a great reason to get all those relatives out of the house and doing something interesting. If sampling libations isn’t your thing, there are still plenty of festivals and other events to explore.

We’ve done the research and highlighted a host of things in each state for you to check out. From the feature stories to the calendar of events, you’ll find hundreds of ideas. So, if you’re heading out to grandma’s house, take along a copy of Recreation News and be prepared to have some fun.

Travelers’ toolbox

The Wallaroo Hat Company is committed to fighting skin cancer and has a full line of adult and children’s hats designed to give you sun protection with a UPF rating of 50+. There are multiple styles and colors. (wallaroohats.com)

The Airlighter is for serious fire starters. The butane lighter measures about 18 inches and includes a fan for getting air to the coals, a light for finding firewood, and even a bottle opener. Campfires and fire pits may never be the same. (airlighter.com)

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