By SALLY Y. HAYES
Mt. Pleasant News
As a young professional beginning to stand on my own two feet financially, a grand summer vacation on a cruise or to a tropical island is far from reach. However, weekend outings or ?staycations? in the area are a great way to spice up a season many spend soaking up rays on the beach.
I am guessing that I am not alone in hoping for a summer get-away without the financial means or time to do so, so I?ve compiled a list of eight possible outings to break up the monotony of work and time in front of the TV.
1. Old fashioned fun. Pack up the tent, the cooler and some comfortable clothes and go camping at one of the parks in the county. Or if cabins are more of your style, there are affordable weekend or nightly rentals in the area.
Build a fire, roast some hot dogs and make some s?mores for dinner. Check out the night sky for summer constellations like Leo and my favorite, Aquila the eagle. Just don?t forget the bug spray.
2. Take a hike. If you have a couple of hours, perhaps in the morning before the summer sun heats up too much, check out some of the local trails. There are bicycle trails and hiking trails alike.
Or if you?re looking for a bit more of an adventure, try your hand at geocaching. Simply go to www.geocaching.com and type in a zip code to embark on geocaching in Henry County. This is a product of a Mt. Pleasant Eagle Scout project.
3. Afternoon getaway. Perhaps a picnic in a park is more of your style for a brief break from the daily grind. Grab some fresh fruits and veggies from the Farmer?s Market Wednesday or Saturday and fill the wicker basket for a tasty meal and a few hours in the fresh air.
4. Field trip. Take a tour of the county?s many museums; each has a piece of history to share. In Salem, the Lewelling Quaker Museum is open on Sunday afternoons and features a rich history of the Underground Railroad and its presence in Henry County. New London offers the Dover Museum, which just acquired the Pilot Grove Railroad Station. The Theater Museum is found on the Old Threshers? grounds in Mt. Pleasant. Swedesburg, Wayland and Winfield also each house a historical museum.
5. Dive in. A cool dip in the water may be calling your name with the ocean?s sandy beaches much too far away.
The Mt. Pleasant Family Aquatic Center offers two waterslides and two diving boards in its facility, while Lake Geode may offer the closest beach option in the area. Remember to apply some sunscreen and to swim in specified areas for safety.
6. America?s pastime. Whether it is the Burlington Bees, a high school playoff game or picking up a bat yourself, who can deny enjoying baseball in some fashion. Either watching a game or partaking in one can throw a curveball in your same old weekly schedule.
7. Fair-y tale. The Henry County Fair commences this weekend with various activities, competitions and good food. There are animal shows, cooking contests, Henry County Idol and a demolition derby on the schedule of events.
It?s a chance to see what people in the community are doing, learn new things, eat tasty food and enjoy some entertainment.
For a full schedule visit www.henrycofair.com.
8. Get the gold. Should a rainy day ever occur, enjoy rooting for team USA in your favorite event at this year?s summer Olympics. Or if the rain passes and you?re looking for more hands on action, get some friends together for your own backyard Olympics with events like horseshoes, bags and croquet.
Another option is to compete in some disc golf at one of the local parks. East Lake Park and Oakland Mills both have courses for competitive entertainment.
Henry County has a lot to offer that many people, including myself, often overlook. We should simply take the time to remember what our area has to offer.