Gifting Outside the Box

Let’s start with the facts. No guy wants another tie. And no woman wants a gift card.

What do you get for the boomer who has more than they need or want? Most of my friends are packing up their possessions and selling them on eBay, giving them away on Freecycle or donating them to local charities.

But ‘tis the traditional gift-giving season. In addition to Hanukah and Christmas, I’m still attending milestone birthday parties. Since I hate to shop and am a terrible wrapper, I usually choose experiential gifts to mark these occasions. I’ll take a friend to dinner or give them concert tickets. There are so many great new bands out there playing in small, local venues; it’s an easy way to make a 50-year old feel twenty again.

Or, if you know someone who’s longed for a bit of Indiana Jones-like adventure, how about the chance to play amateur archeologist? It’s a unique gift for person in your life who wants nothing.

Looking for a unique gift for a guy? Consider an Adventures in Preservation trip.

Photo: The Fairfield Foundation.

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Why You Should Hire a Tour Guide When You Travel: Part One

Capetown-Bo-Kaap

“Is it okay if I take a few minutes and give you a little background about South African history? It’s not something most American schools teach.” That’s how Garth introduced himself and I bristled a bit. South Africa. I know about South Africa. There’s apartheid, Oscar Pistorius, the Sugar Man, and the Lion King. Heck. I participated in a sit-in during the 80’s to protest my college’s investments in South Africa, an effort that was abandoned after a few hours because I needed to get back to my apartment to host a party.

Okay.

I know nothing about South Africa.

But I hoped my guided tour of Cape Town would change that sad fact. Continue reading

Hudson Valley Spotlight: Kingston, New York

Al Smith Election Poster Hudson Valley Kingston brick wallTurn a corner in Kingston and you’ll find a surprise. For example, walking down Fair Street, I saw a campaign poster for Al Smith, Prohibition opponent, and 4-time governor of New York State. It was unusual because Mr. Smith died in 1944. Was this an omen? Will the Republican Party try to posthumously nominate Richard Nixon? The one thing to remember about surprises is that they come at you in two ways – good and bad. Continue reading

Provolone in the Park

Havell's-View-of-the-Hudson-at-Haverstraw-Bay

“View of the Hudson River at Haverstraw Bay”-Robert Havell Jr. (1793-1878)

It rained throughout May. And much of June.  If this weather’s got you singing the blues, I’m suggesting a simple cure:  food and fresh air as soon as there’s a break in the grey skies.  Throw a blanket in the car and head to the Italian Food Center in West Haverstraw, about 30 miles north of NYC.  Once you’ve packed your picnic, spend the afternoon at the spectacular, riverfront Haverstraw Bay Park.

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