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Savvy Fourth of July Celebrations PDF Print E-mail

By Kevin Gibbons
 
The Fourth of July is one of the least commercial holidays in America. You don’t need fancy clothes, food or gifts to celebrate. All you have to do is find a parade, a night-time fireworks show and some simple All-American barbeque. I’ve always enjoyed the Fourth, because, no matter where I am, in a big city or a small town, I can find a neighborhood celebration that makes me feel like part of an extended family. You can make your Independence Day celebrations as fancy or simple as you want. Here are some of our favorite ways to spend a glorious summer day.
 
Find a Small-Town Parade and Party 
Watching the spectacle of a New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco parade can be impressive, but if you have not attended a small town parade in a few years, give it a try. There is something very “American” about seeing the local school bands, celebrities and political figures marching or riding down the street and hearing spectators calling out to the participants. Everybody is much more interested in having a good time than perfectly executing that turn at the corner of Broadway and demonstrating the winning choreography in front of the television cameras. Many towns follow up their parade with a party in the main park or downtown block.
 
Look in your local newspaper, or on your community’s Chamber of Commerce or event website for a small town parade near you.
 
Attend an “Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration”
One of my most memorable 4ths was at the Ardenwood Historical Farm in Fremont, California. This county-run working 19th century farm is a trip back in time. For the Fourth, they had old-time bands, games, docents in period costumes, homemade ice cream, a petting zoo and lots of enthusiastic patrons. We packed a picnic lunch to save a little money and enjoyed the ambiance for $8 per person.
 
These events can be a little trickier to find. In addition to checking your local newspapers and community sites, go directly to the websites of any historical parks or buildings to see if they have such events scheduled.
 
Throw Your Own Celebration
Decorations are cheap – just red, white and blue bunting, flowers, material or balloons. Make it a potluck with everybody bringing their favorite summer food – salad or barbeque. Instead of holding it at your house, where people may gravitate in the kitchen or den, think about doing it at a local park. Clean-up will be easier and everyone will be much more in the spirit of the holiday surrounded by other celebrants.
 
Fireworks Show
Wrap up the evening by watching a local fireworks show. Grab a blanket and a thermos of hot chocolate and “ooh and aah” with all your neighbors. Many municipalities put on shows free of charge. If your town does not, look for a nearby amusement park or baseball stadium. The beauty of fireworks is that you can watch from outside the venue and see the same show as the paying customers.
 
You can find listings for municipal events in the local paper or community websites. Go directly to the athletic teams’ sites and look up the details on the games being played the weekend of the Fourth. They will indicate if there are fireworks scheduled and what time (usually immediately after the game). Likewise, a visit to the amusement parks’ websites will tell you their event schedules.
 
However you decide to celebrate, remember that planning ahead will give you enough time to enjoy the preparations for the holiday, as well as save you money.  Don’t wait until the last minute which will not only be more stressful but will also likely cost you more money by having to buy everything at once. So start planning and shopping early and have a happy Fourth!
 
 
 
The Permanent Vacation PDF Print E-mail

 

 

 
Make Your Weekends Longer PDF Print E-mail
By Melissa Tosetti
 
What are your plans for this weekend?  Do you have a big project to do on the house?  Are you going to spend the weekend baking in the kitchen?  Are you going to start that new craft project?
 
Weekends are a precious time to relax, rejuvenate and do the things we want.  Why not give yourself even more time to enjoy being away from work?  Instead of waiting until Saturday morning to go to the craft store to get your supplies, do it on your way home from work on Friday.  You just added an extra 30 minutes to your weekend!
 
That big baking project?  Pick up what you need during the week so you can immediately roll up your sleeves and start baking on Saturday morning instead of having to trek to the grocery store first.  By the time you get home from the store you'll be tired from fighting the crowds and will likely need to relax for awhile before you get in the kitchen.
 
The last place anyone wants to be on a weekend is at the home improvement store because EVERYONE is there.  Pick up what you need during the week so you can focus your time, energy and effort on actually doing your project.
 
In addition to saving time, by planning what you need for your weekend in advance, you will also be able to do a little research to find the best price for your supplies. 
 
 
 
 
Memorial Day Weekend Travel Deals PDF Print E-mail
Looking for last minute travel deals for this Memorial Day weekend? 
 
Today.com just published a list of resources to help you find a fun destination at an affordable price.  Read the article here: How To Find Last Minute Memorial Travel Deals.
 
 
 
Groupon Getaways PDF Print E-mail
 
By Melissa Tosetti
 
On Saturday I was in Portland, OR giving a presentation on Savvy Travel.
 
I was telling the audience about all the good things I’ve been hearing about Groupon Getaways. For example, my mother-in-law’s niece recently took a trip to Ireland through the company. She said there was no way she would have been able to stay at the places she stayed at if it wasn’t for the deal. She had an amazing experience and will now travel exclusively using Groupon deals.
 
I was talking with a client in Georgia last week and her friend had a similar experience.  My client is going to give the service a try on her next trip.  . 
 
I asked Saturday’s audience if any of them had used Groupon for travel. A woman raised her hand and said she had used them and would use them again, but she definitely learned a few things the hard way.  I asked if she’d share. Her two big tips for using Groupon Getaways are:
 
1. Read the fine print. The deals are for a specific time frame.  Make sure it falls inline with your schedule.
 
2. Don’t wait. The deals get snapped up fast. Once you read the fine print and know if it’s the right deal for you, grab it before someone else does.
 
 
 
 
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