by Edie Melson @EdieMelson
Fall is my favorite time of the year. I could happily spend from September through November outside hiking, exploring, and road-tripping.
In honor of my own personal wanderlust, today I’m sharing my list of places to explore.
These are things that you can do by yourself, or get together with another friend to try out. Most would even work as a group activity for a writers group. The key here is to get out and stretch your legs and your creative muscles.
- Visit your local history museum.Every county and most towns have them. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find.
- Take a quick trip to a local landmark. Chances are there are some that you’ve never visited, no matter how long you’ve lived where you are now.
- Go to your local farmer’s market. Not only will you pick up some wonderful—local—edibles, you’ll be inspired by those attending and those displaying their wares.
- Try a different cuisine.Pick one you haven’t had before, if possible. Research it before you go and you’ll know what to order.
- Take a walking tour.Greenville, SC is the large town nearby and there are all kinds of self-guided walking tours we can take.
- Spend a few hours geocaching.Here’s a great article on Geocaching 101, if you’re not familiar with this hobby.
- Do a search for hidden menus at Starbucks, then try something new.There are all kinds of cool drinks you can order, if you just know how. For example, did you know there’s a concoction that’s reputed to resemble Butterbeer from the Harry Potter universe?
- Take a trip on a local river or lake.Go kayaking, canoeing, or even paddle boarding.
- Get together a group and go on a bookstore crawl.The point is to visit all the bookstores in a geographic area. It’s even more fun if you post pics to social media and see how many books you can find from authors you know and love.
- Plan an old-fashioned murder mystery evening. You can find suggestions online or you can buy a box that has everything need.
- Go leaf-peeping. Fall is definitely upon us and that means the trees are turning in most areas of the country. Take a drive and be inspired by God’s creativity!
- Visit a local art gallery. Yes, I’m a writer. But I’ve found that seeing how others express their creativity inspires me.
- Get tickets to a play at your local community theater or even a school production. You’ll be inspired by the actors, the costumes, the story, and the overall atmosphere.
- Go old school and show some community spirit by watching a local football game. Yes, high school was tough in some ways. But most of us remember fall football. It might have been as a cheerleader, a member of the marching band (me), or just a fan. This is a great way to reconnect with your roots.
- Take a cooking class. Again, it’s the creative aspect that drives this suggestion. But you also might find a new hobby you can share with your spouse.
- Spend the afternoon people watching at the local mall.Take a pen and paper and write down snippets of conversations. If you write fiction, you may find a place to use it in your WIP. If you write nonfiction, the things you overhear may give you article/book ideas.
- Visit a corn maze or a haunted house. Personally, I’m not a fan of haunted houses, but a lot of my friends are. A corn maze is much more my speed.
- Offer to read at your local retirement center/nursing home.It doesn’t have to be your book that you’re reading.
- Visit your local zoo.
- Take another author’s book to your local bookstore and recommend it to the manager/workers. It feels good to do something nice for someone else, and it helps the management find books they might have missed.
- Visit some nearby historical landmarks. Greenville is rife with old textile mills, bridges and general historic sites. I love crawling around old foundations and taking picture of the stonework and gears that are always left behind.
- Memorize a poem.Go to your local library or book store and find a book of poetry. It can be something funny, or touching, or anything in between. But the process will stimulate your mind and stretch your mental muscles.
- Explore a local festival. This time of year you’ll find everything from state fairs to barbeque cook-offs to pop up arts and crafts shows.
- Take a bicycle ride.If you don’t own a bike, rent one. Chances are there’s someplace nearby where you can ride.
- Listen to some live music. It might be an evening at the symphony, or a free band that plays in a park downtown.
- Stroll through a local flee market or antique mall
- Go on a hike. Find a local park and take a walk.
- Take a class. Look for something non-writing related.
- Spend an afternoon coloring. Find a book or download a free page from the Internet, pull out your colored pencils and pretend you’re a kid. It’s not a hobby for everyone—which could be said about a lot of these suggestions, but I’ve found if I mention coloring it’s polarizing. People either love it or hate it. I’m one of those who’ve discovered it doesn’t relax me. But if it does help you unwind, go for it. If you haven’t tried it, it’s past time to give this new fad a try.
- Shop for a new pen and stationary.Go to a place where you can try out different types of pens and find one you really like.
- Take only a pen and notebook and find a park. Spend an hour or two writing longhand. Describe your setting, do free-writing, or brainstorm your next project.
Truthfully, this list could go on and on. But I’ll stop talking now and let you have a chance to share your best ideas.
Edie Melson—author, blogger, speaker—has written numerous books, including her most recent fiction – Alone, and nonfiction – While My Child is Away. She’s also the military family blogger at Guideposts.org. Her popular blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month and has just been named as one of the 2017 Writer’s Digest Top 101 Websites for Writers. She’s the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and the Vice President of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, as well as the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine.