The Art of Local Travel

The New Bedford Travel Guide is a meeting place for travelers. Travel is often measured by distance, length of stay, or novelty of your destination. For some, it is not considered travel unless it took you over seven hours to get there, you need to sleep away from home, or you eat something that you cannot pronounce. I beg to differ. It is not the hours in the air or the food on your plate that you are craving when you get the itch to travel; it is how those things make you feel. We travel to get away from our daily routines. We travel to have new experiences. We travel to reinvent or rediscover ourselves.

If we had our way, we would travel whenever the spirit moves us without concern for finances or time constraints. We would revel in discovery and enjoy novelties every week instead of the one or two weeks we carve out for vacation each year. Guess what? You can be a year round traveler without leaving the South Coast. Save your money, save your vacation time, and get ready to rediscover the place you’ve been living in all along.

Skilled local travelers have learned to recreate the sense of long distance adventure without the distance. The easiest way to do this is to consider your expectations, behavior, and state of mind when you are on vacation and replicate these at home. In other words, proceed with a traveler’s mind set. Remember these four habits of mind as you embark on your local travels and enjoy your South Coast adventures each and every weekend!

Be present and slow down: If you were traveling to Egypt to see the great pyramids, you bet your bippee you would pay attention when you got there. Give Mattapoisett the same attention and you may be surprised what you find. Worthy travelers do not bring work, chores, bills, or other obligations on their journey when they visit Bora-Bora. Turn off your cell phone and leave your worries behind when you head to New Bedford as well if you truly want to travel. Meander though the South Coast with mindful awareness to see novelty in things you thought you knew like the back of your hand. You may have walked the streets of New Bedford a hundred times, but have you noticed the details in the architecture of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park? You will be able to pay more attention to your surroundings if you slow down and actually take a look around! Soak it all in and savor the details. If you were visiting Paris, wouldn’t you stop every few hours to sit leisurely at a sidewalk café and talk about what you’ve been seeing? Do the same thing locally and change your energy from that of tourist to traveler. Order a specialty latte at one of the many local coffee shops in the area and just sit and enjoy your day off. You can’t go wrong with a stop at the Green Bean in New Bedford, Mirasol’s Café in Dartmouth, or Uncle Jon’s Coffee & Café in Marion.

Move beyond the familiar: There are 263 New Bedford restaurant listings on Trip Advisor. I dare you to tell me you have tried them all. What about all the restaurants in Marion, Wareham, Mattapoisett, and Dartmouth? What about all of the shops, attractions, and events in these towns? What about just a quarter of them. You see where I’m going with this. You haven’t even touched the tip of the iceberg that is the South Coast. We travel to try new things, so try new things! Go down that street you always pass but never turn on to. Walk into that hole in the wall restaurant that looks interesting and peruse their menu. Take a chance on an activity that you have never experienced. Have you ever played 3D glow in the dark indoor mini golf? Try Ocean’s 18. Never took a walking tour of your own town? Visit some of our town centers like Adamsville Village, Long Plain Village or Hixville Village. Or maybe you are looking for that dish you can’t pronounce and will tell your friends about later. Try some of the great ethnic restaurants in the area like the Spicy Lime Thai Cuisine, No Problemo Taqueria, or the Zen Asian Grille and Sushi Lounge.

Connect with people: Sometimes we treat people differently when we are on vacation. We take out our happy, excited, relaxed vacation persona and are kind to passersby, store clerks, and stray animals. The cashier at your local convenience store…not so much. Of course you are not rude, but do you engage that way you would with a mysterious stranger selling jewelry in Barcelona? Be honest. People are what make our travels the most interesting. Engage a little with the sommelier at a local winery or the owner of one of the many great pizzerias on the South Coast. You never know what you’ll learn.

Expect to get what you came for: The anticipation leading up to a week of vacation is almost as sweet as the get-away itself. You are so excited for the relaxation, the quality time with friends or family, and the plans you have made. Treat your local travels with the same expectancy. Put aside the whole day to adventure and enjoy. Expect to learn something. Expect to have fun.

If you need some help getting starting on your local travels, check out our day trip section for some great ideas whether your goal is to rest and relax, challenge yourself intellectually, or spend quality time with your family. Let us know how you made out!

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Angela Boffi

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