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An alternative to shopping

Original post made by Simply Sterling, San Ramon, on Nov 29, 2012

I didn't get up early and take advantage of Black Friday. Seems I've lost my taste for physical gift giving so waiting in long lines and fighting a crowd is no longer fun. Maybe it's because my five grandchildren are all teenagers with enough "things" that they don't get excited about another game or gift card. These kids have cars and cell phones and things I never dreamed about when I was their age.

I decided a few years ago that I would have to be a little more creative if I was going to be a grandma in good standing. It was then that I chose to do our first day trip. The five grandchildren have four years difference from oldest to youngest (two families). This makes it fairly easy to do the same thing with all of them. So I planned a train ride on Amtrak from Martinez to Sacramento. We went to Old Town and visited the train museum. We had lunch and then rode in a horse drawn wagon. We shopped for penny candy and souvenirs. It was a great day.

Our next trip was to San Francisco. I took them up to Coit tower, down Lombard Street, out on Pier 39, up to twin Peaks, on a cable car, out on the Golden Gate bridge, and we lunched in Ghiradelli Square. It was a really fun trip.

The grandkids were getting bigger and more mature. I felt we could handle a distance trip so where did everyone want to go -- Disneyland. I wasn't sure I could manage all the walking but we overcame that with Grandma in a rental wheelchair. They had fun pushing me and my arthritic knees did not throb. We were there for two days and I survived the long days and frenetic energy. We went on every ride. The rollercoaster was a real jolt and the fireworks were spectacular. The memories are wonderful.

Back at home our next trip was another San Francisco activity. We went to Alcatraz. The day was sunny and mild. The boat ride delightful. We toured the prison with our headsets listening to the stories of the past. When we were done, we went for lunch on the wharf. It is really great that San Francisco offers so much and so close.

So I am now thinking about our next jaunt.

I want a place to go that's not too far and something we can do this Spring, preferably something outdoors. There will be 4 not 5 of them as the oldest is away at college. I want to be able to participate but the arthritic knees are definitely an issue. Another wheelchair perhaps?

I've been reading my travel books but I like suggestions from friends and family. If you been to a place that you thing teenagers would like, please feel free to contact me with your suggestion. I'd like something different, unusual, off the beaten path...

Got any ideas? Please share.

And if you are struggling with gift ideas maybe you will take a page from my book and include some special activities with your family.

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