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Finding Christmas Cheer in Christmas Lights

No doubt Covid has changed our Christmas season. I miss cookie baking with friends, going to concerts and plays, and hosting holiday gatherings. While I am mourning all of these traditions, I will admit, slowing down hasn’t been all terrible. I’m not as rushed. I’m not trying to fill all my time with all the great things. We’ve even purchased an advent wreath with candles to thoughtfully remember the purpose of this season. What a beautiful new tradition that we can do at home together.

Another new way we are receiving joy and light this December is by driving around and looking at Christmas lights. We’ve done this in the past, but this year is different. It’s better! My husband found a post on the Captain of the Kids blog listing houses and neighborhoods around the city with amazing light displays. The guide is great because it labels each house: just lights, lights and music, and award winners.

So far we’ve done the Anderson Township/ Mt, Washington area, the Carthage/Wyoming/St. Bernard/Mt. Healthy area, and the Milford/Loveland area. We have fun mapping out our routes and seeing parts of the city we haven’t before.

We just finished planning our routes for Fairfield/Forest Park and Northern Kentucky. Two more epic drives to come. It gets us out of the house and we listen to a variety of Christmas tunes (sometimes we have to take turns controlling the playlist). There is just something about LIGHT this time of year; it’s a powerful reminder of hope.

These drives have truly brought us joy. We talk. We pack snacks. Grab a hot chocolate, or in my case, a peppermint mocha! Honestly, I believe more people are stepping up this year. Doing something. Even if it’s small. Adding a little bit of glow to what feels like, at times, grim days. I see it even in my own neighborhood. People putting a little something outside to sort of show that we are all in this together.

Again, check out this article by Captain of the Kids to plan your routes! It’s really something for the entire family. Plus, it’s free (other than the gas) and it’s covid safe. You know my motto: experiences are more important than things.

If any of you would like to know some of my personal favorites so far, please comment on the post and I will get back to you. Or, if you have a house or neighborhood that you think I should check out, please comment and let me know.

GO THERE (Driving around your city)! TRY THAT (Checking out the Christmas lights)!

A Day Drive During Quarantine Life

Hey friends!  It’s been awhile.  If you follow me on facebook or instagram (please do), I have mentioned that one of our favorite quarantine activities is getting in the Jeep and taking long drives.  Our drives range from three hours to eight hours, all within the state of Ohio. For those of you concerned, we are being super careful. We pack drinks, snacks, and hand sanitizer while we explore the back roads of this state. Sometimes we find a local ice cream shop, a local coffee shop, or a local restaurant to support.  Sometimes, we find all of the above!  These are sweet finds that make each trip richer.  

A breve from Luckman’s drive-thru to start our last road trip.

I love soft serve (that’s a medium cone)!

This last trip we took all backroads which led us to Yellow Springs, John Bryant State Park, and Caesar’s Creek State Park. We had lunch at Young’s Jersey Dairy, a place very dear to my heart. We enjoyed burgers, cheese curds, and ice cream while sitting in the safety of our car. Speaking of safety, I was super impressed with the safety and efficiency of Young’s makeshift drive-thru. I love seeing how people and businesses are adapting to the times we are living in right now.  It’s always been important for me to support locally owned businesses so we make a point to find those as we go.   

Young’s Dairy

This burger and cheese curds . . so good!

Strawberry ice cream!

The parks we visited were so impressive.  I remember visiting John Bryant State Park a couple times while I was in college, but I don’t remember exploring many of the trails. And there are many trails jetting off to various scenic spots from various locations in the area. I’m looking forward to going back when it’s warmer to do some hiking. If you want to go now, I suggest going on a weekday so that you encounter less people. Remember to keep your distance and wear a mask. To this point, the people I saw hiking were wearing masks and stepping off to the side to let others pass at a super safe distance. There were a couple people playing tennis and no one came around them. I saw a family playing volleyball, and again, no one else approached them.  I do know that staying in the house is the best way to avoid getting sick right now or passing that sickness on, but I also believe in the restorative power of nature. So while I’m not advocating that you go out, I personally need these drives for my own well-being.  

I love a scenic drive.

Photo Credit: Korie Frost; John Bryant Park

Our backroad travels also took us through little towns like Corwin, Clifton, Roxanna, Waynesville, Spring Valley, and Harveysburg. Our drive from Yellow Springs to Caesar’s Creek took us past horse farms, goat farms, cow farms, and llama farms– so many farms and I loved it.  I also realize that even though we live pretty close to Caesar’s Creek State Park, I’ve never been. As we cruised the country roads around and through the park, we saw so many creeks, a couple lakes, and lots of rolling hills.

Caesar Creek State Park. Isn’t my driver so handsome?!

Caesar Creek.

Photo Credit: Korie Frost; John Bryant – a trail.

Any bikers out there?  And by bikers I mean cyclists.  And by cyclists I mean people who ride bicycles for fun.  If so, take your bike on this day drive because the Little Miami Scenic Trail goes through some of the very places I’m referring to such as  Spring valley, Corwin, and Yellow Springs. 

Photo Credit: Elyse Burk Wells; Bike Trail.

Photo Credit: Elyse Burk Wells; Bike Trail.

All of our quarantine drives have just made me more excited about warmer days and no more sickness.  I’m eagerly anticipating where all of our scouting will take us.  We have so places to go back to, to explore further, and to support!

P.S.- Thanks to my friends Elyse and Korie for offering up some photos.  We were not at these locations together; I just knew these two had, on separate occasions, visited some of these sights recently.

GO THERE (take a scenic drive)!  TRY THAT (explore your state)!