Feeling the budget crunch this year, and the price of gas keeping you from going down the shore? Well, perhaps choosing to stay home and “Summer in Many-Rox” is not only budget-friendly, but also healthy, environmentally friendly, and even fun.
Let me ask you a question: How much do you typically spend on a vacation? A five night vacation for a family of five can easily run $5,000 to $10,000 if plane tickets and a rental car are involved, and $2,500 to $4,000 if you just drive "down the shore" for a week in a hotel.
But what if you took five vacation days and just stayed in Many-Rox? Here's a list of reasons to stay "in the hood". Even if you chose the most expensive of options, it would be a challenge to spend as much money as a week at the shore.
1. It is Environmentally Friendly. Gas isn't only expensive, it is costly to the environment and our childrens' futures. So taking vacation days and choosing to stay local is both budget friendly and eco-friendly!
2. Gorgas Park. You could easily spend a whole day at Gorgas park. I'd take my coffee and a yoga mat for a morning stretch in the Gazebo (; a book to read in the sun; a picnic lunch to share with a friends, a ball or frizbee for a toss, and some cash for some hoagies before a concert or a movie ().
With kids, Gorgas is just as fun. The playground is always the coolest spot in the neighborhood since it is always shaded and breezy. I meet up with friends and let the kids run. Picnic lunch in the Gazebo and a nature walk to break up the day, then cash for some hoagies, pizza, or Tai to Go delivery - right to the park! Then sit back and enjoy the concert.
3. Other Park Destinations. Similar days can be had at other area parks and playgrounds. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has scheduled free movies and concerts at parks around the city, all summer long. Here is the official schedule (Gorgas is included). You're Welcome. And for a review of area playgrounds, check out this
4. Water Fun. You don't have to go to the beach for water fun! Houston Playground has a fountain area that they turn on for kids to play in. Between the water and the playground, my kids can spend a whole day there and have a blast. The Hillside and Kendrick recreation centers also have free public pools.
5. Hiking, Biking, and getting active. You don't have to fly to Colorado to get a good hike. Though Roxborough is no Telluride, there is plenty of hiking to be had along the Wissahickon Creek Trail. My favorite day of summer so far was the area feeding the ducks, enjoying a picnic, then hiking to Devil's Pool with my kids. But that is just the tip of the iceburg of what you can do within the 7.5 mile stretch of land between Chestnut Hill and East Falls. With over 50 miles of trails, this is a great destination for hikers and bikers, families and friends - or even a solo retreat for a little solitude.
The Manayunk Towpath and Kelly Drive are also great destinations for active or lazy days. Instead of traveling out of town, I had friends who came to Philly and one whole day we just enjoyed Kelly Drive, the Waterworks area and the outside areas surrounding the Art Museum. Between fountains, picnics, and strolling. It was an utterly plesant day.
6. The Schuylkill Center. Many people don't even know this exists, but it is fantastic. Just off Ridge Ave, we have an expansive environmental center that offers ongoing education and other experiences for adults and children. You don't have to drive to Lancaster, or Bucks County to dive into nature. Events range from learning to use a paddle canoe, to botony, to birdwatching adventures and even movie nights followed by camping! This place isn't just good for one day off, but could easily take up many of your days off.
7. Rockin Local Restaurants. You don't have to drive far or get on a plane to find great, non-chain-owned restaurants when you live in Many-Rox. From the to the , there are dozens of places to choose from. And heck, you could do an "Around the World" theme and choose a different cuisine every night of the week! Even feeding a family of five is far less expensive when you're sleeping at home than eating out at the shore and paying for a hotel room!
8. Go to the Movies! You've got all this extra money so you can actually afford a day at the movies (or two!)
9. Support Local Shop Owners. Why go all the way to Mexico to bring home a silver necklace, or Italy for leather shoes, when we have Jewelers, Clothing boutiques, and qwirky little shops like the and Bohemia.
10. Treat yourself to a Spa Day. You have a number of options here. You could spend an entire day at L'Etoile for hair, facial, massage and more. Or, you could schedule an accupuncture appointment at Community Accupuncture or Ba'z Tai Chi studio ; or a massage with Drew Kaiser,or at the Chinese Massage Center on Main St; or a mani-pedi at your favorite nail place. Whether your budget is $20 or $200, everything you want can be found right here.
11. Try a new Athletic Class. Places like RowZone, Yoga on Main, 6 Key Pilates, Joltin Jabs, and Ba'z Tai Chi Studio all allow you to pay for single classes. Go once to try it out, and you might just get hooked.
12. Enjoy the Night Life. Many locals who are no longer single or 20-something get annoyed at the Main Street night life. But why not hire a babysitter and give yourself a night out there. When I was 20-something and single, I loved the Grape Street Pub. Now it is owned by one of my favorite bartenders, and the bands still rock. For a more upscale night out, you could meet up with friends at or for drinks, a great atmosphere, and fine food.
So if my imaginary family of five decided to spend the vacation in Many-Rox, they did something in nature every day, and had a great big expensive dinner at a different restaurant every night, the price tag would be about $200/night for dinner and drinks, $50 for one day at the Schuylkill Center, $75 for a day at the movies, about $100 in fresh food for breakfasts and lunches, and about $25 in gas; for a grand total of $1,250. Add a spa day for mom, a new workout for dad, and a babysitter for that day, and you're up to about $1,500. Still a bargain comparitively speaking, and it's been utterly indulgent.