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Our kids are grown.  While not all are actually “on their own”  they are living out of the house at a university. That leaves my husband and me with a lot of “couple” time which in itself was a huge adjustment.  While my 4 children were growing up we also had a grandmother living with us, so our house was pretty busy with school activities. My husband worked a couple weekends a month, too, so we had limited time to do other activities other than our annual vacation to Gulf Shores.

Since my husband and I have re-acquainted ourselves with each other, we’ve found we love being “Backyard Tourists”!  So what is a backyard tourist? My definition may not be the same as yours, but here goes anyway.  It’s doing all those things that are available around the area in which you live.  We especially like the museums.  We were backyard tourists many years ago when my husband trained in San Antonio.  When he accepted a job in Louisiana and we found out we weren’t staying in San Antonio we became backyard tourists and crammed in every site around the city we had always planned on seeing.

We’ve become “Backyard Tourists” again. This time however, we’re not moving or in a rush.  My husband no longer works weekends. We’ve decided that one weekend a month we’ll go out and explore the area in which we live.  The hardest part is deciding what to see. Our boundaries for a weekend are about 3- 3 1/2 hours driving distance.  We live in the Dallas metroplex, so add that driving distance and the sites are almost endless.  We’ve seen woolly mammoths in Waco and trains in Plano; fossils in Norman and a Presidential Museum in Dallas. (We have another one of those within 3 1/2 hours so I’m sure we’ll be going there too)! We’ve seen old airplanes, old cowboys and a cattle drive. We’ve also eaten at a lot of unique restaurants. I think the best part of it all though is we see each other.  Away from work, relaxed and like we did when we were dating (which was a few years ago)! We also love the process of searching for something new and unique to do.

Being backyard tourists has helped me appreciate what our communities have to offer.  I love when my kids get home, but the whole backyard tourist thing has helped my get through the empty nest syndrome pretty unscathed! It also gives my husband and me something to look forward to as my kids start their own families and they have other sides of families to see.

If you haven’t explored your neck of the woods, I highly recommend it.  I want to see where you’re going so when my husband and I expand our parameters for trips (like in retirement or vacation time) we have new ideas on places to see with recommendations from you!

Happy Exploring,




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18 Responses to Blog: Backyard Tourist

  1. Jayne Barker says:

    Mary, What a great idea. I really enjoyed reading your blog and I really like this page. The background map is a really great addition to the page. I’ll be in Moore OK in Sept I will have to check out the Sam Noble Museum.

  2. Penny says:

    Oh Mary, how fun! (Of course you had me at the picture of George Strait…)

  3. Deanna Emmert says:

    Love this blog, Mary! My hubby and I certainly enjoy our “neck of the woods” in Oregon! We are 90 minutes or less from the coast, a couple of hours or more from the Cascades (depending upon where you want to go), and there are lovely places to explore within a drive of about an hour away or less, and the scenery, as always, is beautiful!

    • Mary says:

      Iv’ve doen a bit of exploring up your way too Deanna, Multnomah falls, The Columbia River Gorge and quite a few wineries!

    • mindys7 says:

      Agree Mary! My hubby and I have been doing the same thing! It is really fun to spend time together without all of the hurry, hurry and busyness of kiddos. Plus we no longer feel the need to look for kid friendly things to do. And Mary has been to The Oregon Garden and will be back in January! Can’t wait! 🙂 Love the map as background paper…did you screen shot it?
      Agree Deanna! We have the McMennamin’s Passport and so have been checking those out along with all of our Back Yard Touristing. We plan a move to Montana so are trying to get all those last visits (and in some cases first visits) into Oregon sites. We just went to a Beverly Cleary talk about her life living in the Grant High School area of Portland that was super interesting. Up next is hiking Silver Creek Falls!

      • Mary says:

        The background paper is scanned. I’ve seen Silver Creek Falls but it was pretty foggy. I also love all the murals in Silverton. We found everyone of them. I am looking forward to the return trip to Oregon Garden and p2P live training with all my friends! The McMennamins are absolutely fantastic places. YUM!!

  4. Carolyn says:

    Nice page, lady! (Becca’s hair is a lot lighter than I remember though. 🙂 and you’re younger! ) Having Nic and Paul move to Indy has given us a chance to find new attractions for them to visit. It’s been a lot of fun! In Indiana, there’s a summer festival within an hour of Indy almost every weekend. One of these years, we’ll attend a few! 🙂 I visited a lot of Green Bay places right before we left. One of my best memories was going to the Packer Hall of Fame with one of my best Packer buddies. If I’d gone earlier in my life there, it wouldn’t have been half as fun, but I did promise myself when we left that I’d try to do the tourist-in-my-town thing MUCH earlier next time. You are a wise woman!

  5. adakallen adakallen says:

    Love it!
    A few weeks ago I went on a “Bonnie & Clyde Tour” with the retired teachers of Mesquite right here in Dallas. Rose-Mary Rumbley was the tour guide and she is a treat any where you get a chance to hear her. She will be the guest for our church senior monthly luncheon (tomorrow) and she will be speaking on Texas Baptist–that will be a loaded luncheon entertainment. Back to the Bonnie & Clyde tour…I saw more of Dallas in one day than I had seen in a “lifetime” (most of my life). It was a fun day. I have scrapped part of it and I need to scrap the remainder ASAP before I forget the details.

  6. abycat3 abycat3 says:

    My husband and I have been doing this the past few years. Our son is also in college. We take off on out motorcycle and explore the wineries, backroads, and historical areas around us. We’ve had a blast doing it.

  7. Linda Ammons says:

    Laughing… Mary, great blog and I can totally relate…the Army assigned us here in Florida in “06 and we loved it so much that Mike retired and got a job in St. Pete. We did 3 things when we got here: we bought a Lonely Planet Guide book and started trying to see everything in it and we took up a hobby called “Letterboxing.” Kind of similar to Geocaching for those of you who are familiar with that. We also visit cemeteries. (the old ones are so precious!) I do believe we’ve seen more of our backyard than most folks who have lived here all their lives. We have 2 biggies left to do: Cape Canaveral and The Everglades (trying to find a time to go when it’s cool and our schedules match has been ridiculously hard) and we will have beaten Ponce De Leon in exploring Florida. Our “problem” will be when Paige moves on in 2 years. Our backyard will have to be another state up or over… 🙂

  8. Liz Propst says:

    Mary, this is a great blog. Thanks for your sharing.

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