Washington, DC must be one of the most beautiful cities this time of year with the cherry blossoms in full bloom. I spent a year or so in the nation’s capital and despite all the intriguing museums and places to see, I never once went to a museum while there, and rarely did I stop to see the monuments.

As silly as that may sound, I find the same is true of Northwestern Pennsylvania. Last summer, I remember friends visiting from Ohio and asking, “what is there to do?” My thoughts went to Presque Isle and Oil Creek. This winter, a friend wanted to “do something,” so we thought of the movie theater, seeing a concert, and having dinner in Erie.

There’s nothing wrong with a day trip, of course, but there’s something silly about ignoring – or being ignorant of – our surroundings. Our area has a lot to offer. Perhaps we just need a gentle reminder.

I would encourage you to actively think about what you could do a walk or short drive from home – right here in the area. I bet your friends and family will have just as much fun and make just as many memories if you get creative and stay local.

That’s why I’ve actively thrown myself into “Try Local Buy Local” efforts – to highlight the things you can do and buy locally to support your neighbors and engage in our community.

I would encourage you to pack a picnic dinner and go enjoy it with your family at the park. Maybe go get ice cream or coffee with friends simply to talk. Enjoy a concert. Check out the antique stores in town. Simply go for a drive around the countryside. But before your thoughts jump to faraway activities, consider what you can do right here.