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Talking It Over -- A little culture shock is good once in awhile

A few days ago I joined my Homemakers group on our annual summer trip. It has been a tradition for as long as I can remember to take this trip. When I first started going on them, the day-long trip was to places in or near the Twin Cities. We toured gardens, went to plays, visited historical sites, shopped at craft stores and ate at unique places.

In recent years, we have shortened the trips a bit and tried to stay within an hour drive of home. This is often a challenge to find new places to visit, but each year it proves to be a fun and interesting day.

This year our trip was to the Alexandria area. We contacted the Master Gardener Association and were directed to two beautiful gardens, one near Farwell and another just north of Alexandria. It was awesome to see what these gardeners can do and to dream of what we could do at home.

Our next stop was at the Carlos Creek Winery, just across the road from one of the gardens, where we learned that there were new owners. We tasted some of their best and looked at the other items on display. We then went on to shop on our own at the downtown stores. We ate a delicious meal at the Weston Station east of Alexandria and then headed out for our final destination.

The day was capped off with an evening at Theatre L'Homme Dieu to see the musical "A Secret Garden". It was a beautiful production and something we all enjoyed a great deal.

However, as I sat comfortably in the theatre I couldn't help but remember some of our past visits there. It wasn't that long ago when we sat on hard chairs, with no air conditioning, windows open to allow in the mosquitoes and fans blowing to circulate the air. It was less than ideal conditions but even then we loved every minute of it. I think any visitor to the theatre today would appreciate the improvements.

One of the reasons I enjoy this trip so much is that it is something out of the ordinary. It adds a little bit of culture to my life by going to plays and musicals, visiting gardens, museums and historical sights and eating at fancy restaurants. These are things I don't do regularly and probably wouldn't want to do all the time. However, once each year it is great to just experience something a little different in life and give yourself a little culture shock.