Thursday, September 15, 2011

Finding Frugal (and Fun) Things to Do

My husband and I love to explore and learn.  I am quite fortunate that I found someone to share my life with that enjoys an adventure just as much as I do (if not more!) 

Todd was not scheduled to work last weekend and we had no prior plans with either of our families (for the first time in a while!)  I am perfectly content with sitting at home in my pajamas and relaxing for the entire weekend, but Todd always has to be doing something.  I decided to see what I could find for us to do (locally) to change up our frugal dates together. 

Whenever Todd and I are traveling or even when we are looking for something to do close to home, I Google “Things To Do” and then the City we will be close to.  Nearly every single time I do this search, I can find something for us to do within a 5-20 mile radius of where we will be located.  The great thing about doing a search like this is that it pulls up a lot of museums, parks, and landmarks among other places that are either free or very inexpensive!

Two other website I like to use to find activities to do for our frugal dates are:

This weekend, I ended up finding a house tour to go through in Youngstown which is about 25 minutes away from where we live.  Todd and I went to lunch and then headed over to the Arms Family Museum.  We had no idea that such a beautiful piece of architecture was in Youngstown or even the history behind the mansion.  We spent over 2 hours with our tour guide and it cost us a total of $4 total for the two of us to tour this beautiful home.

A brief history of the Arms family is that the home we toured was built by Olive Arms and her husband who also had the Arms last name (he was a first cousin.)  The home was built next to an enormous stone castle which is where Olive grew up with her family.  The castle has since been purchased and used as a church.

The Arms family was generally wealthy from coal and other material.  They did not create anything, but it was an inherited wealth among the generations.  To read more about the family, you can visit this link 

What I think is incredible is that Olive Arms left the house to the Historical Society under a couple of conditions: 

  • The first floor would remain unchanged
  • She decorated the home exactly how she wanted it to be for people to tour

This is so awesome because she planned every tea cup and book on the bookshelves, every setting on the dining room table and where every chair would sit.  Nothing has been changed since Olive Arms lived in this home, and I love that!  She was a very detail-oriented woman and it reflected with the intricacies throughout her beautiful home.  Another awesome thing about this home is that Olive Arms had a trust fund for the home so that people would never forget the Arms name.  Olive and her husband never had children, and it was extremely important to her for their name to be carried on, and she did this by deeding the home to the Historical Society.  The tour guides are paid tour guides and the upkeep of the grounds is done through the trust that she provided.

Todd and I had never heard of the Arms name, but now, we do.  We are actually looking forward to going back sometime in the next year when the second floor will have the original furnishings and layout as the house had while Olive inhabited the home. 

We were the only people on the tour with the tour guide, who was extremely knowledgeable.  We talked to our guide for two hours about places we’ve been and where we’d like to go.  I never realized how many places we’ve been (and how inexpensive our adventures) in our short 4 year marriage together until we were talking with our tour guide last weekend.  We can thank the internet for affording us the possibility to experience so many great places for very little money!

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