WW: Living with Food Allergies — Food-free Entertainment

Denise at The Butterfly Place in Westford, Massachusetts
Denise at The Butterfly Place in Westford, Massachusetts

More Life With Food Allergies! You’ve been holding your breath in anticipation, haven’t you?

This week, we’re planning to discuss things you can do with your significant other or your friends or even your family that do not revolve around food. I know, it sounds crazy that food would be so central to socializing, and it does not seem that way until you can no longer easily eat anything anywhere.

Name Tag MK

As I said in the past post, I’ve found someone who thinks that finding things to do that don’t involve food is actually kind of a fun challenge. While our first date was a rather traditional dinner out, we’ve followed that with a rather eclectic collection of events that have, for the most part, been free. Many of them are somewhat educational, which I find interesting, and they usually provide good fodder for conversation afterwards. Stand-by — I’m going to start waving my nerd flag high and proud.

Because we’re in New Hampshire, my specifics are keyed to this area, but many of them are broadly applicable. If you can approach your own town or region like a tourist, you may discover new things.

We’ve seen only a few movies, but then popcorn, like pizza, might be one of the more evil tempting smells of foods you cannot eat. Streaming and DVDs do offer more options as far as getting your own snacks. With all of the TV series you can stream, appointment viewing of a TV series is really easy to do. But movies are a classic date night that do not need to revolve around food.

Museums are a great option — art, science, or history. Now, upfront, I love museums — I have degrees in art history. But what I think is great about going to a museum with someone is that it gives you something to do while getting to know one another. Museums can be a bit steep for entry, unless you’re near DC, but check with your local library to see if they have either membership cards you can check out or discount passes. Locally, we have the McAuliffe-Shepard Discover Center (planetarium and museum), the New Hampshire Historical Society, the Millyard Museum, a few local galleries, and the Currier Museum. Some museums offer free or discounted entry on certain days or at certain times. In fact, did you know there is a free museum day sponsored by the Smithsonian? No date has been announced yet for 2014, but stay tuned. If you’re in a major city, maybe you’re on this list of free museum days.

Author readings at a local bookstore (here in Concord, Gibson’s is one of my favorite places) are often free and usually interesting whether or not you’ve read the book (or intend to). They often have a calendar available online. The library will often have a few events as well, though my local library tends to be geared towards the younger and older crowds (school-aged, teens, and retirees).

Meetup may offer some options finding like-minded groups doing trivia nights, company tours (I met a good friend on a brewery tour, though neither of us drinks), lectures, walking tours. In fact, Denise and I met through Meetup, too. If you’re science-oriented, science cafes, going by a variety of similar titles, exist in three New Hampshire towns — Manchester, Nashua, and Portsmouth — and there are a bunch in Boston — there might be one near you.

Possibly my favorite resource is the New Hampshire Humanities Council calendar of lectures, performances, and events that we’ve taken great advantage of (so much so that they might be getting sick of our names on their participant evaluations). Last year they had a series of events on constitutional issues — Denise and Corinne and I went to the first, and I went to the last with Jack. Maybe you’re thinking that civics discussions wouldn’t be all that fun or interesting; I disagree — I thought they were pretty fascinating. But they also have history-related performances, literature recitals, and there’s an upcoming one on comics.

If you want to see a huge variety of events — theatre, arts, auctions, shows, exhibits, festivals, classes, and more — and you’re in NH, southern ME, or northern MA, you can try the NH365 website — search by region, type of event, or date.

If you’re the type, there’s also the great outdoors — plenty of local hiking or walking trails, biking or snowmobiling, whatever you’re into. Just standard caution — don’t hike off into the wilderness with someone you’ve never met before. Make common sense common again. Me, personally, I tend to prefer the outdoors when seen from the indoors for about 10 months of the year, but your mileage may vary.

With a little effort and creativity, there is plenty to do without food being at the center of everything. And hey, if you’re looking for another way to celebrate Friday, one that doesn’t involve cupids and hearts, can I suggest Ferris Wheel Day or Bulgarian Wine Day?

Name Tag Denise I grew up in rural Maine, and I’m used to driving all over hell and gone to go do things. Also, I went to school in Boston and it’s only about an hour or so from Manchester, so it’s fun for a day trip. The City of Boston site has a list of Free (and almost free) Things to Do.  You might want to check your city’s website to see what they recommend. Also check out Boston.com’s Things to Do section.  You can search by geographical area of the city and by category.

Since there are so many colleges in the area, you can to their websites and see what’s going on for lectures, readings, performances, concerts and events as well.  Since I went to Wellesley for undergrad, I had to go check out the stuff going on at Wellesley, but you can check out Harvard, MIT, Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern, etc, etc.  Also locally in New Hampshire, you can check out Saint Anselm College, UNH, and Plymouth State University

I always love to go the New England Aquarium or if tech is more your thing, go to the MIT Museum, I hear they have holograms and robots (They do, and it is awesome. — MK). Or go check out the Museum of African American History, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, the American Textile History Museum in Lowell. You can do the standard stuff like the MFA, the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum, and the Museum of Science, but why not check out the weirder quirkier offerings Boston has?  Or check out the less traveled stuff in your city?

The last thing I’d suggest is seeing what community theater groups your area has and what performances they might be putting on.  I just went to a local production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that was really good in Dover, New Hampshire. You can check out this website for local theater in New England.

We hope this gives you some great ideas; go have fun!

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