Grace Notes

a blog about life’s everyday magic

May 25, 2023

Infinite Wonders Around the Corner

This time of year, it’s common to feel a little stir-crazy. The blustery days of winter are behind us, the weather is warming up, the days are getting longer, and we want to get out there and do something. There’s something extra special about embarking on small adventures. Whether you’re exploring your own neighborhood, a nearby town, or even staying at home, there are infinite wonders waiting to be found just around the corner.

You don’t need to travel far, or go on an expensive vacation, to satisfy your wanderlust. Here are some of our favorite small adventures from the pages of Bella Grace.

13 Ways to Travel Around the World Without Going Anywhere from Bella Grace Magazine

13 Ways to Travel Around the World Without Going Anywhere

We’ve selected six of Andrea Farthofer’s 13 suggestions to share with you here.

  1. Taste the world. Bake a traditional Austrian sachertorte and enjoy a big slice of it served with a generous dollop of whipped cream. Imagine walking the old cobblestone paths of downtown Vienna and sitting in one of its famous traditional coffee houses while reading the newspaper.
  2. Dance the Hawaiian hula and get lost in the aloha spirit. Look for an online class and sway to “Pearly Shells” or “Royal Hawaiian Hotel.”
  3. Read a book set in a faraway country. Opt for Donna Leon mysteries for a quick trip to Venice with Commissario Brunetti, or join Mia Kankimäki on a trip around the world in “The Women I Think About at Night: Traveling the Paths of my Heroes.”
  4. Learn a few words in another language. Teach yourself how to say “thank you” in at least five languages: Danke, merci, mahalo, grazie, tack sa mycket (German, French, Hawaiian, Italian, Swedish).
  5. Adopt a tradition that is popular elsewhere. In mid-June, re-create a little piece of a Swedish Midsomer party by making and putting a flower crown in your hair the way Swedish girls and women do. In July, make someone happy by practicing the Australian tradition of Christmas in July, given that July is the coldest month there and most closely resembles proper winter temperatures. Or put on red underwear for New Year’s as Italians say it will bring good luck.
  6. Take your art journal or diary with you on a trip to a park, or a nearby lake or river, and journal to your heart’s content as if you were doing a travel journal. For the full experience, book an online class with a travel sketch tutor, such as Australia-based Erin Hill, who takes you places with her online travel sketching classes.
Words by Andrea Farthofer and Photo by Laura Stolfi | Bella Grace Issue 31


Infinite Wonders Around the Corner: Inspiration for Small Adventures

Swooping Owls, Motorcycle Dates & Coffee on the Beach

Perhaps the last year has brought you hardships and difficult waters to navigate. Perhaps it brought adventure and joy. Perhaps it was a mix of everything — highs and lows, ups and downs, good days and bad.

When I look back on the last year, I’m struck by the thought that, while we didn’t do many big things, it was actually the little, everyday things that made our year full and magical. We didn’t get to go on any big trips, but instead adventured in our own beautiful neck of the woods. We didn’t win the jackpot or get that big promotion at work, but we found happiness and fulfillment in what we already have. We didn’t go on that big romantic getaway we’ve dreamt of for years, but made the most of the little pockets of time we found to spend together. We kayaked on the open ocean and felt the saltwater splash in our faces. We went camping for four nights as a family. We saw beautiful coastal scapes, ate campfire spaghetti, had many s’mores, and slept terribly but cuddled together in a tent.

Words by Johanna Rosolen and Photo by Brad & Jen Butcher | Bella Grace Issue 26


Infinite Wonders Around the Corner: The Soul of a Wanderer

The Soul of a Wanderer

If there is one thing the pandemic lockdown has made me realize, it’s that keeping my inner explorer fed is not necessarily about distance or exotic locales. It’s seeing what’s around me. It’s about my neighbor at the end of my street who, while out for a walk one day in the fresh air, I found sitting on her porch. Instead of offering a quick, hurried greeting as I usually did, I stopped to chat and ended up hearing her story about how she was born in this little island town to Italian immigrants looking for a better life. I listened as she weaved her tale of growing up as the daughter of a lobsterman and a maid.

Expeditions that excite or enhance imagination don’t necessarily require planes, trains, or automobiles. They are sometimes about opening my front door and stepping over the threshold to take a walk — to stumble upon a half-hidden bird sanctuary I must have passed unnoticed a hundred times before stopping to notice how in the springtime it’s filled with bright red cardinals and blue jays, and a stunning array of old twisty trees whose trunks are wide enough for chipmunks and squirrels to build homes inside.

Words by Bobbi Lerman and Photo by Bonninstudio | Bella Grace Issue 26


12 Things to Do in Your Neighborbood: Staycation Ideas

12 Things to do in 12 Hours in a New Town

It is always a happy plan to get up before the sun for a day trip. Our family loves to explore small towns and big cities in our home state. The drive is never too long to make us tired, and there are so many memorable experiences to be had in each new place. Every town truly has its own special vibe. Best of all, we’re home from day-tripping in time to slip on pajamas and sleep in our own beds.

Here is one of Diane Baker’s 12 suggestions for a happy day in a new town.

Find out in advance if the town you’re day-tripping to has a local festival, and coordinate your visit for that day. Local festivals and fairs are such a happy, carefree adventure. You can feel like a child with cotton candy or a giant pretzel in hand while walking slowly through the handmade items offered by locals. Buy some local fruit, step into the basement of the courthouse to view their local art and photography contest winners, browse old books on sale for a dollar, and stay a few minutes to listen to a local band playing on a stage at the end of the street. Walk slowly and enjoy the carefree fun of a festival!

Words by Diane Baker and Photo by Adrian Cotiga | Bella Grace Issue 30


Going on Smallish Adventures


Want to know what it’s like to live in complete spontaneity? How can one truly capture life’s adventure? Sit in your car, no map, no destination, and just drive. This is what we’ve done for years, and it’s how we have found the best places: little coffee shops, boutiques, and delicious restaurants in a village where we’ve never been. I could honestly write a book full of unexpected places one could visit in New York alone.

Life is full of different roads. Hills, wide turns, and dead ends make up a lot of this journey we call life. I’ve learned that you need to stop at those fields of sunflowers for a spontaneous photo shoot, or grab coffee at that tiny coffee shop on the corner. Enjoy the route. Stop worrying about the destination. I think we get so caught up in the place we want to end up that we lose sight of what’s around us. And it’s only when we take time to live in the moment that we can truly experience joy, happiness, and adventure.

Words by Chantal Stephens and Photo by Thais Ramos Varela | Bella Grace Issue 25


We hope you enjoyed these excerpts from the pages of Bella Grace. You can get a sneak peek inside these and other past issues on our publisher’s website.

Tell us, what kind of small adventures do you like to go on?

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Comments ( 3 )

  1. Rhonda Loyd

    May 26, 2023 at 12:31 pm

    Thank you for taking me on this journey today. Words that bring to mind a time of easy, a time of feeling giddy for the simple delights of life!

  2. Julia

    June 14, 2023 at 11:21 pm

    I love going on small adventures to my local bookstore with my boyfriend. We’ll grab a few things to read and read in the cafe for a while, sometimes indulging in a baked good they have displayed ♥

  3. Victoria

    June 15, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Any path that takes me to water . It doesn’t matter if it’s a river , lake or stream and the road to get there is dirt, gravel or concrete. The water can be still, full of frothy waves or even frozen. When my soul is looking for a solution or even a moment of solitude I just add water.

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