My Top 4 Things to do During a Government Furlough

Periodically (i.e., whenever the whim strikes me, I’ll post my top picks. This is the second of the My Top Picks posts. Links to the original posts will be embedded in the text. Let me know what you think of this new blog feature!

It’s 27 September and Congress has just 3 more days to pass a continuing resolution to keep the Federal government funded before the budget expires at midnight, 30 September. Although John Boehner’s resignation has apparently increased the chances that Feds will keep working, time is still pretty short. Just in case Congress can’t pull a CR out of its ass, here are my top 4 picks for free ways for Federal employees to fill their time while they’re NOT allowed to work at their jobs:

4. Go bike riding along the Western Maryland Rail Trail!
Fall is perfect bike riding weather; I’ll almost be sad if there’s NOT a furlough! If you have a bike, then going bike riding is free! Check out the Western Maryland Rail Trail. Lots of convenient parking in Hancock, just off of I-70. My favorite portion of the trail is the half west of Hancock, but hey — if you’re furloughed, you have plenty of time. Explore the other half as well!

3. Explore a beautiful old garden cemetery
Almost every major city has a lovely old cemetery that hails back to the mid-1800s. These cemeteries tend to be beautifully landscaped Victorian garden cemeteries — destinations for Victorians in their day. They treated these places like parks, even if they didn’t have loved ones buried there, often bringing picnics. One of my favorite garden cemeteries is Laurel Hill Cemetery, in Philadelphia.

2. Go hiking in a Maryland state park
Okay, so not entirely free. But almost. And my choice, since national parks are closed due to the government shutdown, is Cunningham Falls State Park. This park has been a favorite since childhood. And since you have the time, pack a picnic to enjoy on the rocks of Cunningham Falls!

1. Go leaf peeping
It is almost October, after all. And since federal government workers can’t, ummm, work (thanks Congress), then why not enjoy the annual fall leaf spectacular? One of the best places to go — and you can take in a lovely waterfalls at the same time — is Swallow Falls State Park, near Oakland, MD. This state park is a perfect place to go enjoy the leaves: Every year Oakland hosts an Autumn Glory Festival, and this year it is slated for October 7-11 . Plus, it can be a pleasant drive through the mountains of western Maryland.

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Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I’d love to hear what you’re doing! Email if you’re interested in being a guest-blogger!