FIVE SUMMER SPLURGES FOR LESS THAN $10
Even if you, like many Americans, are staying close to home this summer, you don't have to miss out on warm-weather indulgences. Despite lingering financial concerns, simple summer splurges still abound.
"This season provides so many little, inexpensive opportunities to treat ourselves," says Marco Casol, chief executive officer and president of specialty dessert ingredient manufacturer PreGel AMERICA. "Indulgence doesn't have to be about spending a lot of money -- it can just as easily involve having a new or memorable experience with friends or family."
Here are five affordable ways to treat yourself this summer -- during an afternoon with friends, a family outing, or even a first date -- all for less than $10 per person.
A Little Italian Vacation
If a trip to Italy is out of the question, stop by your local gelato shop to be momentarily transported to another place by the frozen dessert's fresh, intense flavor. Italians consider gelato part of everyday life -- partly because of its nutritional value (it's made with natural ingredients and contains fewer calories and less fat than other frozen desserts) and partly because it's frequently enjoyed with friends and family in the comfortable, inviting atmosphere of the neighborhood gelateria.
"In Italy, eating gelato is as much about the pleasure of the company you're in and where you are as it is about enjoying its delicious taste," says Casol. It's because of that taste and experience, that many Italians eat gelato in place of lunch or dinner in addition to an afternoon or evening treat.
Visit www.whygelato.com to find a gelato shop in your area.
Monopolize on Fun
It's no surprise that the promise of fame and fortune made Monopoly an instant favorite when the game debuted at the height of the Great Depression - and that fantasy certainly hasn't lost its appeal in today's economy. Pack a picnic and take your next trip on the Reading Railroad to a local park, where you can add a bit of fresh air and sunshine to your list of assets.
Check out your local parks and recreation department's Web site for parks near you.
Dog Days of Summer
You're not the only one who likes to get outside and play when the weather's nice. A trip to the dog park provides a great opportunity for you to meet fellow dog-lovers while your pooch gets some exercise. In addition, some cities even have Fido-friendly dog bars where you can grab a drink and hang out with your two-legged friends while your four-legged pal plays with his canine buddies.
For dog-friendly spots in your city, go to www.dogster.com.
Fore . . .
Few things say summer fun like a round of miniature golf, so revisit your youth by rounding up a few of your closest friends to see who's more skilled at navigating their ball through windmills and waterfalls. If you'd prefer to show off your long game, take the competition to the driving range to decide once and for all who owns the longest-drive and closest-to-the-pin bragging rights.
Go to www.golflink.com for a list of miniature golf courses and driving ranges in your area.
Sample the Local Flavor
It's a gloomy summer afternoon and you can't quite stomach the idea of spending another day channel surfing on the couch. Why not gather up a group and sample something new during a tour of an area brewpub or winery? You'll be doing your part to stimulate the local economy and just might find a new favorite to show off at your next backyard barbeque -- just remember to bring a designated driver.
Check out http://www.beer100.com/brewpubguide.htm for breweries near you.
About PreGel AMERICA
PreGel AMERICA is the U.S. division of PreGel S.p.A., a global ingredient company headquartered in Reggio Emilia, Italy. PreGel develops, manufactures and distributes natural ingredients, toppings and fillings of the highest quality from Italy, including flavors, powders and pastes used in gelato, frozen yogurt, pastry and other specialty desserts. Based in North Carolina since 2002, PreGel directly sells to restaurants, gelato cafes, coffee shops, frozen yogurt shops, bakeries, pizzerias, hotels, resorts, grocery stores and universities, as well as a few distributors in the United States. The company headquarters is in Concord, N.C., just northeast of Charlotte. For more information, visit www.pregelamerica.com.