Unique, Local Gifts That Will Surprise and Delight

We all have those on our gift list that are difficult to shop for. Unfortunately, we usually end up giving them gift cards from the big box chain that most fits their personality with the thinking being “I’ll let them get something they like.” I think we should reject that type of thinking and take a chance and get them something unique. We’re not talking sweaters here so don’t worry about being ridiculed for your gift choices.

Below is a list of local experiences that the recipient will either love or at least be able to make those around them jealous. And, let’s face it, when it comes to receiving gifts, making others jealous is as good as loving what you get.

Aero-Smith 30 Minute Introductory Flight

My wife got this for me for Christmas last year and I finally used it this week. Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of flying. Like most kids who grew up in the era of Top Gun and Iron Eagle, at some point I wanted to be an Air Force pilot but now, as a 40 year old man, I get queasy on the rides at the fair. Needless to say, becoming a pilot is probably not in my future. Not because of the motion sickness - let’s face it, if you’re doing barrel rolls in a small plane you’re probably doing it wrong. More because of cost and fear of having to land a plane on my own. I used to play Flight Simulator and games like that an the problem was never taking off and flying, it was always landing. That’s the hard part. It’s also the part that made me pucker when I took my intro flight.

The Aero-Smith intro flight was a great experience. Upon arrival, we (I took my two kids) met with the pilot who would be taking us on our flight and discussed my goals. Was I interested in really becoming a pilot or was I just there for the flying experience? For me, it was the latter.

Our pilot was Pete. He did a great job making us all feel comfortable. We went through the pre-flight checklist, checking the outside of the plane for any issues and then they pulled the plane outside of the hangar where we got in and went through another pre-flight checklist, checking the instruments. We then called the tower and told them our intentions, taxied to the runway and took off. At this point, Pete, flying since 1962, told me that once we hit 1600 feet, I was to bank the plane to the right and head north. Me? Fly the plane north? I was holding the yoke during takeoff and pulling it toward me to make the plane rise but seriously, I’m going to be steering the plane? I had a sneaking suspicion that Pete was going to give me the full experience. And he did. For the most part, I was in control of the plane for the full 30 minutes, flying north along I-81 and North Mountain, then turning back south and flying over our house so my daughter could see it - she was on the wrong side the first time we passed over it - and finally, navigating back to the the airport and lining up plane on the runway. Thankfully, Pete took control and landed the plane.

For roughly $100, this is a great gift for anyone with a little sense of adventure, or that would like to see the area from above. You can check my entire flight in the video below. I strapped a GoPro to my head and would recommend that you take a camera (and possibly a passenger to record your flight) with you.

Date Night Dinner Package Black Friday Sale!!!

For those that are still feeling adventurous but would like to stay on the ground, I’d recommend the 2016 McFarland House Date Night Package.

This package is available until Nov. 30 and is really a great deal when you consider the quality of the food and the experience. The package cost for two is $622.86 for 12 months of great meals or $51.90 per meal. Each month there is a specific theme based on either a holiday or a specific region of cuisine. Some of the themes this year were Asian Cuisine, Italian Feast, BBQ, Americana, St. Patrick’s Day, A Night in Paris, Southwestern and Wild Game Night.

My wife and I purchased the package for 2015 and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Those are two great options for the difficult to buy for person on your list this year. Know of something else that should be included on our list? Email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or send us a message on Facebook or Twitter!