Having lived in Manhattan for years, it was only until I moved back out to Long Island that I started to realize (and somewhat regret) how little I explored and what I missed during my time as a resident. Because of that, I'm always interested in discovering new ways to explore familiar surroundings, find new haunts, and learn more about where I live.
One of my favorites that I've come across recently is StrayBoots.com. Stray Boots offers virtual scavenger hunts (with just enough fun area-history built in) that occur entirely via text message, so you can start and stop whenever you'd like, and play entirely at your own pace. Games can take anywhere from about 2-4 hours to complete, and you can get started whenever is most convenient for you.
While the venture began (and still operates primarily) in New York City, there are a number of other cities you can explore - like Las Vegas, L.A., Nashville, New Orleans, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, and even the U.K. Within NYC, specific tours include Greenwich Village, SoHo, Wall Street & Old Manhattan, Chinatown & Little Italy, the Flatiron District & Union Square, Harlem, a financial district women's history tour, a NYC shopping package, introductory NY packages, museum tours, and many more too numerous to list here.
While you could just go out with a friend or two and take the tour yourself, our favorite options include larger groups. Split into two teams and compete against each other, or go for broke with a corporate outing, birthday party, or bachelor/bachelorette party. Just remember that finishing first does not always a winner make. The “play at your own pace” setup allows plenty of time to stop at the bar for a drink in the middle of your game, and generally the team that finishes with the best pictures (and stories to accompany them) gets our vote for victory. And should you get caught up having too much fun along the way, no worries, you can pick up where you left off anytime within a year of the day you signed up.
So if you live on the East End, take one of these beautiful spring days, head to the nearest Hampton Jitney, use the free Wi-Fi to purchase your game, spend a day (or night) in the city, and learn something new. If you're already in the City, get out and explore a different neighborhood you don't usually spend time in. And remember, we only regret the things we didn't do!
After learning about this article, the wonderful people over at StrayBoots decided to offer a discount to our readers! Use promotional code NEXTSTOP when you checkout to get 20% off! Offer expires June 30th 2012.
BONUS: Springtime in New York