Monthly Archives: December 2008

The Green Valley Book Fair: Read for Less

Get excited penny-pinching bookworms of the Harrisonburg/Staunton area…The Green Valley Book Fair has opened for the final time this year.

The Green Valley Book Fair is a discount book outlet store with over 500,000 new books at bargain prices 60 picture-244percent to 90 percent off the retail cost.  The book fair provides a multitude of categories including (but not limited to) fiction, history, health and self-help, children’s books, religion, science, sports, cooking, gardening, crafts, art, reference, and nature and outdoors. The vast range of books is also supplemented by a solid poster selection.

I couldn’t resist passing up this opportunity so I made the quick drive to get the first-hand Green Valley Book Fair experience.  What was supposed to be an in-and-out trip turned into an hour of awe.  My viewpoint might be slightly bias since I’m a complete nerd when it comes to books, but this place was utopia!

For some reason I had this preconceived notion that the book fair would be outdoors and that I’d have to rummage through sporadic boxes of books but I was relieved to find that it was inside a large well-organized warehouse.  The books were spread among two floors, divided into categories, and alphabetized by author.  The neat arrangement didn’t test my patience once and I had an easier time navigating through the book fair than I ever have a library.

While the setup definitely impressed me, this quickly became overshadowed by the stellar prices.  I don’t think I saw one book over five dollars.  There were classic novels by Jack London and Mark Twain for $2.50 (including my favorite Huck Finn!) and I wound up buying Everything Bad is Good For You by Steven Johnson for $3.50 (originally $15).  This book is a national bestseller and is about how surfing the web, tv, movies, and video games in fact makes you smarter, so I’m pretty excited.

The Green Valley Book Fair is open from now until December 18 so make sure you catch it before it’s gone.  Up until December 14th the book fair is open 9am to 7pm daily and from December 15-18 it’s open 8am to 4:30pm daily. 

Directions: From I-81 take exit 240.  Turn left onto VA-257 E.  Stay straight to go onto Friedens Church Rd for 1.2 mi.  Turn left onto S Whitesel Church Rd. Turn right onto Green Valley Ln. 

-Tina

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Frugal Traveling

I get pretty idealistic whenever an extended amount of time off from school approaches.  I see this span of time as a golden opportunity to tour the northern cities of the East Coast, head out West and camp in the Grand Canyons, or maybe even jump on a plane to Europe.  I’ll usually find an equally unrealistic friend to map out a travel plan with and we’ll spend hours in the library googling different locations around the world.  Finally, our long sought after break from school arrives, and ten times out of ten, the furthest either one of us makes it out of our house is five miles up the street to the local McDonald’s.  While I can’t really pinpoint exactly why our optimistic hopes and dreams to see the world turn to dust once we get home, something tells me it might have to do with money, or the lack-there-of.

Anyways, it’s that time of year again where I’m sitting in the library looking for things to distract me from my end-of-the-semester work load, so naturally I’ve been surfing the web in hopes of making my visions of becoming the intrepid traveler a reality.  I’ve gone as far as typing into Google “traveling for free” (who am I kidding) and while I have yet to find a free airplane ticket, hotel, or cruise, I did stumble across a site with a rather interesting travel concept.

Vagabondish is a site set up to offer travel advice to vagabonds (those who travel continuously without a permanent residence).  What intrigued me on the site was 8 Tools to Help You Travel Forever and Live Rent Free.  The article described and offered links to eight networking sites created for different types of travelers looking for rent-free places to stay.  Some sites required some sort of exchange-for instance Caretaker’s Gazette is a network designed for people who care for the elderly, house sit,work on a farm, etc. to receive free lodging.  Other sites such as Couch Surfing and Global Freeloaders consist of travelers and hosts, who are willing to offer up/stay in a home for no exchange.

I’m familiar with Couch Surfing and know a few people who have done it.  Basically they went anywhere they wanted to go in the United States and found a person on the site who lived in the area and stayed on their couch or in a guest room.  Everyone I’ve talked to who has tried this has had nothing but positive experiences but I can’t help but wonder about the trust factor involved in this.  However, it is tempting because housing tends to be the most expensive aspect of traveling and couch surfing eliminates this hefty cost.

Besides the eight sites, the vagabond site had a lot of other useful articles and tips on how to travel frugally.  So, for all you doers out there who actually plan on making it out of your town over break, give it a look, and let me know if you’d ever consider couch surfing.

-Tina

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