Who remembers going on a Sunday drive? In this slow living series, we will look back at this forgotten tradition.
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My family tradition
When I was a kid, my grandmother always had a Sunday dinner. Although my family is small, the table was filled with my sister, mother, uncle, aunt, and two cousins. We always had roast beef, either mashed potatoes or yorkshire pudding (my grandmother cooked many English dishes), a vegetable (usually more like a starch of peas or corn), bread, and dessert.
After dinner and dishes cleaned, we would often go for a Sunday drive. I don’t remember going anywhere in particular. Sometimes we would drive to a nearby lake and stop at the local custard stand (remember that fabulous stuff?). Most of the time we drove to other neighborhoods or neighboring towns to sight see. Every fall, we would simply drive through the mountains on back roads to see the changing leaf colors. It was beautiful!
History of the Sunday drive
Sunday driving originated way back in the horse and buggy days. Families regarded Sunday as a day of worship and relaxation. After church services, families would take their time going home and take alternative routes to sight see.
Starting in the 1920’s the Sunday drive took off after mass production of the automobile allowed people the ability to become more mobile. People often viewed Sunday afternoons as leisure time and taking a Sunday drive in the afternoon was a form of entertainment for the family. There were usually no plans or rush to get to any particular destination.
The demise of the Sunday drive
In the early 2000’s, the increased price of gas caused many families to abandon the leisurely Sunday drive. People also became more involved in work and other business activities that allowed less time for leisurely activities. Families spend less time together as every member has other agendas and time on the weekends is spread thin.
The culture of saving the planet from harmful emissions has also played a large role in the abandonment of the Sunday drive. Many people are made to feel guilty of wasting gasoline and emitting carbons into the air simply for their own pleasure.
Why go for a Sunday drive?
As with the traditional reasons, Sunday drives are a way to relax and unwind from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. Taking a leisurely drive with your family is a great way to reinforce bonds with each other and promotes good conversation with kids. No longer have family close by? Call your best friend and take a trip to the next town over. Pack up your pooch and take a scenic backroads trip around your area. Take yourself to a new destination and maybe make a new friend while getting a cone at a found custard stand.
Where to go on a Sunday drive
A simple Google of your area will give you loads of ideas to take a Sunday drive and many surprising places of interest to visit in your area when searched. Can’t find a destination? Just get in your car and go! Take a few backroads that you have often passed in your workday rush and see where they take you. You may be surprised to find a little restaurant that serves a fabulous Sunday lunch special!
If you want to spare your gas usage then pick a place close by, park your car, and explore the area on foot. You’ll spare the environment of the extra emissions and get a great workout at the same time!
Great Sunday drives near me
If you live or travel to the central Pennsylvania area, there are many fabulous Sunday drives. Here are some of my absolute favorites!
Benezette is a small town in Elk County that is home to over 1,400 elk and known as the “Elk Capitol of Pennsylvania”, the elk herd is the largest east of the Mississippi. This area sits along the elk 127-mile scenic drive through the Pennsylvania Wilds rugged and beautiful countryside. The drive is perfect for capturing wildlife viewing and a relaxing scenic drive. Visit the newly built visitors center for information about these majestic beasts and some of the best elk viewing. Visit Benezette
Black Moshannon State Park
Home of the Seneca Indians who once hunted, fished, and traded and subsequently, home to logging mills, the park was reclaimed in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Over 200 young men worked conserving timber, water, soil, and building roads to fight forest fires and planting trees to reforest the land. The CCC built primitive log cabins, pavilions, a concession stand, and rebuilt the dam that people still enjoy to this day, making an area in which people could enjoy swimming, boating, and fishing.
Black Moshannon is fed by natural springs and gets its trademark color from plant tannins in the water, producing a “tea” effect. There are many well groomed trails to hike surrounding the lake and a bog walk with a boardwalk. The park is the perfect place to take a drive and enjoy a picnic lunch by the water. Visit Black Moshannon State Park
Bilger’s Rocks is a 3-million-year-old rock formation covering 20 acres of land in Clearfield County, PA. Located within the Allegheny Mountain region, these rock formations tower over 50 feet above ground level. Drive through the scenic backroads to get there and spend some time exploring through the ancient caves, cliffs, passageways, and climbing trails. Search the carvings in the stones for the oldest date and pack a picnic lunch for the nearby pavilion area. Visit Bilger’s Rock
Traveling through scenic Amish country, you can find Penns Cave. The only all-water cavern in PA is a 45-minute “see it by boat” tour of underground lime formations. Take the kids and venture through the animal park after the tour or pan for gems! Visit Penns Cave
The Tuscarora Mountains are a ridge of the Appalachian Mountains in central Pennsylvania. It is named after the Tuscarora Indian tribe that once inhabited the area and the highest point on Big Mountain is at 2,458 feet. The best time to drive these rural roads is during the fall leaf change in September and October.
What are your favorite Sunday drives? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by!