Monday, October 19, 2015

How to Chocolate Walk with All Your Friends!

Today we're going to meet Laura Mann who has attended the Brown County Humane Society's Chocolate Walk with a group of friends for many years now. The Chocolate Walk couldn't be successful without the chocolate and pet lovers who walk around the community gathering tasty chocolate treats. I know why I do it, but let's learn about Laura's motivations to participate in and her tricks for a successful Chocolate Walk. Laura, thank you for speaking with us today.

How did you first learn about the Chocolate Walk?

I first learned about the Chocolate Walk from Jane Weatherford.  Her nephew is my son-in-law and while we were on a visit to Nashville, she told us about this great fundraiser.  

What motivated you to go to the walk your first year?

Brown County/Nashville, IN is what I call my "happy place".  Nashville is such an amazing area with so many different things to do.  We love to visit 3 or 4 times a year.  The Chocolate Walk was a great excuse to visit again!  I am also the founder and fundraiser of a shelter for women and children that are victims of domestic violence and I am always looking for new ideas to raise money for the Shelter. 

The second year I attended the Chocolate Walk, I had a large group of eight people but I've found it difficult to get everyone back together every year even though I never go alone and generally get 4-5 folks to come with me and several others to attend in different groups.  How have you been able to get together the same folks and even expand your group over the year?

Our group loves to do things together but when we are at home, with all the commitments of family and work, we find it difficult to get together to do fun things.  Going to the Chocolate Walk is the perfect way to get out of town and spend some awesome time together.  We are always talking about our trip with other friends and family, which has caused our group to grow.  

The walk can take a few hours to do. Does your group have a plan of where you go and how long you spend in any one stop? If so, what is it?

We all have the mindset that we are there to just RELAX and enjoy the day.  We started at one end of town and just wander to the other end.  We stop for lunch about halfway through and then finish the rest of the stops.  If someone wants to spend extra time in a specific shop, the rest of the group just enjoys talking with one another, people watching, and snacking on the goodies we have already picked up.  

Some of the stops on the Chocolate Walk are there year after year but others drop out. Is there a stop you remember fondly that  you wish would participate again?

There isn't a specific one that I remember that I would like to have back, we just enjoy whatever is available each year. 

I'm not far from Nashville, just over in Bloomington, so this is always a day-trip for us. But I hear that you make this a weekend getaway. Where are you all from and how far in advance do you all need to make your arrangements for housing?

We are all from Plymouth, IN which is about 4 hours north of Nashville.  The first year we arrived the morning of the Walk and quickly realized that we needed to come the night before so we could be ready for a big day!  And we also realized we needed to spend Saturday night, too!  This year we will be arriving on Thursday afternoon and leaving on Sunday.  

We stay in a Brown County Getaway's cabin.  Peggy, the owner, is wonderful!  Her properties are absolutely gorgeous and are well-equipped to meet our needs.  This year we are staying in the Rustic Elegance Lodge because it has the 5 bedrooms we need.  We make arrangements for the next year while we are at the current event.  

Nashville is known for a lot of unique shops and, of course, all of the shops hope the walkers stop and spend some money. Do you also do other shopping or events in Nashville when you come for the Walk?

The day of the Walk we browse all the stores and then the next day we go back and make our purchases.  I personally do Christmas shopping for the hard-to-buy-for people on my list because of the unique items in the stores.  

If someone out there is thinking of trying this chocolate walk this year (everyone within a few hours of Nashville, Indiana, needs to try this out), what advice would you give them to make it a truly enjoyable event?

Advice I would give to a "first-timer" would include #1, comfortable shoes!  The next thing would be to be prepared to spend the entire day exploring the shops.  I am sure some people can complete the walk in less time but it is so much more fun when you give yourself plenty of time to look at all the interesting items that the merchants have to offer.  Attendees will also want something to carry their chocolate treasures in while they are walking from store to store.  I have seen many different ideas that people have but I would be sure to use a tote bag of some sort that can be easily put over your shoulder so it is out of the way while you are shopping.  If you are not going home right away, I would also recommend a plastic storage bag to keep some of the baked items fresh.  

Thank you so much, Laura, for sharing your experiences with us all.

Thank you for letting me talk about the Chocolate Walk!  This event is run so well.  As an attendee, I appreciate that they have thought of everything to make it an enjoyable day.  In my opinion, the Chocolate Walk is a perfect weekend getaway for everyone!!  What's not to love...raising money for animals, shopping, time with friends and family, and CHOCOLATE!!  :-)  

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