I'm a former teacher who now runs a small business with my husband in Troy, NY. My favorite activity is reading a darn good book (The Elegance of a Hedgehog is a current favorite); but other things I love are absurdest theater, bebop, small jazz clubs, 'arthouse' movies, and making cookies with the neighborhood kids. I'm long married to my best, if occasionally most infuriating, friend and I have three adult children who provide me with ample opportunity and excuse to travel often to NYC, Princeton, NJ and Montreal.
When we travel internationally, we avoid tours and find comfortable ways to make connections with the local community. When we travel to NYC and Montreal we are visiting family or seeing a particular performance or exhibit that interests us. Wherever we travel, we take the greatest delight in sharing stories with people we meet and participating in activities sponsored by small local church, political, and cultural organizations (especially casual home cooked dinners and movie nights!)
Conversations about local history are important to us, so we are likely to veer away from chat about shenanigans at the local pub in favor of conversations (for instance) about quirky characters from the past and historical events that shaped the architecture and/or the personality of the neighborhood. (Florence is a favorite international destination)