A few grandmas are taking life on the road with a mission to visit every town and city in Massachusetts and recently brought their trips to Worcester and Auburn.
The two grannies on the road, Beth Sobiloff and Debbie Thelen, took the day trip to a whole new level – sporting their logo t-shirts, they sometimes hop in their car and take a ride to a new place ; other times they take their husbands in the RV. However, wherever they go, they always return to their Plymouth residences with smiles and new memories, while eagerly planning their next trip.
Sobiloff and Thelen recently traveled to Auburn for Massachusetts Maple Weekend and visited Pure BS Maple Shack’s Bruce Hopper to take a tour and see the syrup making process. It wasn’t their first time in Auburn, but for Thelen, seeing a sugar shack was definitely a new experience.
“I’ve never seen the maple sugar process before, and it reminds me of when I make caramel sauce, all that gooey, sweet goodness ready to eat with a spoon,” said Thelen, owner of D and D Candies. “Bruce has a great personality for showing everyone the process and getting us to taste from the sap to the dark amber syrup. It was both fun and educational.
Sobiloff said that although she has visited several sugar shacks in the past, watching the process “never gets old. Many families came to the Pure BS Maple Sugar Shack for Maple Weekend in Massachusetts. I really enjoyed watching the kids discover how something from a tree becomes a delicious treat.
The Two Grannies formed about four years ago, when Sobiloff, owner of Birchwood Web Design, hadn’t taken a vacation in a while and was looking for a way to “play and work at the same time”, she recalls . She realized she could design websites from anywhere and reunited with another single friend, Ginny Just, a graphic designer who would eventually create the Grannies logo. The two began traveling, but their focus changed when Sobiloff discovered they could host a TV show on their local access channel for free. They decided to interview baby boomers who had “reinvented themselves,” she said.
Eventually the two ladies met their respective husbands and went their separate ways, with Sobiloff continuing the Two Grannies. She enlisted the help of a few “guest grandmas” and crossed paths with Thelen, whom Sobiloff interviewed about her candy-making business. Thelen said she had so much fun she asked to be the “full-time grandma”, and from there the two traveled, discovered new places and unique restaurants and shops. , and told everyone about it through their YouTube videos.
The Grannies have visited nearly 30 towns including Shrewsbury, Spencer, Marlboro, Sturbridge, Princeton, New Bedford, Hull, Marshfield, Scituate, Pembroke and Adams. In each – and in all to come – they enjoy learning about the history of each community. Overall, they said, the experiences were wonderful, the people very friendly and the restaurants delicious.
“I can’t even begin to tell you how many restaurants we’ve been to are so amazing,” Thelen said.
After visiting a town, Grannies often put together short clips that they post to their Facebook page (https://facebook.com/twogranniesontheroad), then they produce longer segments that highlight their activities from the visit to a particular city. They recently finished editing and posting their footage from last August’s first visit to Auburn, when they had breakfast at The Coffee Mug with State Rep. Paul K. Frost, discovered the town at the Auburn Historical Society Museum, traveled to the site of Robert Goddard’s first rocket launch, played miniature golf at Crystal Caves, and stopped at Major League Roast Beef and Coco’s Tropical Ice.
“We want to help promote local businesses because it’s really important,” Sobiloff said. “Local businesses are at the heart of this country. We are part of it.
During their late February trip to Worcester, the Grannies went to Miss Worcester Diner — which was “just amazing,” Sobiloff said — as well as the Worcester Historical Museum and Table Talk Pies, and spoke with Katherine Aguilar, owner of K Sense Co., located in Worcester Public Market. Sometimes their travels take them to the unexpected – although they had already planned to visit Polar Park, they were surprised to meet singer Bob Cowsill, who was performing inside that day.
“These are the funny things that happen when you travel,” Sobiloff said.
Through their travels, the Grannies also want to encourage baby boomers like them to live their best life and never stop exploring. Plus, they’d like to help connect baby boomers and millennials. “Both generations have so much to offer,” Sobiloff said.
Although the COVID pandemic and resulting quarantine slowed their travels for a while, they had accumulated enough footage from previous trips to be able to continue making and posting videos. Now that they can travel freely again, the Grannies hope to take two trips a month; Next on their itinerary are Hubbardston and Sudbury, as well as exploring other places around Plymouth. They love receiving recommendations on cities to visit, as well as what to see in those communities. Often they post suggestions on social media forums around town and hope to eventually get sponsorships.
“We’re going to try to do some lesser-known places so that people who watch our show are like, ‘This is interesting; I want to go,” Thelen said.
“We have a pretty good state, I have to say. I love Massachusetts. You have the mountains, the water, the cranberry bogs,” Sobiloff said. “We love doing that.”