By Jillian Gandsey
Leah Corcoran wears many metaphorical hats in life and one literal pillbox hat.
She’s the owner and operator of Fun Time Field Trips, which means her job is to facilitate fun for others.
“I do a lot of things,” Leah said. “I’m a nurse. I wait tables. I’ve worked in hospitality since I was 13 years old so I have this really unique skill set.”
All of that evolved into Leah planning, organizing and creating experiences for others. She plans day trips, overnight adventures, themed events and also custom trips. (And who wouldn’t want their fun arranged for them?!)
She plans about six months out and has been doing Fun Time Field Trips for about a year now.
“I try to get a broad outline of what I intend to do and start filling the details as things get closer,” Leah said. “I’m shooting for one to two events a month.”
She has a handful of supportive, well-connected people in her life that will help come up with ideas of locations to visit and stops to make along the way. She also receives a lot of suggestions.
“When people hear about what I do they just come to life with ideas,” Leah said. “I’m always trying to balance how far do we want to go because if we do a day trip, we have to be realistic about how far we can go.”
A typical day trip goes from 8 a.m. to
8 p.m. Leah greets customers on the bus, wearing her signature pillbox hat, and brings them on a thoroughly planned adventure that is guaranteed to be easygoing and include surprises.
“I have had people tell me you make it so easy to have fun and that’s what they enjoy about it,” Leah said. “They don’t have to do any of the worry or the planning or the stress.”
Leah recently hosted a “daycation” to Nisswa and if you’re considering going on one of these, here’s the itinerary from their trip. It will fi ll you in on what you can expect with everything from meals and tiny details to shopping and surprises.
Guests purchased tickets in advance online via the website, then received an email a few days prior to the trip with a weather forecast and reminders of what to bring, when to be at the bus, etc.
Board the Bus
8 a.m. at Cenex South: Guests board a cheerfully decorated bus with upbeat music playing in the background, receive a warm welcome from Leah, dressed in her signature pillbox hat. Once everyone is aboard, I introduce my assistant and driver, and with a little cheer of excitement, we’re off to our first stop.
Sevendays Design! A shop on the outskirts of town specializing in unique home goods, new and repurposed furniture and more. Mandy and Matt Fiedler, the owners, open the store for an exclusive shopping experience, where guests have first pick at their newest merchandise. While there, guests enjoy fresh, hot Dunn Bros. coffee (with Bailey’s, if they like!), and fresh maple glazed cinnamon rolls from Raphael’s Bakery, all of which was brought to the shop prior to our arrival.
After loading up their treasures, guests get back on the bus, where they have goodie bags waiting for them on their seats. We head back on the road, everyone happily chatting and anticipating our next stop. Leah raffles off door prizes, which consist mostly of gifts or gift cards from the stores in Nisswa that she’s obtained in the weeks prior to the trip. After a short 45 minute ride, we arrive at…
Kelly’s Cottage Garden, a charming greenhouse outside of Park Rapids that is bursting with springtime flowers and plants. Kelly Sanquist, the owner is waiting with a well-organized and thoughtful craft project consisting of painted pots and gorgeous succulents. Guests work on their springtime creations, while snacking on the cheese, crackers, olives and wine that Leah’s provided for them. The mood is cheerful, and everyone is smiling and relaxed, leaving with their own individual creations to take home.
Next we’re off to Sherwood Forest Restaurant, where we’re seated in a bright and beautiful dining room with one long table set for us. Each guest has a place-card listing their name and meal they’ve pre-selected when they registered. The restaurant provided us with three delicious, unique entrees to choose from, and lunch is included in guests’ ticket price. After a leisurely laughter-filled lunch, our group of 30-some happy people pause for a group photo, then hop back on the bus for the short trip to Nisswa!
Shop owners in Nisswa had been contacted by Leah in advance of the trip, and were anticipating our arrival with warm welcomes and special deals just for our group. Guests spent the afternoon browsing Nisswa’s charming shops with their friends and family, stopping in for a coffee or ice cream, and finding treasures to bring home with them.
Suprise Final Stop
At the designated time, guests boarded the bus with a bottle of cold water and snack waiting for them, and spent the next half hour visiting and relaxing as we made our way to our last, surprise stop… the newly opened, Portage Brewery in Walker! As our bus unloaded and guests walked up to the brewery, we were greeted by cheering, waving and smiling patrons outside on the Portage deck. They were thrilled to have a sneak peak and pint at this brand-spanking new brewery. A beer or two and many happy conversations later, we’re back on the bus headed home to Bemidji. Everyone is totally relaxed and happy, having spent a carefree, stress-free day in the company of people they care about, and having made a few friends along the way as well.