Go With a Purpose.
A blog about connecting through places that matter.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Local Traveling: Discover Your Hometown

This week – May 9-17 – is National Travel and Tourism Week. But you don’t have to travel far to experience a new place. Just look beyond the familiar and seek out the hidden jewels your local area has to offer.

Since I moved to Charlottesville, Virginia in March, I have been taking a “discovery tour” of my new town every weekend. Living in the middle of downtown makes it that much easier, because all I have to do is walk out of my front door and let my curiosity guide me.

We asked our Twitter followers to recommend one “must-do” where they live. Here are just a few of the great responses:

AlaskaArtist (Dianne Hendrix, Palmer, Alaska):
Must walk over a glacier. Matanuska Glacier in Mat-Su Valley is easiest to get to by car from Glenn Highway.

“There are many glaciers to see in Alaska, but Matanuska Glacier is my choice for taking visiting friends. This glacier is easy to drive to going up the Glenn Highway until you see the signs. There are nice places along the way to take photos and the drive is beautiful. You will have a unique experience walking over glacier ice for hours. From the blue hues sparkling from the ice to the surrounding mountains your eyes and camera will be awed. Don't forget to look down or you will miss a treasure of things frozen in time in the ice.”

Agallihar (Amber Gallihar, Columbus, Ohio):
Gallery Hop in Columbus, Ohio. First Saturday of every month. Art, food, music and unique shops.

“One of the greatest things about Gallery Hop here in the Short North ‘arts’ district of Columbus, Ohio is that it is a different experience each time; partially because we get all four seasons here, which always changes the mood/themes. Work from local artists is displayed throughout a variety of businesses (everything from salons, retail, restaurants, bars, etc.) There are musicians and vendors parked into nooks along High Street which contribute to the whole "vibe" of the monthly event. With so much local art present, it sort of lures you into shops you might not necessarily walk in if they weren't displaying. It's just a fun, unique Columbus tradition that people from all ages enjoy.”

TravelingAnna (Annemarie Dooling, Staten Island, New York):
I would recommend they visit the outer boroughs. Much less crowded, still fun.

Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx have a really good range of activities that make for great day trips. In Brooklyn, you can grab an authentic Caribbean beef patty on Flatbush Ave, shop DUMBO's high-end boutiques, and try fresh Italian pasta in Bensonhurst. Staten Island has the cleanest beaches in the city with amazing views and the ferry from Manhattan is free.”

Kathy_moore (Staunton, Virginia):
In historic downtown Staunton, look at vast array of architectural styles and ponder influence of one man: TJ Collins

“Founded in 1747, Staunton was mostly unscathed after the Civil War and it now offers one of Virginia's finest collections of 19th-century architecture. The unusual array of architectural building styles in the city’s compact downtown is generally attributed to the vision of a single man – architect T. J. Collins. His prolific work during a time of economic vitality greatly affected the town’s appearance.

Collins’ architectural drawings are preserved today at the Historic Staunton Foundation (appropriately located inside a TJ Collins building.) Often called the ’Queen City‘ of the Shenandoah Valley, Staunton features six separate historic districts – the city is pedestrian friendly, with live theater and numerous restaurants that celebrate fresh, farm-to-table regional cuisine.”

Kathy also had some excellent advice that pretty much sums up what local traveling is all about: “Park the car and walk. Be curious. Immerse yourself in the experience.”

Your turn to share: What would you recommend visitors do in your city or town? Post a comment below. You can also submit a review of a heritage site or destination in your community!


Kari Rippetoe is the Marketing Manager at Heritage Travel, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Photo credit: Charlottesville's Downtown Mall: Flickr, bobtravis

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic push for a stay-cation and thanks, @kathy_moore for the "park the car" reference. Find more Park the Car Getaways in Virginia at http://www.virginia.org/site/features.asp?FeatureID=473!



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