Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Tourist in Your Own Town

Me and My Middle Daughter, Ellen
By Laurie Epps

We all have that moment in middle age where we realize that our kids are growing up, that our time with them is limited. This is the case for me and my 17 year old daughter, Ellen. I'm proud of my daughter, but I know my time with her has changed drastically, and will continue to do so. I've got anywhere from one to four years of her clanking around the house in her gym T-shirts and pajama bottoms.

Naturally, being a college senior, my Spring Break doesn't line up with my kids. Mine was the second week of March, Ellen's the third, and my youngest's is the week before Easter in April. Since my middle daughter needed her haircut, I seized the opportunity to turn it into a mother & daughter day date. It also gave us a chance to get out into the beautiful sunshine after a pretty dreary winter for us. I know, it's nothing compared to other parts of the country, but for around here, it was pretty bad.

The Waterfall in Falls Park on the Reedy in Greenville, SC
One of the things that attracted us to the area was the natural beauty of downtown Greenville. The entire town is erected around a waterfall, and it is distinctive when compared to other cities I've lived in. All too often, I find that I've discovered things to do around town that most of the locals have never done. In my thinking, with the advent of the Internet, that just shouldn't be. So if this column inspires nothing else, I hope you'll look at your local chamber of commerce and travel board websites. You'll be surprised at what you'll find. That's what prompted 90% of my impromptu adventures.

Most of these sites have some kind of calendar of events section, and that's my first query especially if I've got out of town guests coming in. Each site has a different spin on things, and I think it pays to view more than one site. To give you a running start of google keywords, try:

  • Name of the city + Chamber of Commerce,
  • Name of the city + Calendar,
  • Name of the city + travel information, and
  • Name of the city + Board of Tourism.
If that doesn't yield much, broaden your search to statewide, or use an acronym that they use for your area. For example, my area is also called the "Upstate" or "Piedmont" region.

Using my own advice would yield some of the following links:

Anyway, you get the idea. Just have fun with it, and enjoy the attractions in your town. You might be surprised at what you'll find. Boldly be a tourist in your own area, and you'll also get precious time with those you love. I highly recommend it.
On Liberty Bridge in downtown Greenville, SC

Laurie Epps is a non-fiction author, essayist, editor, and poet living in Anderson, South Carolina. A seeker of beauty, her is dream is to travel the world one day and tell the many stories of those she meets. Columns include: Monday Morning Book Club, and Thoughtful Thursdays, a column dedicated to the fine art of poetry.

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