What is in your own backyard?
I think that generally speaking, most people get too wrapped up in their day to day lives to pay attention to what cool sites that are waiting for them in their own towns. People tend go to work, go home, eat dinner, sleep and repeat. They tend to take the same route home everyday. People like things that are familiar. If people explore at all, it will tend to be outside of their own towns.
I was just like everyone else in that respect.
It wasn’t until I started hosting couchsurfers in my home that I began to explore my own community. Couchsurf hosting made think about having something to offer guests other than a free bed. I really wanted to give my guests a full and rich experience. I went out on a mission to explore my town with the eyes of a tourist.
I had always assumed that I lived in a sleepy New England town where nothing ever happened. It was picturesque but not exciting. When I started to look around with a new set of eyes, I found some beautiful gems and fascinating stories. Once I began looking for them, they just seemed to pop up all over the place.
Now I give entertaining historic walking tours of Hartford Ct. I am currently living in an old converted textile mill, with a rich history. I am working on a historic tour of Manchester Ct.
This weekend, I was chasing waterfalls in my state with my boyfriend. We found some beautiful waterfalls right in a town that I thought I knew fairly well. I generally knew the falls existed, but I had never visited them. Attached to the site, was an exciting yet sad story that led to the area to be known as Indian Leap. You never know what you will discover until you step outside your front door.
Gem mining Challenge
I challenge you to take a look around your town with the eyes of a tourist.
Strategy 1: Look for plaques that denote something about the area. Take a few minutes to stop and read them. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Strategy 2: Visit the oldest cemetery in your town, read the headstones. You might find a few famous people that are laid to rest there. The family names might bring about questions that you might want to find out more about.
Strategy 3: Ask your neighbors what they know about the history of the town or cool out of the way places that few people know about.
Perhaps you will discover that your sleepy little town had a very rich history worth repeating.
Let us know what you found out.
Please comment on what is one of your favorite gems that you discovered, in your own backyard? Please include the town and the name of the site and why you like it. I can’t wait to hear about some of these hidden gems, so it will inspire me and give me ideas of things to see off the beaten path when I go traveling again.
For me, I am going with Yantic River Falls and the Indian Leap in Norwich CT. The falls were really impressive for New England falls and the story behind it was so tragic and interesting. It really captured my imagination.