You’ve been there–you’re traveling to Nowheresville for business. You are NOT looking forward to it. This place is NOT a mecca of culture, cuisine, or character. Sounds like no fun at all. You’ll just barricade yourself in your hotel room after your business is done. You’ll order substandard pizza delivery (if they even HAVE pizza delivery in this lost world) and stop somewhere for a beer. At least you’ll get a good rest. Maybe there’s something good on TV.
Before you wallow in your boredom, take a few minutes to check the place out. If you have time before your trip, call the Chamber of Commerce (even Nowheresville has one) and ask them to send you some information about their fair city. They may not get many requests, and will likely be thrilled to send it to you for free. Often you’ll receive not only information to make your business trip FUN, but you’ll receive valuable coupons (I know you’re traveling on a BUSINESS expense account, not a PERSONAL expense account). This may seem a little old-fashioned to your tech-savvy mind, but it just takes a quick phone call and saves you lots of time surfing the Web.
If you don’t have time before your trip to wait for snail mail, go wild on Web searches. Plug in the town’s name and state and words like “museum, culture, zip line, park, cave, winery, tour, one of a kind, world’s only, world’s best….” You get the idea. I PROMISE you there is something to see and do no matter where you go. What’s your hobby? What do you like to eat or drink? If you love German food, that little town may have the best German restaurant for hundreds of miles. If hiking is your thing, they may have a beautiful lake with miles of surrounding trails. If you like to shop, Nowheresville may have a quaint little main street that sells antiques you haven’t seen anywhere else.
Just this week I had to travel to a town that I’ve visited before on business, and I’ve passed through it on my way to bigger and better places. McAlester, Oklahoma; population approximately 20,000. Home of “Big Mac”–a prison. The town is known for the road signs near the prison that warn drivers not to pick up hitchhikers–they may be escaped inmates. Yeah. I was not looking forward to this trip until I remembered my own mantra–make business travel fun and enjoyable. I had to go, so I might as well make the best of it. So….
I did a quick search online, and found out the town has an award-winning winery right off main street. After my business was completed, I headed over to Whispering Meadows Winery. I didn’t have a lot of time, so instead of having a flight of wines, I did their $5 tasting. It was just right–I tried six of their dry whites and reds and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Linda poured for me, and was very knowledgeable and friendly. I asked her about other things to do there, and she mentioned Robber’s Cave State Park, just outside of town (I love caves, so that sounded really interesting; supposedly, Jesse James and Belle Starr hung out here–today you’ll find hikers, equestrians, rapellers, etc. enjoying the park). She also recommended a couple of Italian restaurants in nearby Krebbs, Oklahoma (Roseanna’s and Isle of Capri). I could have spent an hour looking at all the cheeses, specialty foods, and wine paraphernalia in the winery’s storefront. Alas, I had to move on. I highly recommend the following wines: Anticipation, Worth the Wait, Forget Me Not, and Choctaw Avenue (I love the names). I bought a bottle of Choctaw Avenue, took a couple of pictures and got back to business. Check out Whispering Meadows at www.whisperingmeadowswine.com.
Next time I “have” to go to McAlester, Oklahoma, I’ll already have a list of fun things to do. I just needed to open my mind and ask a few questions. I’d love to hear about your own business trip to “Nowheresville” and how you made it FUN.