It is no wonder I am distracted while trying to work on my computer. Daily, I am inundated with lists as I go about my merry way of trying to read, write, or simply communicate with others.
Lists are hard for me to resist. They break things down into manageable pieces for us. And, deep down, don’t we all want to see something familiar on a list? I do. Before I read to the end of a “best of” list my gyrations include agreeing with some of the selections, disagreeing with others, making predictions on what comes next, or starting to fume because something in Indiana was overlooked. Obviously, Donald Trump missed the memo about our flyover status, but apparently appreciates our rich Hoosier history with veep candidates.
A recent list that compelled me to click through some editor’s favorites was “30 small towns you should visit this summer.” Ironically, our family summer vacation was to a small town. Come to think of it, most of our vacations are to small towns. I guess you have to be from one to know one. The website’s teaser photo featuring white puffy clouds and a deep blue sky set against a background of mountains, colorful row houses on both sides of the street (which I am sure must have been surrounded by water on at least one side) made me press down on the trackpad.
From this list of 30, I counted seven that I had either driven through or visited. Of those seven, two were in Michigan – Charlevoix and Petosky – both great picks. Gatlinburg was one – in my opinion, they did not try hard enough on that pick. Lake Placid, New York – was just there and love it! Staunton, VA has always been pretty when I have driven through it. The pick of Bardstown, KY, home of the Stephen Foster story, and whiskey was interesting when I visited there in high school, and number 30 on the list, a Hoosier favorite – Nashville, IN. Although I have not been to Barrington, MA, I would enjoy it because the saltbox-style house pictured could have been a replica of my own.
A few days later, I followed up the small town list with “America’s 25 most beautiful scenic byways” list. Most of the scenic byways are out west, (think mountains and more mountains) but I have been on a few – the Blue Ridge Parkway, the US 1 highway through the Florida Keys, the Natchez Trail in Tennessee, and the Pacific Coast Highway in California. Many of the western byways such as Route 66, the Red Rock scenic byway, and the Lake Champlain byway stretching from Canada to Vermont all sound like must do drives.
All of these must see lists, and a recent drive through a local park, reminded me we so often focus on faraway sights to see while missing those right under our noses. I, for one, am guilty of putting off enjoying some of my local treasures because I think they will always be there, or I have been there and done that.
While driving through Batesville’s Liberty Park the other day to check my mileage after a bike ride, my daughter remarked how nice it was to see people having lunch in the park. Now why didn’t I think of that? It has been a long time since I simply drove to the park to dine al fresco. What a simple pleasure. Food always tastes better outdoors.
Other simple pleasures abound in our area. The state park in Versailles is often overlooked by locals who know it is crowded with out-of-towners on the weekends, but the crowds disappear during the week making it the perfect time for a hike, swim, or picnic. Many local towns have historical societies with interesting exhibits. Milan has the museum dedicated to its 1954 basketball team that won the state title.
Don’t be that person who answers, “I have never been there” when a stranger asks about a local attraction. The next time you are looking to get away think inside the box and put some local attractions on your “must see” list and keep enjoying summer.