Monday, May 4, 2009

Promoting Rural Tourism

Old barns. Cows and horses. People. Corn fields. Tractors. Winding roads. Fresh air - well - except this time of year when farmers are fertilizing the fields. Deer stands. Flowers along the roadside. Quaint small downtowns. .... Rural tourism.

How do you promote it? Capture a story and tell it.

It was the mid 1960s - and in one rural North Carolina county, an elderly widow lived alone in her farm house tucked away on a back dirt road. She had a liquor still - and kept a loaded .45 by the door. The soil around her house contained a lot of arrowheads and quartz stones - many of them in large crystals. Several of us kids used to dig them up and collect them. Well, one day we were encroaching upon her property when she showed up - gun first.

Today, that property is a residential neighborhood. Only those of us kids knew the story. None of the land owners do. But they do say there was an old lady who was the last to sell her house. True story.

Now that's got intrigue and color. And Wayne Schnebelt nearly had a rear end full of buckshot! Stories sell.

MARKETING TIP: Dig into your rural community and find some of the colorful stories. Combine them with a few photos and post on the Internet or submit for publication. Local folklore, humor and tales capture cultural travelers' attention.

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