Excursions make everyone happy (Part 1) / by Annette Tait

(Part 1 of a 2-part series. Forgive us -- there were just too many great opportunities here!)

By definition, an excursion is a short journey or trip -- especially when engaged in as a leisure activity.

What does that mean to your town or business? How can you benefit from hosting excursions?

Excursions can can be a draw for new residents. They can help lure employees to your town. They can foster new friendships, build community, and showcase fabulous things in your area. Excursions can help build up the health of your community and/or business.

What kinds of places or points of interest can you think of? Let’s take a look at a few ideas from other places. In this first part, we’ll look at excursions from small towns or rural areas to nearby attractions. Part two will cover excursions within a town or area, or to nearby points of interest nearby.

Mini trips

The Queen Elizabus was a brilliant investment for the city of Garrison, N.D., where it's become one of the most popular parts of the annual Dickens Festival.

The Queen Elizabus was a brilliant investment for the city of Garrison, N.D., where it's become one of the most popular parts of the annual Dickens Festival.

These are excursions that give people quick getaways from rural home towns to nearby cities or attractions -- efficiently, and without the trouble of driving themselves.

Akron, Colo., (pop 1700, has a small airport, primarily for privately owned aircraft. There is no branded airline that serves it. Then how did it rate a monthly excursion plane from Akron to Reno, Nevada?  That’s right! For many years, folks could hop aboard an excursion flight to Reno, the “Biggest little city in the world,” instead of driving the 100+ miles to Denver to catch a plane.

The excursion flight was right in their own backyard, with people they already knew, no long lines, and a welcome committee at both ends!

Folks were met by a casino bus with a hostess on board who handed out a coupon book, free tokens, and took them to the hotel. This was a perfect getaway for rural folks!

And great for the town of Akron as well. Once folks drove in from the countryside, they would still get fuel at the gas station before going back home, many would eat the café -- before leaving and when coming home, stop at the market for groceries, and maybe even the hardware to see if the parts they ordered were in.

Jumping frogs have been celebrated in Calaveras County, Calif., since Mark Twain made them famous.

Jumping frogs have been celebrated in Calaveras County, Calif., since Mark Twain made them famous.

So many good things! And all with people who were friendly, helpful, and happy to see them and keep their dollars local.

Do you have a nearby airport? Charter planes? Small commercial planes? Or a coach (charter or party bus) service?

Where can you go? Amish Country?  Jackson Hole for skiing?  A nearby attraction or event? Think creatively.

The New England Snow Bus in Boston, Mass., has several pickup locations for day trips to a local ski resort. It’s a day trip -- arrive by 9 a.m., leaves at 4:30 p.m. to return.  The cost also includes a lift pass. And the passengers don’t have to worry about driving or trying to load their gear in the cold. The driver does it all!

You can grab a transit bus in Sonora, Calif., and go 15 miles to the historic town of Columbia or to the Calaveras County Jumping Frog Jubilee. Cool, right? Mark Twain and all that good fun history.

Think about it -- wouldn’t it be great to hop aboard a plane or bus and leave the driving to someone else? If a day or two getaway sounds good to you, your friends, neighbors, and people from the surrounding area are likely to join you.