Excursions make everyone happy (Part 2) / by Annette Tait

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

If you missed part one, excursions are defined as short journeys or trips -- especially when they’re engaged in as a leisure activity. They’re also a way to draw new residents and help lure employees to your town, as well as foster new friendships, build community, and showcase fabulous things in your area. And all of these things help to build up the health of the community and/or businesses that host them.

 Threshing bees, county fairs, car shows, themed events -- what happens in your city, town, or nearby area? 

Threshing bees, county fairs, car shows, themed events -- what happens in your city, town, or nearby area? 

Part one looked at excursions that give locals a brief, no-hassle day or two get-away to somewhere of interest. Now we’ll look at ways to bring people to your town or area, and give them an experience they’ll want to come back for again and again.

Think local

Let’s think about what our own communities may have to offer, or what entices us to other towns. 

Think about what you have that others don’t, or that you can show off in a different way. Put on a different perspective and think about where you’d like to go or what you’d like to see if you weren’t “from here”?

Then figure out who those places or things attract. Are they for women? Families? Men?

How can we leverage that knowledge? How many creative ideas can you think of to reach those folks?

And don’t worry about not living in or near a city of size. In this case, size doesn’t matter! You don’t even have to leave your own town!

We just happen to live rural and are a minimum of 45 miles to a “city.” But there are many small towns nearby. Most of these towns are well under 700 people, and have the bare minimum of things to or places to shop.  But they each have something to offer.

Excursions can be fun! And a fabulous way to get to know the people in your own community better.

So here are some ideas to help you get started:

 Maybe there are attractions or venues nearby that would make fun day trips, stay-cations, or overnight get-aways?

Maybe there are attractions or venues nearby that would make fun day trips, stay-cations, or overnight get-aways?

  • Organize fishing, ice or open water, on the local lake. Either way, use services -- filet and pack their catch, provide snacks or a meal, or some other special treatment -- to make the experience unique for seasoned fishermen and novices alike.
  • How about a charter bus trip to the sledding hill? A warming hut, hot chocolate and snacks, and you’ve got memories in the making. Or a local park or wildlife management area for hiking, with a picnic lunch that they don’t have to carry?
  • Consider a half-day excursion to a nearby town that offers antique stores. Or how about craft and quilt stores? Maybe work with the local B&B or café to serve a picnic lunch as part of the package.
  • Host a day trip to a local farm, where kids -- from 2 to 92, as the old saying goes -- can see how their food is grown and where it comes from. And taste freshness they’ll never experience in produce from a grocery store.
  • There are plenty of bird and/or wildlife watching enthusiasts, who’d love new territory and new species to identify. Not to mention the no-hassle transportation.
  • Photographers are another possibility -- shutterbugs are always looking for new subjects and new challenges, and the opportunities are endless.
  • Create a series of trips to neighboring towns’ festivals and events -- try one or go on all for a discounted ticket price. Maybe throw in an exclusive guide or background session, only for your guests.
  • What about date night? Dinner and a movie in whatever nearby town has a theater. Believe it or not, New Rockford, N.D., (pop. 1,399) gets busloads of people in from all over for shows at the Historic New Rockford Theater.

If you can think of it, there’s a way to create an excursion around it: museums; walks -- think history, architecture, anything that interests people; coffee shops -- real coffee, not cafés -- or hidden gems of eateries; bicycle tours (sag wagon provided); wine tours/tastings … any activity, venue, or topic that might be of interest.

Wait! Whaaat? All of these things are already IN your town?

Then what’s stopping you? Organize an excursion -- a mini trip or stay-cation or activity -- or two to bring the good folks and their money from other towns to yours!

And don’t forget to offer them to the locals, too. I’ll bet you’ll be surprised at how many sign up.