Be A Tourist In Your Own Home

15 Jul


So last week was vacation week for me (whee!)

I asked the whole week off work and tooled around a large section of the central U.S. before heading back home a little earlier than expected.

Only, I was still in “Vacation, woo!” mode. Too jacked up on Monster energy drinks and Not Having To Go To Work, I decided not to cut my vacation short just because I’d finished traveling.


My home town has a zoo, an arboretum, a “famous” street, a university, several orbiting towns with cute little town squares, an impressive number of state parks, and a lot of other tourist attractions … most of which, I’d never seen.

I was busy, and had to work, and then I just wanted to relax when I got home, and as a result, I’ve lived here for almost six years and never actually DONE anything that someone eager to visit my city might do.

Kinda sad, really.

So I packed up a cooler full of food, smeared sunblock on all available body parts, picked up my camera, and pretended I’d come to Madison as a tourist.

So. Much. Fun.

We finally hit State Street, and I picked up a new tarot deck from a store I didn’t even know existed. We found an amazing coffee shop in Baraboo with $3 red eye coffees. Circus World Museum. Devil’s Lake State Park. The awesome lady who was running an interior re-design shop squished between a kitchen gadget store and an organic grocer. Antique stores galore.

We’d already done House on the Rock (the one time we had a visitor who wanted to be a tourist), but otherwise that would have been on the must-see list as well.

What’s more, we did it during a weekend – time we normally have available to us even when we’re working, but we typically spend at home, being semi-professional hermits.


How many of you have never actually seen the tourist attractions in your home city? Am I the only one, or are there others? Anyone else taken the time out to “vacation” in your home town? What did you see or do?

(Also, one of these days I may actually post something under a category that ISN’T “Miscellanea”, but I’m not holding my breath.)


4 Responses to “Be A Tourist In Your Own Home”

  1. Bika July 16, 2011 at 4:42 am #

    I was just thinking about this a month or so ago when my parents came to visit. They wanted to see what it was like downtown, so we went and saw the riverwalk and the statue of James Brown on Broad Street, that kinda thing. I’d never really looked around there even though I’ve lived here 12 years now, even used to volunteer at the Red Cross chapter right smack dab in the middle of the historical district. It was kinda shocking. Seemed like every other building was boarded up or falling to rot. The ones left standing looked a little out of place, but stately… like some of the folks who live there.

    So I identify with the hermit mentality, yeah. Never got out to see much of Monterey when I lived there, either. I think out of all the places I’ve been, Atlanta was the one I spent the most time in, wandering around just for the hell of it. Savannah was the most gorgeous. Only a couple hours’ drive from here and I wanted to get off the trolley at every single park, they were so pretty.

    As interesting as Georgia has been, though, I’m really looking forward to moving back to Oregon. There’s a lot out there I want to see and rediscover.

    (PS. if writing miscellanea is wrong, I don’t want to be right!)

    • Tami July 17, 2011 at 7:58 am #

      Oregon is somewhere I want to visit. I’ve heard it’s just gorgeous!

      What’s your favorite “vacation” spot in your hometown?

      • Bika July 17, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

        Well, to be honest the nicest place I know of in the immediate area is the woods around my parents’ house (also, mom’s kitchen). Aside from that, one of the things I’m definitely going to do that I’ve never tried before is walk down the Linear Trail. It’s a 21-mile uninterrupted trail that runs from Banks to Vernonia, and it’s a really beautiful part of the state so I want to see for myself how nice a trail it is.

        Then I’d drive out west on highway 6 and have lunch at Coleman’s 9N Restaurant (they have a great vegetarian menu in addition to the excellent diner fare, and I ❤ them). Take a day trip to the beach, it's an hour and a half drive to Hug Point, a nice public beach. Bring a jacket, Oregon beaches are usually a little chilly even in summer.

        Or you could drive east instead and hike out to Multnomah Falls, then tool around in Portland with dinner at Old Town Pizza or the Deschutes Brewery in the Pearl district. (Try Black Butte Porter or the Obsidian Stout, they rock.)

        I guess there are also museums and more urban sightseeing things to do, but I can't say I've done any of that since my grade school field-trippin' days. Still, there's lots to do in the Portland metro area! And if you're ever out that way once I move, we're always good for a bonfire and beer out in the woods.

      • Tami July 18, 2011 at 7:39 am #

        Oooh, those all sound lovely, Bika!

        I need to visit a museum again, as an adult. I haven’t been since dinosaur skulls were the coolest thing I could think of, and maybe I’d be more interested in the learny bits of the experience now.

        No guarantees, though. Nothing will ever be as cool as a dinosaur is to a gradeschooler.

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