How to turn a Quilt Show visit into a Grand Adventure
Have you ever wondered how I find those cool ‘off the beaten path’ places? Places like the Alabama Hills in California, or the Goldwell Outdoor Museum. With a little research and key websites, you too can turn a random Shop Hop or Quilt Show road trip into a grand adventure!
Not too many years ago, packing the entire family into the back of a station wagon and hitting the open road to see the ‘world’s biggest ball of string’ or the ‘biggest frying pan’ was actually the norm. The classic National Lampoon’s Vacation movie comes to mind. Somehow, those long road trips became a thing of the past.
Well, I want to bring them back!
One of my favorite things about taking road trips is getting to see all of the amazing little treasures the United States has to offer. Did you know here in North Carolina we have the biggest dresser? Seriously! There’s even a giant sock hanging out of one of the drawers. It drives the OCD in me crazy.
But, how do you go about finding all these great places to visit?
Ask Uncle Google
The first thing I do when researching a planned road trip is to do an online search. I go to Google.com and type in “things to do in Nevada” (or wherever your destination may be). Google will give you a list of grouping websites. For instance, “Top 15 Must See Places in Nevada”. I do a quick scan and click on a couple of the links that sound interesting. From there it’s just a matter of scrolling through the lists and picking a few that sound like fun.
Of course, if you’re looking for the truly unique, out of the way, little known gems, there are a couple websites I like to frequent.
My #1 site is Atlas Obscura. This site is packed with amazing (and sometimes a little frightening) off the wall places that you would never find anywhere else. For instance, I found this amazing granite stature garden (Victor’s Way) in County Wicklow, Ireland and the Museum of Death in New Orleans! What can I say? I like weird.
Another fun site is Culture Trip. This one is a great mix of little known and better-known attractions around the globe. After living in Nevada for 10 years I thought I was pretty familiar with its hidden treasures. However, Culture Trip showed me a place called Valley of Fire state park that I now MUST visit. Red sandstone formed in the time of the dinosaurs! How cool is that? Just this picture alone conjures up some serious quilting inspiration!
Another great source to look for fun sight-seeing adventure is the state’s own website. For example, our own North Carolina site has LOADS of great attractions listed. Everything from outdoor adventures to museums. Even some of our Quilt shops were listed!
Number One tip
Finally, one of the best tips for finding the best things to see and do when out on the road is to ask the locals. Seriously! Every quilt shop I visit, every museum I check out, I always make a point to ask the employees where they suggest I see. In fact, I’ve discovered some of my most favorite hidden gems simply from word of mouth.
On my last visit to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival near Virginia Beach, VA, I happened to ask one of the locals where would be a fun ‘artsy type’ museum to visit. Their answer? The Hermitage Museum.
This house was spectacular! Purchased in 1908 by William and Florence Sloane, the house started out as a modest 5 room summer cottage and quickly grew to a 42-room mansion and Arts & Crafts museum.
Filled with Mrs. Sloane’s art and craft collection, stunning architecture and even a pipe organ, this house was a true gem! Even the lady at the front door helped me choose my next museum stop. The locals know.
Whether you’re staying in one city for a Quilt Show, or Shop hopping from town to town, there’s always an adventure nearby, if you know where to look.
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