Friday, June 24, 2011

Surprise road trip stops add fun to a family vacation

One of the fun things about traveling is picking up the promotional materials from various hotels, bed and breakfasts and attractions. These are a big help in getting me to decide what road trips to make and which ones to avoid.

Anyone who has ever stayed at a hotel or stopped at a welcome center knows about the racks that I'm talking about. The walls at welcome centers are lined with racks of brochures that are just waiting to be perused.

For me, travel is more than just promotional pens or custom koozies. It's about the journey. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy getting to my destination. But, a few additional stops provide the opportunity to get out of the car and explore some really neat places.

One of my recent road trips involved bringing my daughter home from college in Washington, D.C. As usual, I had stopped at the state welcome center to pick up brochures and to get some information. This is precisely how I found out about the Wilderness Road Museum.

It turns out that Wilderness Road was a main thoroughfare for traffic before and during the Civil War. It goes across several states and I've been on parts of it in Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia. I just didn't realize it's importance until stopping at the museum. It wasn't far off of the interstate and made for an interesting stop.

See Juliette, GA home of Fried Green Tomatoes movie
One of my family's favorite road trip stops was at the set of Fried Green Tomatoes. Although none of us particularly like the fried dish we did all like the movie. The flick centers around two women and the Whistle Stop Cafe.

We found it in Juliet, Georgia as we traveled from Tennessee to Florida. If it wasn't for the state welcome center we might have missed this road trip stop. It took awhile to get there but the fun of walking through the town helped make the vacation more interesting.

The next time you are on a road trip stop by the state welcome center. You might be surprised at what you find. Be prepared to see and have more fun when you are traveling on your upcoming road trip.