Be A Tourist In Your Own Hometown

By: Stephanie Reynolds

“If you stay a week, you’ll see some of what you want to see

If you stay a month, you’ll see all of what you want to see

But if you live there, you never see anything at all!”

Wise words paraphrased from one of my old Trixie Belden books. And right she was. When you live somewhere, you tend to make “living” a priority — working, paying bills, buying groceries, going to church. You might intend to explore your area, maybe seen some event listed on social media and think, “We need to do that someday,” or tell your friends, “Someday let’s get together and just have a day out.” But days slip into months which turn into years. Soon those “somedays” have come and gone and you still haven’t eaten the cake, visited the park, or seen the museum.

Who here (besides me!) has ever had a slight bit of panic when you realize that guests are coming and you have no idea how to entertain them? Maybe you take a quick hop on Facebook and see if there any events. Maybe you google “Things to do in Athens” and hope there is something good. I know that I have done that and how stressful it can be. Until I have gone to a place, I feel uncomfortable recommending it, especially to visitors, and especially to my visitors.

It’s sad, really. Each human lives in such an interesting place with its own charms, yet we all, pretty much to a man, desire to GO visit instead of STAY visit. We miss what we have because we always have it. We never get around to going to this local place or that one. Familiarity doesn’t always breed contempt, but it often does breed forgetfulness or complacency.

Well, you and I are going to break out of that “so close and never been there” trap! In Celebration of National Tourism Month, we are (really, really!) EXCITED to bring you…BE A TOURIST IN YOUR OWN HOMETOWN!

This event is on the 25th of May and will start at 8:30 a.m. at the “Duck Pond” with food trucks and a vendor event. You can explore what our town has to offer. We will have ice cream, cookies, candles, and so much more!

THEN at 9 a.m., we’ll board a bus or start our walk (depending on the tour you sign up for) and visit at least FOUR museums! Each tour will have a guide to help you learn more about your town, and you can tell us your local stories too; we definitely want to hear them! If you want to sashay through Athens, I will be leading one of the Walking Tours in my antebellum dress. Feel free to dress up too, and we will be the most FABULOUS hometown tourists anyone has ever seen, darlin’!

The museums for the walking tour will be: The Delmore Brothers Museum, the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention Museum, the Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives, and the George S. Houston Memorial Library and Museum! It will be a gorgeous tour through the quaint and yet upscale streets of Athens, Alabama.

The bus tours will have those tours AND will have the Donnell House and the Trinity School!

Then after those tours, our own fabulous Blake Williams will take those interested on the Art, Alleys, and Ales Tour downtown! If you are like me and haven’t been completely around the Square, this is our chance to familiarize ourselves with the amazing work that the Athens Main Street has been doing to revitalize our Square. I can’t wait!

The tours will be FREE, but we will have a registration due to limited room on the buses and the walking tour. You can go to Eventbrite and look up “Be A Tourist In Your Own Hometown” to sign up for tickets. If you have trouble, feel free to contact me, Stephanie, at our office at 256-232-5411.

So let’s go, y’all! “Someday” just became May 25! I can’t wait to see you!

By: Stephanie Reynolds, Athens-Limestone Tourism Association