An educated tourist

Published 7:00 am Thursday, May 5, 2016

During my youth, my parents took my sister and I on many family vacations during the summer.
We visited my grandparents in Kentucky, climbed Stone Mountain in Atlanta, Georgia and met our favorite characters in Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
During our trip to our destinations, we passed through different states.
As soon as we entered, we stopped at the state’s welcome center.
At some of the centers we visited, the employees would offer us a beverage while my parents searched for travel brochures.
We always left with a handful or a bag full of information about that particular state’s landmarks and attractions. They were very useful.
Without them, I might not have gotten to pan for gold or visit the Babyland General Hospital, where the Cabbage Patch dolls are “born”, in Georgia.
The last time I traveled to Florida, I noticed many of their welcome centers are equipped with fast food restaurants and gifts shops. There was a welcome center near Albany, New York that featured my favorite coffee shop chain.
Here in Pearl River County, we have a team of dedicated staff at the Mississippi Welcome Center. Not only do they promote our county, but the entire state.
There are many historical and fascinating places to visit in Mississippi, but without the help of these travel advisors, many would not know about them. Welcome centers are a great asset for any community and state. Weary travelers can take a break from a long journey, utilize the restroom facilities and chat with a trained tourism advisor.
Yes, we now live in a world where technology rules and many of our questions can be answered by pressing a few buttons on our cellphones.
But we still take family vacations and I don’t believe search engines are all knowing.
I miss the summer days spent traveling with my family and exploring new places. When planning your next trip don’t forget to schedule time to visit the welcome centers along the way.

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