Susan and I are taking our first major trip within the United States: driving from Georgia to Colorado and back again. There’s a lot of distance between those two locales (we did 4174 miles) and plenty to see. We could check out the middle of the United States near Lebanon, KS. There’s always the Heavener Runestone– supposedly a viking carving dating from before 1492 (which we actually did- entirely by serendipity). But we’re not big ‘tourist’ folks in the traditional sense. We generally don’t enjoy a lot of typical tourist activities, and prefer to chart our own course. As many travellers have discovered, to get a properly good sense of a place, you need to experience its food… or drink.
From Clarksville, we look for a destination in a general westerly direction between 5 and 8 hours away. Then we go to Google maps and type in ‘brewpub’, ‘winery’, and/or ‘distillery’, depending on our mood. From there, it is simplicity itself: set course (off the Interstate) and drive!
This gives us a clear destination and an activity (beer tasting!) once we arrive. Without a goal or destination, trying to avoid touristy things can get overwhelming: how do you know what’s authentic without actually knowing locals, and without spending way too much money? Waypoints are easy- a lunch at a brewpub halfway to the next destination works perfectly. An afternoon stop at a winery breaks up the monotony of your drive.
Alcohol tourism helps to solve the problem of where to stay. Look for a place within walking distance so you don’t have to temper your alcohol consumption as you would have to if you had to drive after dinner. A destination, activities on the way, a guide for where to sleep, and a great way to get a local feel, since most brewpubs and wineries are small, locally-owned operations. Definitely our way to travel.
Time: 9:00pm, Wednesday, May 12th, 2010
Place: Springfield, MO
Dilemma: Do I want a pint of Springfield Brewing Company’s unfiltered wheat or their incredible bock?