Growing up as a city girl, it was culture shock twenty-years ago when my family relocated to rural Ohio. I wasn’t accustomed to a grain elevator being right in the middle of Main Street or seeing tractors going down the highway on their way to harvest. Gradually over time I came to love rural Ohio, in particular my home in Clinton County. So much so that I now get to tell others why they should visit my hometown. So I asked myself, “What is so special about rural America?” What makes people want to visit a rural destination?
The large metro areas are often an attractive destination point for travelers based on their ability to offer many attractions in a concentrated geographical area. Unfortunately, what is often over looked as an alternative destination is the rural community slightly off the beaten path that has treasures of its own to offer, away from the hustle and bustle of the large city. The ambiance of rural America is not a myth, it is as real as the people who reside there, who cherish old fashioned values, who are neighborly, and who know what it is to be hospitable.
The people who travel rural America are looking for something special. They want to “experience” something; the sight of a sign advertising merchandise that is home grown and home made excites them; they know that heritage shapes a community and that if a community preserves its heritage, it has integrity; they find worth in historic relics, architecture, and art; they prefer not fighting the masses when they tour a museum, shop for antiques, or decide to end their day with a quiet dinner; they enjoy festivals, where family is still the focal point; and finally, they respect the opportunity to create their own memories.
With that being said, I truly love rural America!
Written by Debbie Stamper, Executive Director, Clinton County Convention & Visitors Bureau