Friday, August 28, 2009

Sour grapes lead to sweet ideas

I’ve got to tell you, I’ve been a little grumpy at work lately. All my grousing to anyone within earshot was beginning to sound like sour grapes.

Then it dawned on me that I was approaching my 6-month mark at work and would be able to officially take my first vacation day. Thoughts of escaping for a long weekend with my sweetie perked me up considerably.

At Charlie’s suggestion we drove to the Missouri wine country and visited the wineries in and around Hermann, Mo. One of the funny things about being in the tourism business is even when you’re on vacation, you’re gathering ideas and thinking of ways to incorporate them into your job.

Here’s a few ideas that resulted from my vacation:

· Hermann had a staffed visitors center open – on a Saturday. We could really use a visitors center and a much more visible CVB office here in McPherson.

· When we ventured into St. Charles for dinner on Saturday night we were able to go to the historic downtown area and have dinner after 9 p.m. While this was a predominantly tourist retail area, it was still bustling with activity long after the shops closed.

· On our way home, we stopped at the Bourgeois Winery near Rocheport, Mo. This little town was full of unique stores and antique shops. I’m told its recent revival is largely thanks to the Katy Trail that runs along the Missouri River. Since returning home, I spoke with a representative of the Central Kansas Conservancy that is part of the Rails to Trails movement. Some exciting developments in connecting the trail from Marion to Herington are underway. Hopefully the stretch of the trail connecting McPherson to Lindsborg will be traversable soon and can help bring more visitors to town.

· The Stone Hill Winery in Hermann hosts a grape stomp competition every year, drawing in visitors from as far away as, well, McPherson, Kan. While the McPherson Main Street, McPherson Museum and Chamber of Commerce put on many events in McPherson, and volunteers coordinate our two biggest events – All Schools Day and the Scottish Festival – maybe businesses could host their own events. How about a Krehbiel’s/Cook’s Nook grilling competition? An Orscheln’s/Tractor Supply Co./Prairieland Partners harvest festival? A Neighbors Café cinnamon roll contest?

One other epiphany I had while sitting on the deck overlooking the Missouri River, nibbling cheese and sipping wine is that Catawba grapes make the best wine, according to my palette. No sour grapes on this little trip!

Ideas don’t go far if they’re just left on paper so it’s time to get back to work for me. Become a fan of Visit McPherson on Facebook and let me know your ideas!


4 Family Reunion, 11 rooms, Best Western

10-13 Wedding, 8 rooms, Best Western

16 HydroChem, 21 rooms, Best Western

17 KS Claims Association, 39 rooms, Best Western

17 Cenex, 60 rooms, Best Western

18-19 American Legion Auxiliary, 20 rooms, Best Western

18-20 Wedding, 30 rooms, Holiday Inn Express

22-24 KS Animal Control, 19 rooms, Best Western

25-27 Scottish Festival, 19 rooms, Best Western

25-27 Turlach UR Pipe Band, 12 rooms, Holiday Inn Express

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