Selling Site Substandard II

“The way you get a better world is you don’t put up with substandard anything.“ (Joe Strummer)

My last blog posting demonstrated how a seemingly enticing airboat ride in the Florida Everglades could easily be delivered to tourists from a substandard selling perspective, Thus, for this latest entry, I continue this theme below by analyzing ten (10) places we’ve visited on past road trips that similarly do not measure up to the desired tourist quality that I expected to enjoy. I then place my trust in some comparable sites below that seem to be better suited for me from a self guided travel perspective.

1. Bourbon Street, New Orleans 

I’ve learned to avoid the raucous party reputation of this thirteen block corridor when seeking lively entertainment options in New Orleans on our road trips. For does one really need to tangle with this often crowded tourist frenzy seeking  overindulgence in sinful pleasures. You might instead look elsewhere for a decent place to dine at affordable prices and perhaps a jazz performance of musical quality to follow.

Better Choice: Frenchman Street Corridor

This relatively compact entertainment district within walking distance of Bourbon Street is well known to the “locals” in New Orleans as the trendy area to go for serious listeners of live music of jazz, rock, reggae, and blues genres. On our recent visit to “The Big Easy” we’ve also found the Frenchman corridor easier to find parking, much safer to walk here and definitely more relaxing than the Bourbon street nightly chaos.

2. St. Augustine, Florida

There are some decent tourist options to visit of authentic historical attention like the Castillo De San Marcos District along the Intercoastal Waterway and the Flagler College annex west of downtown. But beyond these likely first time visit options, St. Augustine seems burdened by a “tourist trap” reputation filled with a hodgepodge of tacky souvenir shops, and uneconomical  family tourist options that tend to “stretch the truth” like Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and the Fountain of Youth Museums.

Better Choice: Charleston, South Carolina

Travel 275 miles north of St. Augustine along the Atlantic coast  to Charleston and you can obtain a more authentic sense of American history. Walk along the King Street corridor to view historic colonial structures in Old Town Charleston. Embrace Charleston’s past antebellum  legacy as you embark on an easy drive to Magnolia Plantation, shop at the Old City Market, tour the Slave Market, or relax on a scenic boat tour to Fort Sumter,

3. South Beach Strip , Florida

Many young tourists come to South Beach to experience its famous club scene offering one’s choice of all night hedonistic pleasures. But for those who venture beyond this beachfront mecca of Art Deco structural pleasure, a more unglamorous picture of Miami Beach appears. For like so many aging cities across our country , one finds a noticeably “rundown” reality there with plenty of homelessness , poverty, and street crime to concern the visiting tourist today.


Better Choice: The Florida Keys

Avoid the crowded urban chaos of the Miami Beach region by heading south as you proceed from bridge to bridge via the Overseas Highway. For this scenic ride tends to slow one’s busy mind down to appreciate life’s present moment amid such blue ocean bliss. Ask yourself during your Key West, Islamorada or Marathon visit if you really need to be constantly entertained in a big city?

4. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

The “Smokies” would be an ideal place for an exciting summer vacation with over 800 square miles of mountains, streams, and forests. Yet while Gatlinburg serves as the northern gateway to to Smoky Mountain National each year during “high season”, the town seems too small to accommodate the huge throngs of tourists who visit there each year.


Better Choice: Asheville, North Carolina

Possessing the same close proximity to Smokey Mountain National Park from the South, Asheville offers the additional advantage of more readily available lodging, dining and shopping options in a much larger city setting. It’s vibrant art scene and Biltmore Estate Tour experience also entice interest for the seasoned traveler.

5. Park City, Utah

Winter skiing can be an expensive proposition especially when it caters to the “jet set” in this“upscale” town of Park City. For the frugal traveler, you thus might face the inconvenience of staying outside of Park City and risk missing out on local ski resort fun.The state of Utah’s Mormon dominant politics might also give one second thoughts about indulging in alcohol, pornography and other so called sinful actions.

Better Choice: Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Do you want to experience the challenge of hiking, rafting, or skiing amid a beautiful mountain setting or do you want to impress your friends about your “high end” indulgences in a prestigious resort town? For you learn in unpretentious Steamboat to embrace the essence of the western frontier on your own terms as a matter of survival first and luxury last.

6. Hollywood, California.

Once considered as the tourist center for movie star glamour in the early days of motion pictures, downtown Hollywood, California offers today merely a casual glimpse of its past film glories. Yes, the Chinese Theater and Star Walk of Fame still survive but the movie stars have moved on to exclusive places of suburban privacy like Malibu Beach, Bel- Air and Laurel Canyon. Of course you will still find hordes of Hollywood curiosity seekers who seem determined to chance a rare encounter with the latest celebrity while overlooking the increasingly blighted look of this historic neighborhood.

Better Choice: Visit a Famed Movie Studio

The American Motion Picture industry in America continues to dominate today from its historic film studios in Studio Center and Burbank locations near Hollywood, California – 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros, Paramount, Columbia and Universal… While tours of these complexes can be costly, they provide a much better chance at coming in close contact with a movie star. If motion pictures or television shows are currently in production, you might even be picked as a movie star “extra” or become an audience participant for a live taping.

7. Flagstaff, Arizona

The “Mother Road” of Route 66 began in 1926 as one of the first highways to cross east – west to California. So in what locations across America can you best view historic remnants of old gas stations, motor hotels, and iconic cafes from Route 66’s iconic past? Not in Route 66 Flagstaff it seems as the road’s  spreading urban sprawl look provides merely an unglamorous weigh station for those moving on to the famed Grand Canyon to the north. You might even easily bypass Route 66 altogether if you transport your vehicle conveniently from I-17 north to I-40 west.

Better Choice: Williams, Arizona

Main Street in Williams is a National Historic District showcasing country storefronts unusual curio shops, an old-fashioned soda fountain, classic diners and some retro looking motels, that preserve the essence of the Route 66 bygone era. It’s also a little closer to the Grand Canyon than Flagstaff and forms the terminus of the famed Grand Canyon Railway.

8. Tunica, Mississippi

Tunica’s rise to resort status in the mid 1990s coincided with the popular appeal of casino gambling along the Mississippi River in a desperately poor region of “Deep South” America.  While a few of these “grand” hotels still remain to provide a comfortable weekend of gambling fun for commuters from Memphis and other nearby urban areas, there’s not much left to see of the Mississippi Blues Trail culture there. The views of America’s longest river are challenging to find at best as many of these hotels have chosen to restrict public access to Mississippi River scenic vantage points on their private lands. 

Better Choice: Vicksburg, Mississippi

Downriver a few hours from Tunica,  Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1864 experienced one of the “turning point “battles of the American Civil war. Situated along steep cliffs overlooking the great Mississippi River, much of this Old Town retains an historic southern aura of these former antebellum times. As you travel along historic Business 61, there are also plenty of turnoffs to descend down the cliffs to obtain an intimate sighting of the river. Driving a few miles east, one can also relive the human tragedy of this deciding battle at Vicksburg National Military Park.


9. Amish Country , Ohio

At this more mature time of my life, I like to reminisce about those countryside camping trips, rural farm visits, and YMCA sports outings I’d experienced as a “kid” in Midwest America. Yet it would not be wise to encroach upon the private Amish people in this region to obtain such a nostalgic dose of one’s outdoor frolicking  spirit? For I’ve learned not to infringe upon their ultra conservative ways on my previous visits to small towns like Berlin and Millersburg and would never recommend one try to mimic their horse and buggy lifestyle in their country towns to obtain some childlike fun.

Better Choice: Indiana Dunes National Park

So it seems a better choice to re capture the essence of childhood play as I once experienced in Ohio should take place in a more publicly amenable  setting. Thus I would recommend that one head west from Cleveland on I-90 along the shores of Lake Erie to Indiana Dunes National Park. Then find a a quiet spot along these magnificent dunes to play in the sand, throw seashells around, or swim in the cold lake knowing that very few people would be around to bother you.

10. Pagosa Springs, Colorado

In visiting Colorado, accessibility to the Rocky Mountains for active hiking and camping opportunities should be a major reason for an extended tourist stay.Yet Pagosa Springs as observed from a previous visit lies remotely surrounded by thick National Forest and is therefore somewhat inaccessible to the Southern Rockies region. With the landscape of Pagosa Springs being situated so remotely amid quiet suburbia, there’s not much to do from the tourist point of view.The renowned Springs Hot Springs Resort in Pagosa would no doubt provide an enticing place to relax yet it’s much too sedentary an experience for those who wish to indulge in a more active Colorado time.

Better Choice: Durango, Colorado

West of Pagosa Springs, The town of Durango provides excellent access to the southerly portion of the Rocky Mountains. In particular, it’s daily steam train service from downtown provides an unforgettable experience to the upper heights of the Rockies at Silverton. Back in downtown, walking along Main Avenue exudes a feeling of time traveling myself back the Old West of cowhands and outlaws roaming the streets. From Durango , accessible routes lead to other interesting natural landmarks like Mesa Verde National Park, Chimney Rock National Park, and popular Utah recreation areas.

9 thoughts on “Selling Site Substandard II

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  1. It sounds like you’ve provided some better alternatives to some of the touristy places in the United States. We contemplated spending some time in Gatlinburg when we were in Tennessee, but glad that we ended up skipping it.

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      1. It’s difficult to say since I haven’t revisited these places. We prefer to visit our favorite places in the mountains of North Georgia. There is a lot to enjoy and still avoid the touristy places.

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