Tourist trap. What comes to mind? Garish, tacky, and generally unappealing. Yet in the effort to see from ‘the eyes of a child’, a tourist trap could offer a rich and surprising diversion while road tripping.
Childhood Road Trips
Recalling road trips as a child, I held little sway over my parents. “We don’t have time” or “it’s too expensive” or “it’s just a tourist trap” were typical responses as we wound along narrow highways. But I just knew that “The Enchanted Forest”, (which still exists, by the way), would be a wondrous and delightful experience and fun for the whole family!
But we never stopped, and to this day I harbour a sense of deep curiosity and a longing to experience this wayside venue.
Time marched on. Summer road trips with our young children in tow was a budget friendly means to visit family on the other side of the country. Hubby learned that stretching cramped legs, using the restroom and eating were necessities for a wife and small children. Stopping to gawk at roadside diversions held no interest for him, as they blocked his goal of reaching a particular destination by a reasonable time. However, we learned that scenic rest spots, historic sites or even tourist traps bolstered our flagging interest along the miles of highway looming before us.
A Classic Tourist Trap
Sometimes a tourist trap stop isn’t planned. While driving by “The Log Barn” near Armstrong, B.C. a few weeks ago I realized that here was a particularly fine example of a tourist trap. I gave Hubby fair warning. (I’ve learned that springing surprise stops isn’t his favourite thing). I suggested that we stop there on the way home. And he agreed.
Tidy farms and softly rolling hills exude a serene pastoral setting. Yet signs along the highway clamour for attention: The Log Barn is ahead! One’s interest is piqued. Approaching the attraction, the traveller’s eyes light upon an astonishing sight. Colourful and enormous dinosaurs along with all manner of beasts rest about the grounds. Perched high above the entrance, goats clamber along wooden platforms, loftily eyeing the folks wandering down below.
Sufficiently quirky and garish: this is the classic tourist trap.
After investigating the curiosities and perhaps feeding or petting the goats, visitors are naturally drawn inside the big barn. All manner of meats and cheeses, pies and tarts, jams and honeys, gifts and trinkets are available for purchase.
On this particular sweltering afternoon, we opted for a smooth and creamy gelato. A convenient patio, sheltered by shade trees, gave us respite from the heat.
Quelling the inclination to purchase tasty delicacies or gaudy bric-a-brac, we hit the road once more. The only mementoes I wanted consisted of a few photos. My curiosity sated, my tummy content with gelato, this tourist trap was particularly outlandish, yet appealing for that very reason.
Do you have a favourite tourist trap or do you avoid them?