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Advisor

Backroads vacation ideas?

In visiting my daughter in California recently, I realized it wasn't the hot springs, the Sierras and the Golden Gate Bridge I was most interested in seeing, but rather some of the features you could find more off the beaten path. 

 

Visiting a rice farm in the valley would have been cool. I saw an interesting purebred cattle ranch in the foothills, and a factory for an almond harvester. Then there were the many vineyards, of course.  

 

As an aggie, I would liked to have known about these places before travelling out that way.

 

What backroads, ag-related sites have you visited (in any state) that you would recommend other farmers visiting on a vacation? 

 

Thanks for any thoughts....

 

John

 

 

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6 Replies
Advisor

Re: Backroads vacation ideas?

John, the tourism people in NC did a nice job of this a few years back.  It's organized by geographic regions of the state: coastal, Piedmont and mountains.  I'd call ahead to make sure that a listing is current, since I do not know how well the trails are updated, but there is a good sampling  of agritourism and oher rural attractions:

http://www.homegrownhandmade.com/

This site is organized as a set of 'trails' to follow, which is kind of a cool concept.  I would think many states would have something similar, if you searched for toursim in that state....

I have also found that the electric cooperatives in both of our service areas in NC and VA do a nice job of publishing calendars of mostly rural events in the upcoming weeks, often for a 2-3 month window at a time.  These are in their membership magazines. 

There are other websites that list events, by states.  I haven't got the URL for one right handy though.  I seem to recall finding it when I was searching for dates for the Virginia Carolina Craftsmen's Classic event one spring or fall.  Google took me to an overall events publicity website.  If you are into good handiwork by real craftsmen, that is one place to start, too. 

 

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Senior Contributor

Re: Backroads vacation ideas?

John, 

 

Many years ago I bought a book form Midwest Living.  20 Great Weekend Getaways.   It is something I've dreamed about since 1994!    Maybe you should get Meridth   Corp.   to do it again with updated information. 

 

We are thinking about.   Missouri,  Kansas wheat harvest, up Nebraska,  to Mount Rushmore and then back to Illinois....   after the hogs are gone.    Will probably check out some of the suggestions in the book.   

 

Surely,  there are books like this for every area.     Plus,  I've also checked out books from the Library with  "Out of the way places in:   Illinois,  Iowa and Indiana.  

 

Otherwise,   before you leave next time,   ask for suggestions from people here online. 

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Senior Contributor

Re: Backroads vacation ideas?

If you're interested in machinery, you can check out factory tours of them. The Gunmundsen Ranch just had an open house in north central Nebraska. MARC is very interesting to animal producers in this state. Don't know when their open house is, but the internet can be a godsend for those off the beaten path sites. Check out the experiment stations in your local state for short trips.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Backroads vacation ideas?

If you are a history buff as well as interested in agricultural practices of the past, one potential trip would be to follow the Santa Fe trail from St. Louis westward through Missouri and Kansas.  There are a number of points of interest, like Council Grove, KS where the U.S. government met with the Osage Indian chiefs in 1825 and signed a treaty granting passage of white settlers through the territory,  Kit Carson, General Custer and John Fremont were some of the more notable people stopping there on their way through the territories, plus pony express stops, places where you can actually see the ruts left behind along the trail.  Seth Hays, Town founder, built a store there and sold supplies to the wagon trains passing through. 

 

The Santa Fe crosses the Chisolm (sp?) trail not far from one of my farms, and actually, two of my farms are in the path of where the Chisolm trail passes through.  Abilene, the trail's end for cattle coming from Texas back in those days are less than 40 miles away.  There is a Santa Fe Trail association that has posted signs to mark the trail and highlights important points of interest.

 

Goessel, Ks has an annual wheat threshing festival using old threshing machines, including steam engines.  Hillsboro, my hometown, has an old Russian-Mennonite styled adobe house, featuring many implements used by the Mennonite settlers that emigrated from the Ukraine.  These were the settlers (my anscestors) that brought Turkey Red wheat from the old country to the U.S.in 1872 and was instrumental in introducing a better class of hard red winter wheat to American farmers.

 

If you enjoy looking at the scenic Flint Hills of Kansas, there's a large tall-grass prairie preserve (several thousand acres) located North of Strong City on hiway 177 North, featuring a complete ranch headquarters with a very large multi-level barn built on the side of a hill, with mechanized features, all built from limestone and wood imported from elsewhere.  Some of the pens are made from limestone rock.

 

Though not ag related, but deemed an important part of the local history are the Harvey houses built along railroad rights of way, where weary travelers could stop, stay for the night or have a meal catered by "Harvey" girls.  There are several houses/hotels in the state, one is in Florence, KS.  Click on this link:  http://www.harveyhouses.net/states/kansas/kshouses.html

 

If you are looking for a current look at agriculture and unique niche industries, Kansas boasts an emerging wine industry with vintner's selections rivaling that of California and France.  An area around Hutchinson, KS has nearly ideal weather for grape growing.

 

Another place to visit might be the Stafford County Flour Mills, producer of the nationally known Hudson Cream Flour, located in Hudson, Kansas.  Begun in 1904, it is still producing flour today.  http://www.hudsoncream.com/index.taf

 

Lastly, but not least by any means, is Dodge City, an original cow town, not to mention, boot hill cemetery and the history that goes along with the American Western mystic.

 

Oh, there also in an Agriculture Hall of Fame near Bonner Springs, Ks, just off of I-70.  Click here for the info.  http://gocitykids.parentsconnect.com/attraction/agricultural-hall-of-fame-630-hall-of-fame-drive-bon...    I've been there, lots of things to see from a historical perspective.

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Senior Advisor

Re: Backroads vacation ideas?

I don't know about ag related but a few years ago I was in the Rio Grande valley and there was an advertisment about a senior trailer park in Edinburg texas that catered to nudists. Now if you can visualize a bunch of us older folks at a nudist winter park would look like, that might be worth a chuckle or two.

 

We haven't been there because my buddies and their wives were not interested in going. I don't know why. It must be because they are not free spirits like me..

 

 

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Advisor

Re: Backroads vacation ideas?

The Amish community in Holmes county Ohio.

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