Why the bleep would I want to go there?
These are destinations that (at least initially) evoke no sense of excitement or anticipation in your family. When you tell friends your travel plans to Boring Town, they say, “Uhh, hmmm, that’s….interesting.”
Let’s take Lubbock, Texas, for example. The city that Buddy Holly and Waylon Jennings got the heck out of. Sights include, hmmm, the National Ranching Heritage Center (exhibits of spurs and bits!) and ummm, the American Wind Power Center (windmills!)
“Lubbock or Leave It,” sing the Dixie Chicks.
The legendary folk/country Texas vocal group the Flatlanders (Butch Hancock, Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore) didn’t name their group “Guys from a Nifty Place,” they named it “Flatlanders.” ‘Nuff said.
OK, so why am I whipping up on poor Lubbock? Because I just don’t think you can designate a place Yuckyville until you have physically been there to investigate.
Ergo, I need to travel to Lubbock before I can pop off about it.
Good thing there’s a visiting RMS Titanic exhibit enticing me to go up there. My daughter and I like the movie about the doomed passenger ship, and I’ve long been interested in its artifacts, so here’s my chance to see something I’m interested in plus check either the Lubbock or the Leave It box.
The exhibit only runs until January 1st, 2007, so I’d better get the family loaded into the minivan and make tracks to northwest Texas.
You never know when a lowly burg holds hidden delights.
One of our best trips while living in the Netherlands was to the industrial seaport of Rotterdam. Awesome place with unbelievable architecture and a fun September Harbor Festival that my kids loved. Believe it.
And you know what else is around Lubbock? The acclaimed Llano Estacado Winery. If the town is that bad, I will at least be able to drown my sorrows in a classy joint.
So try not to ever completely write off a destination. Put it in the hopper and look for an excuse to go sometime. Because you never know how a place might turn out.
Update later on 20 November 2006: Here’s a Frommer’s article on “Favorite Underrated Cities,” including Cleveland, Ottawa, Bratislava, St. Louis and some other surprises.