Road Trip Guide - Page 7 - Tap into a tourist trail

Road Trip Guide
- Page 7
Tap into a tourist trail
Road trips with a theme can take you to new places

By Jill Schensul

The Record (Hackensack, N.J.)

You’ve been there, done that?

For the bored and the obsessed, the tourist trail was made for you.

Tourist trails are routes that link destinations, sights or attractions that share a common theme. If you are a traveler with an interest in that theme — or have gone to a place that happens to be included in the trail, and you liked it — chances are you’ll like other places along the trail, too.

If you’ve come to Virginia to shop for handmade crafts, for instance, local tourism officials and craft organizations have already done most of the legwork for you with their Virginia Artisans Trail Network (artisanscenterofvirginia.org). They have put together 13 trails throughout the state, so you can undoubtedly find a trail no matter what area you’re visiting. Pick up a map at one of the participating sites or visitor centers (or online), and it will highlight the artisan-related places of interest.

The Eastern Shore Artisan Trail, for instance, covers 70 miles along the Atlantic coast and includes artists’ studios and craft centers along with small farms, restaurants and other points of interest, some which you probably never knew existed, and make the best use of your limited vacation time. For extra encouragement, some trails include “passports” or other checklists that you can turn in for a prize or certificate once you’ve hit every site; a completed Kentucky Bourbon Trail Passport, with stamps from all eight distilleries on the route, will earn the bearer a free T-shirt.

Today the trails have become ways to explore new parts of a world we may have