I have a sort of different perspective on vacations. While other people are getting ready to go on them, packing the kids and dog in the SUV and heading off to Lake Whatchamacalit, my town is getting ready to make them welcome or get out of their way, depending on the people involved. I’ve now lived in two major tourist destinations—San Antonio, TX, and the Denver suburbs—and the way they view summer vacationers is basically the same. We love them and loathe them, sort of simultaneously.
The biggest problem with living in a tourist destination is trying to work around the tourists. For example, most Coloradans avoid Estes Park at this time of year—it’s the closest town to Rocky Mountain National Park and it’s guaranteed to be a zoo until Labor Day. Some restaurants in Denver (chiefly those around Larimer Square) will be hell to get into until September. Driving up I-70 toward the mountains during the summer is also hell because of all the RV’s and trailers being laboriously pulled over those passes. And some people I know brace themselves every year for the influx of friends and relatives who have suddenly decided to visit good old Cousin Ralph and have him chauffeur them to Trail Ridge Road.
And yet, and yet… Most of us love living in Colorado for exactly the same reasons people want to visit here. It’s gorgeous. It provides all kinds of opportunities for outdoor activities. We can’t really fault other people for coming here too, and we’re also sort of proud that they want to. If you come to visit my state, you validate my choice in living here in the first place. Yes, it’s lovely, and have you visited the art museum yet? Let me tell you where the best pizza is.
So y’all come. Really. We’ll be friendly and as helpful as we can be. We’ll suggest things you might want to see and we’ll help you work your way around the construction (summer is the only time to repair the highways). If you go to Red Rocks for a concert, we’ll answer your questions and tell you how to get back to your hotel. And we’ll wait until the sun goes down and then be delighted when you gasp at the view.
People in San Antonio were always anxious to make tourists feel at home. When they wrote to the local paper to say how friendly everyone was, we all felt relieved. It’s pretty much the same thing here in Denver. While we may grind our teeth at the traffic getting downtown, we make sure to smile at everyone at the restaurant when we get there. After all, they’re building memories, and we hope we can help.
And when you tell us how lucky we are to live here, we’ll agree with you. Because it really is a great place to visit—but it’s an even greater place to live.
About the Author:Be My Baby, won a 2011 EPIC Award for Contemporary Romance. Book #4, Long Time Gone, received the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Indie Press Romance. Book #5, Brand New Me, won the Holt Medallion from Virginia Romance Writers and was nominated for Book Of the Year at Long and Short Reviews. Don’t Forget Me, Book #6, is available now and the latest book in the series, Fearless Love, will be released on October 9. Meg lives in Colorado with her DH and two rather large Maine coon kitties (well, partly Maine Coon anyway). Her Web site is http://www.MegBenjamin.com and her blog is http://megbenj1.wordpress.com/. You can follow her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/meg.benjamin1), Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/megbenjamin/)and Twitter (http://twitter.com/megbenj1). Meg loves to hear from readers—contact her at meg at megbenjamin dot com.